I had heard and read a lot about the benefits of Ragi, or Finger Millets, as they are known.
Loaded with calcium, iron, vitamins B1 and B3, vitamin C, vitamin D, and some important amino acids, I felt this was precisely the food I needed to include in my daily diet as opposed to the vitamin supplements that I depended on to meet my nutritional requirements.
Moreover, adding just one food to my diet to benefit from all these nutrients seemed a lot appealing.
Its high amount of calcium is required for strong bones and to keep away osteoporosis.
Its high fibre content and low Glycemic Index makes it perfect for diabetics.
A good source of iron, millets helps us fight anaemia.
It keeps you full for long and thus keeps you safe from the terrible hunger pangs, resulting in easier weight loss.
It is also said to help relax our mind thus helping those suffering from anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness.
Naachni, as Finger Millets are known in Marathi, has been a part of my pantry. I use it to make flatbread, especially along with stuffed brinjals, and baingan ka bharta. But, using naachni flour to make porridge was something new to me.
It’s really simple. From making the malt at home to cooking the porridge, it’s one easy recipe I am sure you will love.
HOW TO PREPARE RAGI MALT:
Malt means the germinated grain, which has been soaked and then dried to avoid further germinating. (Source Wikipedia)
You will find ragi malt in supermarkets, but I find that the store-bought variety is costly. Also the homemade one feels purer in comparison.
RECIPE FOR RAGI MALT:
Take about 250 gms of ragi, and soak it in water overnight.
The grains of ragi are really minute, so be careful when you rinse the grains. Use a fine strainer to rinse it.
The next morning, rinse the grains and once the water drains away, carefully collect it all in a clean cotton cloth.
Air it for a while and once it feels just slightly damp, bundle it all up and place it under a vessel to give it some warmth, and help the grains sprout.
It may take around 8 hours, or more, to germinate.
Then, remove it all carefully from the cloth into a clean, dry plate and place it in sunlight (if you have access to direct sunlight pouring in through the windows.)
If not, move the sprouts to a thick-bottomed pan and roast for 10 – 15 minutes on low flame.
Use a spatula to keep stirring the ragi so that it doesn’t get burnt.
After about 15 minutes, switch off the gas and move it into a dry plate. Allow to cool.
Once cool, grind it into a powder. You need to grind for longer if you want a fine powder. I grind it to a coarse powder that I relish much more than the finer, store-bought variety.
Store it in an airtight jar and refrigerate it.
Earlier I used to prepare the sweet porridge, now I prefer the savoury. Both of these are easy to make.
FOR THE SWEET PORRIDGE:
Water – 300 ml (or a mugful)
Ragi malt – 3 tablespoons
Jaggery – 1 tablespoon (or, as per your preference).
A pinch of salt.
Ghee – 1 teaspoon
In a vessel, bring the water to a boil.
Add a pinch of salt and the jaggery. You could also use dates instead of jaggery. Just chop two dates and add it to the water, just before you add the ragi malt and mix well.
In a bowl, take 3 spoons of ragi malt, add a little water to make a paste.
Once the water boils, add the ragi malt paste and keep stirring continuously to avoid lumps from forming.
Stir till you get a porridge-like consistency.
Switch off the gas.
Add a spoonful of ghee, and serve.
FOR THE SAVOURY PORRIDGE:
Water – 300 ml.
Ragi malt – 3 tablespoons
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tablespoon for tempering
Beetroot or carrot – 1, chopped into thin slices. (Optional)
Curry leaves and green chilli – chopped.
Mustard seeds and cumin seeds – for tempering.
Ghee – 1 teaspoon.
Cooking time – 15 minutes
In a vessel, take 300 ml or a mugful of water. Keep it to boil.
Add slices of either beetroot or carrot. This step is optional. I add these veggies alternately as it enhances its nutritional value.
Add salt as per taste to the water.
In a small bowl, take 3 tablespoons of ragi malt, add a spoonful of water and mix it to get a thick paste. You will have to add some more water till you get a paste-like consistency. Keep it aside.
Once the water comes to a boil, slowly add the ragi paste and keep stirring. Do not allow any lumps to form.
The mixture will slowly thicken after continuously stirring. Once you get a porridge-like consistency, switch off the gas.
In a tempering pan heat 2 spoons oil, or ghee, if you wish to.
Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow to splutter.
Add curry leaves and chopped green chillies. Once these splutter, add it to the porridge.
Add a teaspoon of ghee to it and serve hot.
I have this porridge as my evening snack before I go for my walk.
It’s filling and doesn’t make me hungry even after I return from my walk.
I also feel less hungry at night and have a light dinner of maybe 2 chapatis and sabji, or daal.
So, if you wish to lose weight, do switch to the ragi malt. It will not only keep you well-nourished but also help you reduce the pounds the healthy way, without weakening you from within.
In ‘Glow’, a book I am reading presently, the author Vasudha Rai suggests consuming millets with fat as they are drying in nature. So, add a teaspoon of ghee to your porridge. Moreover, ghee always enhances the flavour of a dish, apart from making it healthier.
That’s all. isn’t it so easy?
Read: Some more ragi malt recipes here: Ragi malt recipes
Do try it out and let me know how you liked it.
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