Finger Millet, more commonly known as Ragi is a popular cooling cereal that the people of South India and many African countries eat. Till 1950, whole grains such as ragi, brown rice and barley were staples in India and were organically grown. With the focus on health foods, ragi has once again gained popularity as a “wonder grain” for weight loss especially for diabetics. Public health nutritionist, educator and yoga teacher, DEEPTI ANIL outlines its properties so that you include it in your regular diet
Karnataka is India’s highest producer of the ragi grain in India, and here, it is often consumed in the form of ragi mudde or balls. Mudde is prepared by cooking ragi flour with water to achieve a dough-like consistency. This is then rolled into ‘balls’ of the desired size and consumed with sambar or curries. Mudde is cut into bite-sized pieces using the fingers, dipped into the curry preparation and swallowed whole. Or it is used to make roti, idli, dosa and conjee. In the Malnad region of Karnataka, the whole ragi grain is soaked and the milk is extracted to make a dessert known as keelsa. A type of flat bread is often prepared using ragi flour, and this is called ragi roti in northern Kannada.
Ragi, a wholesome cereal is a very good source of energy giving carbohydrates and calcium which helps in maintaining the health of our bones. Both these nutrients are very important for growing children. Infants as young as a few weeks old are often fed a form of ragi porridge so that they grow up with strong and healthy bones. In addition to these, ragi also contains a fair amount of protein and essential minerals.
Here is an easy-to-prepare recipe of Ragi Ladoos which are tasty to eat as well as very nutritious too! For this you will need the following ingredients:
• 1 cup roasted millet flour or ragi
• 1/4 cup powdered jaggery
• 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
• 1/4 cup grated coconut
• A pinch of salt
• Ghee or oil for shaping the ladoos
Take the flour and salt in a bowl and sprinkle water little by little whilst mixing it but breaking them into crumbs as you keep mixing. Mix in the coconut and then steam this ragi-coconut mixture for 10-15 minutes. Lay the mixture onto a tray and let it cool.
Blend the jaggery with the flour mixture and peanuts. Roll them into lemon-sized balls with the ghee or oil and devour!
Deepti Anil is a public health nutritionist and educator at a leading college in Mumbai for the last 22 years. She is also a qualified yoga teacher and therapist.
Courtesy: Parijna Patrika