Ragi (Finger Millet)

Finger Millet / Red Millet close up selective focus on wooden background. Known in India as ragi.
Image by vm2002 c/o www.123rf.com

Finger millet or ragi as it is known in India is widely eaten because it is highly nutritious. It is also extremely convenient as a healthy fast food. It makes an excellent carbohydrate source for anyone involved in high energy jobs like construction or farming.

Recipes Using Ragi

Ragi is often eaten as a mudde or ragi lump with curry or vegetables. To make a mudde, ragi flour is boiled in water until a mass or lump is produced. This is a dough which is kneaded and then rolled into lumps. These are usually consumed with all sorts of curry to provide a carb base.

Dosas are a very popular side pancake in Indian cuisine but also popular in the UK to accompany breakfast ! A ragi dosa is prepared by soaking urad dal in dosa rice for half an hour. The whole mix is ground and then further mixed with ragi flour to form the dosa batter. It is then allowed to rest for another half hour. Various spices are added including salt, chillies, onion and coriander. The dosa is made from this batter mixture.

Another type of recipe uses fine ragi flour which is stirred in readiness for mixing with other ingredients. Salt is added and mixed with buttermilk. Various vegetables and spices are added including green chillis, coriander and very finely chopped onion. This produces a very nutritious porridge. It can be savoury or sweet depending on taste. The sweet version has milk and some sugar added.

The final dish is a ragi rotti prepared by mixing ragi flour, water, green chillis, coriander and some finely chopped onion or shallot. A thick mass is spread onto a hot griddle pan and fried until brown.

Nutrition

Ragi contains plenty of iron, phosphorous and potassium.  It is also rich in calcium which is rarely found at such levels in other foodstuffs. Coupled with plenty of vitamin D it helps others to maintain bone health. The National Institute of Nutrition claims ragi contains 344 mg of calcium per 100g.

Weight Management And Finger Millet (Ragi)

From a weight management perspective it helps the stomach to feel more full which reduces the amount that is eaten later on in the day. It contains plenty of amino-acids including tryptophan which helps in reducing appetite. We like it because it contains relatively small amounts of unsaturated fats and this too helps with weight management.

Diabetes

The high fibre and polyphenols content potentially might help in diabetes management. There is plenty of research being conducted on grains such as millets to understand how valuable they are.

Skin Health

Finger millet contains the amino acids methione and lysine which help combat skin wrinkling.

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