Proso Millet

Botanical Information

Botanical Name: Panicum miliaceum

Family: Poaceae (Grass family)

Genus: Panicum

Species: miliaceum

Common Names: Proso millet, broomcorn millet, common millet, hog millet, panic millet

Proso millet is an annual grass crop that belongs to the Poaceae family. It has a slender, erect stem that can reach 2 to 4 feet (60 to 120 cm). The leaves are long, and narrow, and have prominent veins. The inflorescence is a panicle with numerous small spikelets containing the millet grains.

Nutritional Information

Proso millet is a highly nutritious grain and has several health benefits. Here is the nutritional composition per 100 grams of raw, uncooked proso millet:

Energy: 378 calories

Carbohydrates: 72.9 grams

Protein: 11 grams

Fat: 4 grams

Dietary Fiber: 2.7 grams

Sugars: 0.6 grams


Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 0.42 milligrams

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.17 milligrams

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 1.6 milligrams

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): 0.68 milligrams

Vitamin B6: 0.27 milligrams

Folate: 34 micrograms


Calcium: 8 milligrams

Iron: 3.9 milligrams

Magnesium: 114 milligrams

Phosphorus: 285 milligrams

Potassium: 195 milligrams

Zinc: 1.9 milligrams

Copper: 0.3 milligrams

Manganese: 1.6 milligrams

Selenium: 15.5 micrograms


The term “proso millet” originates from the plant’s botanical name, Panicum miliaceum. The word “proso” is derived from the Russian word “proso” (просо), which means “millet.” This name was adopted into English to refer specifically to Panicum miliaceum.

The word “millet” has its roots in Old French, where it was called “milet.” It can be traced back to the Latin word “milium,” which means “millet” or “grain.” The Latin term, in turn, is believed to have been borrowed from an earlier language, possibly Etruscan or a Celtic language.

So, the etymology of “proso millet” is a combination of the Russian word “proso” and the Old French word “millet,” ultimately derived from the Latin word “milium.”

The origin and history of proso millet (Panicum miliaceum) can be traced back several millennia. Here is an overview of its origin and historical significance:Origin The wild ancestor of proso millet has not been definitively identified. Weedy forms of proso millet are found in central Asia, particularly in semi-arid regions extending from the Caspian Sea eastward to Xinjiang and Mongolia. These areas may harbor genuinely wild forms of Panicum miliaceum. Historical Significance

Neolithic Sites: Proso millet has been discovered in Neolithic sites, providing evidence of its cultivation dating back to the fifth and fourth millennia BC. Excavations in Georgia have yielded remains of proso millet, indicating its cultivation in that region during ancient times.

Yangshao Culture: Proso millet has also been found in farming villages associated with the Yangshao culture in eastern China. This culture existed from around 5000 to 3000 BC, and the presence of proso millet indicates its significance as a staple crop during that period.

Spread to Europe: Proso millet spread to Europe relatively early in its cultivation history. It first appeared in eastern and central Europe, and over time, it gradually expanded to other regions of Europe, including Italy and Greece. The cultivation of proso millet in Europe occurred several thousand years ago.

Near East: Although proso millet is not considered a part of the Neolithic Near East crop assemblage, it arrived in Europe around the same time as the introduction of grain crops from the Near East. This suggests that proso millet had an independent domestication that could predate the arrival of the Near East grain crops. The earliest evidence of proso millet cultivation in the Near East comes from the ruins of Nimrud in Iraq, dating to approximately 700 BC.

Throughout its history, proso millet has served as a staple food crop in various regions, especially in areas with arid or semi-arid climates. Its adaptability to different growing conditions and nutritional value have contributed to its cultivation and utilization by diverse cultures throughout the centuries.

  • Rich in Nutrients: Proso millet is a good source of essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It provides energy, supports overall bodily functions, and contributes to a well-balanced diet.
  • Gluten-Free Grain: Proso millet is naturally gluten-free, making it a suitable grain option for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. It can be used as an alternative to gluten-containing grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye.
  • Promotes Digestive Health: The dietary fiber content in proso millet aids in promoting healthy digestion. It adds bulk to the stool, supports regular bowel movements, and may help prevent constipation.
  • Supports Weight Management: Proso millet is relatively low in calories and contains dietary fiber, which can help promote feelings of fullness and satiety. Including proso millet in your meals may assist in weight management by reducing overall calorie intake.
  • Blood Sugar Regulation: Proso millet has a low glycemic index, which means it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slower rate. This property can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent sudden spikes and crashes, making it beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to manage blood sugar levels.
  • Heart Health: Proso millet contains various nutrients, including dietary fiber, magnesium, and potassium, which are beneficial for heart health. These nutrients contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and promoting overall cardiovascular well-being.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Proso millet contains antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds and flavonoids, which help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and inflammation-related conditions.
  • Quality: Choose proso millet that is clean, dry, and free from any signs of moisture or insect damage.
  • Color: Look for millet grains that have a uniform color, typically pale yellow or white. Avoid grains that appear discolored or have dark spots.
  • Packaging: Check the packaging for any signs of damage or tampering. Ensure that it is properly sealed to maintain freshness.
  • Dry Environment: Store proso millet in a cool, dry place away from moisture, as exposure to humidity, can cause spoilage.
  • Airtight Container: Transfer proso millet to an airtight container or resealable bag to protect it from air and moisture. This helps maintain its quality and prolongs its shelf life.
  • Shelf Life: Proso millet, when stored properly, can typically be kept for up to one year. However, for optimal freshness, it is recommended to consume it within six months.
  • Pest Prevention: To prevent infestation by pantry pests, such as insects or weevils, consider storing proso millet with a bay leaf or a small sachet of dried neem leaves, which act as natural deterrents.
  • Check for Rancidity: Occasionally inspect the stored proso millet for any signs of rancidity, such as an off odor or a bitter taste. If you detect any unpleasant changes, it is advisable to discard the millet.

Proso Millet Recipes


1 cup proso millet

2 tablespoons oil or ghee

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 green chili, finely chopped

1/2 inch ginger, grated

Curry leaves

Assorted vegetables (carrots, peas, bell peppers, etc.), chopped

Salt to taste


Lemon juice (optional)

Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


  • Rinse the proso millet thoroughly and soak it in water for about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat oil or ghee in a pan and add mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter, then add cumin seeds, chopped onion, green chili, ginger, and curry leaves. Sauté until the onion turns translucent.
  • Add the chopped vegetables and cook for a few minutes until they are slightly tender.
  • Add the soaked and drained proso millet to the pan. Stir well to combine with the vegetables.
  • Pour water in a 1:2 ratio of millet to water. For 1 cup of millet, add 2 cups of water. Season with salt and mix well.
  • Cover the pan and cook on medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the millet is cooked and water is absorbed. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Once cooked, remove it from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  • Squeeze some lemon juice (optional) and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot as a healthy and flavorful breakfast or a light meal.


1 cup proso millet

2 tablespoons oil or ghee

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-inch piece of ginger, grated

1 green chili, slit

Assorted vegetables (carrots, peas, beans, cauliflower, etc.), chopped

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

Salt to taste


Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


  • Rinse the proso millet thoroughly and soak it in water for about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat oil or ghee in a pressure cooker or a deep pan. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, grated ginger, and green chili. Sauté until the onions turn golden brown.
  • Add the chopped vegetables and sauté for a few minutes until they are slightly cooked.
  • Add the soaked and drained proso millet to the pan. Stir well to combine with the vegetables.
  • Sprinkle turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Mix everything together.
  • Pour water in a 1:2 ratio of millet to water. For 1 cup of millet, add 2 cups of water. Stir well.
  • If using a pressure cooker, close the lid and cook for 2 whistles. If using a pan, cover and cook on low heat until the millet is cooked and water is absorbed.
  • Once cooked, let it rest for a few minutes. Fluff the millet with a fork.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  • Serve the flavorful proso millet pulao hot with raita or yogurt for a wholesome meal.

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