Ragi – The Finger Millet is a variety of millet
Introduction to Millets : Idlis and dosas for breakfast. Rice for lunch. Chappatis for dinner In spite of there being hundreds of different edible grains in India, we mostly eat just a few varieties of white rice and wheat and rarely eat grains like ragi or other millets used in health mixes.
We Futuro Organic are exploring ways of including a whole range of forgotten grains like millets in our diets.
Millets are a group of small-seeded species of grains, also referred to as coarse grains. They are called as such because thousands of grains can be harvested from each grain sown. They grow fast, with little rains and in poor soil conditions. Yes, just the way our farmers love Millets used to be grown extensively all over the country, especially in the dryland / low-rainfall areas until about a few decades ago. Some of the popular traditional millet foods are bajra rot, ragi koozh (porridge), kambu koozh, etc.,
MILLET GRAINS Ragi / Kelvaragu / Finger Millet is the most popular millet in India and ranges from orange to dark brown in colour. It is called finger millet since its earheads are made of a whorl of finger-like spikes. Karnataka accounts for 40% of the total area under ragi in India, and 50% of the country’s production. This millet is very rich in calcium, and has traditionally been used as weaning food in South India. Ragi can be stored for many years without any damage from pests, and is hence an excellent organic food.
To use, wash the ragi, sun-dry it for a few hours until dry, then powder. An alternative is to soak it in water. Once it sprouts, sun-dry and powder it. Germination increases the amount of protein,
HEALTH BENEFITS OF RAGI - THE FINGER MILLET
Helps in Weight Loss : Ragi benefits weight loss in a unique way and holds a significant place in diet programs for weight loss. It has a higher rate of fiber compared to any other grain or rice. The high amount of dietary fiber combines with water and keeps the stomach fuller for a longer period of time. It is low in unsaturated fats that make it the ideal cereal for those looking to lose weight.
Aids Relaxation: The abundance of antioxidants, mainly Tryptophan and amino acids in Ragi help in fighting damage causing free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. It works as a natural relaxant and helps in relieving stress related ailments like anxiety, hypertension, depression and headaches. It also helps in relieving sleep disorders like Insomnia along with cerebral pains and Migraine.
Good for lactating mothers: Breastfeeding mothers, who consume ragi as a part of their daily diet, will have increased production of breast milk. It enhances the milk production due to the presence of amino acid, calcium and iron which are also beneficial for the child.
Boosts heart health: Ragi flour contains a good amount of magnesium and potassium. Magnesium helps to maintain a normal heartbeat and nerve function whereas, potassium aids in the proper functioning of the heart muscles and lowers the risk of heart diseases . On the other hand, the fibre content and the amino acid threonine prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver and lower the overall cholesterol in the body.
Controls Diabetes :Regular consumption of Ragi has been found to reduce the risk of Diabetes because of its high content of dietary fibers and polyphenols. It has a higher amount of fiber compared to rice, wheat or any other grains. The high level of fibers in Ragi slows down the pace of digestion thereby helping in lowering blood sugar levels. It also has a low glycemic index that makes it an ideal snack to prevent late night food cravings and help to maintain blood sugar within safe range.
Good for Toddlers : Jowar, Ragi and date porridge is a wholesome food that will keep your baby and toodler active for atleast a couple of hours. The high calcium and iron content is useful for the bone growth and overall development of the infant.
Delays ageing: The millet ragi work wonders for the skin by helping you maintain youthful skin, thanks to the amino acids like methionine and lysine which make the skin tissues less vulnerable to wrinkles and prevent sagging of the skin. Eating ragi every day will keep premature ageing at bay.
Improves digestion: The dietary fibre content in ragi helps in proper digestion of food. It aids in the passing of the food easily through the intestine, making it easier for the food to digest. Fibre also aids in smooth bowel movement and prevents constipation or irregular stools
TRADITIONAL HEALTHY RECEIPES USING RAGI
RAGI KOOZH / PORRIDGE
1. Ragi Flour – 1 Cup
2. Boiled Rice – 2tbsp
3. Buttermilk – 1/2 cup
4. Salt to taste
5. Raw chopped onion and sun dried roasted chilly (moor moilagai)
Mix ragi flour with water (1:2) and leave it overnight to let it ferment. Cook the ragi on medium- low heat, continuously stirring to avoid lumps. To confirm that it is cooked, wet your hands and slightly, dip your finger in the boiling solution. If the ragi + rice sticks to your finger it is not yet cooked. Continue to cook a while longer. When the mixture doesn’t stick, this indicates that it is cooked. Now, add a tablespoon of cooked rice and switch off. When it cools, mix well with the buttermilk and salt. Traditionally, this drink is had with raw chopped onions and sun dried and roasted chilli.
Koozhu is very cooling for the body and is apt for the hot summer. It’s filling and healthful too!
1. Ragi – 2 cups
2. Grated coconut – 1 cup
4. Jaggery Powder
Soak cleaned ragi for an hour. Grind the ragi along with grated coconut. Pass through a fine sieve or muslin cloth to separate the milk Add more water, grind and repeat the process until you have extracted all the milk. Add jaggery and cardamom to taste.
If you keep stirring this on the stove, it will be fully cooked. Now, pour the thick liquid into a shallow plate and let it cool. This forms a thick jelly-like pudding called manne. This is cut into cakes and eaten as a dessert.
1. 50gms ragi flour
2. 50gms whole wheat flour
3. 20gm oats
4. 60gms jaggery powder
5. 80gms unsalted butter
6. 1/2 tbsp backing powder
7. 2tbs milk
1. In a non-stick pan, dry roast the finger millet flour (ragi flour) on low flame for about 10 minutes This will help to remove the raw smell or taste of the flour. Transfer it into a bowl and let it cool.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients by adding butter into it.
3. Add 1 tbs milk at a time and start binding the dough.
4. Cover the dough with a cling wrap and let it rest in refrigerator for 30 min.
5. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 160 °C .
6. Shape the refrigerated dough into small balls. Flatten each dough ball between the palms and place on a baking tray by leaving so space in between.
7. Bake the cookies in a preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes.
8. After baking, let the cookies cool down completely on a wired rack.
9. Ragi cookies with Jaggery are ready to be served.