The new age generation of India has become quite aware and conscious of their diet. With increasing knowledge in fitness and nutrition, many cereals which had been forgotten in the past generation have now come into light. One such super grain is “Ragi” or kezvaragu or “nachini”or finger millet which has made a glorious come back in the food culture. Ragi flour is prepared by grinding the grains or grinding after the grains are sprouted and dried. Ragi grains are too small to be processed and polished and hence ragi is mostly consumed in its purest form.
The nutrition benefits are many. Ragi is a cereal that is gluten free and is best suited for people who are gluten and lactose intolerant. Ragi is also calcium rich, which is important for healthy bones and teeth and prevents osteoporosis. Ragi also has low Glycemic index (GI) in comparison to the other cereals that helps in keeping the blood sugar within a safe range. It is best to add ragi to our breakfast or lunch for a healthy day. Sprouted Ragi is also rich in iron and Vitamin C. The vitamin C present in sprouted ragi makes the iron present in it easily absorbable. Hence, ragi is also best suited for anemic patients. Ragi is also one of the best natural protein sources containing amino acids that help in maintaining metabolism, blood formation, fighting anxiety and depression. Ragi is also fiber rich which aids in proper digestion and normal bowel movement. Ragi is also a great boon for lactating mothers as it aids in increasing the milk supply besides improving the hemoglobin levels. It also enriches the milk with all the essential minerals which are important for both, the mother and child.
Ragi is a cereal that is more popular in South India, especially Karnataka. A very popular dish amongst the people of Karnataka is the Ragi mudde (Ragi balls) which is their staple meal for dinner. Ragi is also made as porridge (Ragi kanji) and is given as a weaning food for babies. This porridge is commonly found as healthy drink in Tamilnadu.
Any healthy food item can be a permanent part of our diet only when there is a twist of taste in it. One of such attempts is using ragi in making what we like the best, the dosa and the idly. Though, many recipes can be made with ragi, my favorite is the ragi idly or ragi dosa. It is easy to make and tastes heavenly when eaten with Kaara chutney.
Recipe for Ragi Idli / Dosai
Preparation time: 12 hours (including soaking and fermentation)
Cooking time: 10 minutes
* Ragi grains - 2 cup (You can also use 1.5 cups of Ragi Flour or Raikon instead)
* Urad dal - 1/2 cup
* salt - 1 tsp
For making Dosa & Idli
* Oil - to grease the idli tray/ to make dosas
Preparing Ragi Idli Batter
* Soak urad dal and ragi grains separately for minimum 3 hours or overnight.
* Grind the urad dal separately till it become fluffy.
* Next grind the ragi separately (if using ragi grains).
* Mix the urad dal batter and ragi batter together with required salt. (Note: If you are using ragi flour, grind the urad dal to a smooth batter and mix in the ragi flour to this. Add little water and mix to get a idli batter consistency.)
* Whichever method you follow, let the batter ferment overnight or until it doubles in volume. (Note: If you are in a cold country, leave the batter in the oven with the light on to aid the fermentation process.)
* After it ferments, you can make idlis or dosa immediately. You can also store the batter in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Making Ragi Dosa
* Heat the dosa pan. Make it hot enough to sizzle away drops of water.
* Pour 3 or 4 drops of oil and spread it on the pan. Pour some ragi batter and spread it using the spoon in a circular motion.
* Add few drops of oil around the edge of the dosa. Wait for the batter in the edges to become slightly brown.
* Now flip the dosa and cook the other side. Yummy ragi dosa is ready for serving. This dosa will not get crispy like the regular dosa. Just cook it for 2-3 minutes per side.
Making Ragi Idli
* Grease the idli plates with few drops of oil. Fill the concave portion of the idli plate with the ragi batter.
* Steam them for another 10 minutes in the idli vessel or any other closed vessel (it should not be air tight). Once the idlis become fluffy switch off the stove and allow it to rest for 2 minutes.
* Remove them using a wet knife or spoon. Serve.
* Instant ragi dosa: Mix 1 cup ragi flour with 1 cup of rice flour in butter milk. Add finely chopped onions, chilies, finely chopped coriander leaves and grated carrots into the batter. The instant Ragi dosa is ready to be relished.
* Another idea to make instant healthy ragi dosa is that instead of grinding a separate batter, you can mix some ragi flour with the regular idli batter. Most of the South Indian homes have the regular idli batter all the time. Make a healthy variation at least once in a week.
* You can also make Ragi Kuzhipaniyarams with the same batter. I have shared it as a separate post.
Serving Ragi Idli & Dosa
* Serve this with any type of your favorite spicy chutney or sambhar or other curry.
Ragi Idlis made with Ragi Flour served with Tomato Chutney
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