Ragi or Finger Millet is an annual plant (Eleusine coracana) in the grass family. It is native to the Old World tropics especially Ethiopia. It was introduced in India about 4000 years ago and is an important cereal in India and Africa. It is rich in proteins, calcium, iron, minerals, carbohydrates, and dietary fibre. The Ragi or Finger millet grain is ground to a fine flour and can be used in the preparation of various dishes such as porridge, pan cakes or dosas, rotis / chapattis/ cakes, dumplings or idlis, etc. In Nepal and many parts of Africa, the grain is made into a fermented drink like beer. Ragi has cooling effect on the body. So it should be eaten in moderation in winter, or if you are eating it for the first time. Here are some delightful old recipes using Ragi which are extremely easy to prepare.
SWEET RAGI CAKE /ROTI
1 Cup ragi flour
3 tablespoons jaggery (dissolved in a cup of water)
1 cup fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut
4 or 5 cardamoms pounded
A pinch of salt.
Oil for frying
Strain the jaggery water into another cup. Mix the ragi flour, coconut, cardamoms, salt and jaggery water together to form a soft dough. Heat a flat pan and smear some oil on it. Take small portions of the prepared dough and flatten on a plastic sheet or the back of a plate to form a small chapatti or roti. Drizzle oil around the roti / cake and cover with a plate or lid. Cook on a low flame till cooked. Serve hot.
SAVOURY RAGI PANCAKES OR DOSAS
1 cup Ragi flour
3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
1 onion finely chopped
2 teaspoon chopped curry leaves
3 green chillies chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients together with a sufficient water to form a slightly thick batter. Heat a flat nonstick pan and add a teaspoon of oil on it, then wipe it with a piece of cloth. When the pan is sufficiently hot pour a ladle ful of the batter in the middle then spread to form a dosa or pancake. Cook on low heat till done. Serve with any curry, chutney or pickle.