Also known as
Finger millet, African millet, Red millet, Nachani, Nachni.
Ragi is an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. In India, ragi is mostly grown and consumed in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Goa. As a crop and after harvesting, ragi keeps extremely well and is seldom attacked by pests. This eliminates the need for chemical fertilisers and pesticides making it a safe food. It is also a cost-effective source of protein, iron, calcium and fibre, which makes it the preferred food of many communities. Notably, it is a rare source of the amino acid methionine.
The whole grain of ragi may be ground into flour or decorticated before grinding to produce either a fine particle product or flour, which is then used in various traditional foods. The flour may be ground coarsely or finely, depending on individual preference and recipe requirement.
How to select
• Ragi flour is commonly available in grocery stores in various pack sizes.
• The ragi flour should be clean, dust free and without any infestations or foul odour.
• Ragi flour is usually made into chappatis or rotis and served with vegetables. It is the favoured food of those with gluten sensitivity.
• Porridge is perhaps the most common way of consuming ragi flour. A past of ragi flour in water is cooked till done, and then enhanced with buttermilk and salt, or milk and sugar.
• Ragi porridge or a thick consistency can be had with fruits, dry fruits and nuts as a healthy breakfast.
• Ragi flour can be made into delicious dosas that can be served with coconut chutney, sambhar etc., or just eaten plain with a dollop of butter or ghee. You can add chopped onions, grated carrot, green chillies, ginger, coriander, etc. to the roti to enhance its flavour.
• Ragi flour is made into flatbreads, including thick, leavened dosa and thinner, unleavened pancakes.
• You can make kheer by combing cooked ragi flour with milk and sugar or jaggery, and garnishing with elaichi, almond slivers and chopped cashews.
• Flour from malted ragi grains can be mixed with milk or yoghurt and had with sugar or salt.
• In Karnataka, ragi flour is generally consumed in the form of ragi balls (ragi mudde). The mudde, which is prepared by cooking the ragi flour with water to achieve dough like consistency, is rolled into balls of desired size and served with ghee, rasam, sambhar, dal or other accompaniments.
• In Maharashtra, bhakri, a type of flat bread is prepared using finger millet (ragi) flour.
• In Goa, ragi is very popular and satva, pole (dosa), bhakri, ambil (a sour porridge) made of ragi are very common.
How to store
• Store ragi flour in an airtight container and keep it in a cool and dry place.
11 Health benefits of Ragi Flour
1. High in Protein: One cup of whole Ragi Flour (144grams) gives about 10.3 grams of protein. Very good source for Vegetarian.
2. High in Fiber : One cup of whole Ragi Flour gives about 16.1 grams of fibre. This fibre will keep you fuller for a longer time and avoid you from binge eating.
3. Gluten Free : Great healthy option for those who are intolerant to Gluten. Ragi flour, is far more healthier to use in Indian Breads like Whole Wheat Roti. Try Ragi Roti
4. Good for Diabetics : Ragi flour creates a much lower surge in sugar levels compared to wheat. Ragi is rich in Magnesium which improves insulin response by lowering insulin resistance. Having very low magnesium will result in the pancreas not secrete enough insulin to control our blood sugar.
5. Relieves Constipation : Ragi flour being rich in insoluble fibre helps easy digestion and hence relieves constipation. Insoluble Fibre does not dissolve in water and goes through your stomach without being processed helping other foods move through your system and out. Insoluble Fibre keeps you healthier with a better digestive system.
6. Good for Heart : Ragi flour is rich in Magnesium. 100 grams of Ragi have 137 milligrams of Magnesium which is 50% of your recommend daily allowance (RDA). Magnesium helps maintain nerve function and normal heartbeat.
7. Lowers Cholesterol : Being high in Fibre, Ragi reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the effects of good cholesterol (HDL)
8. Good for Endurance : Being high in fibre, protein, lowering blood pressure means more RBC (red blood cells) to give energy. All these factors enhance performance of endurance athletes like runners, swimmers and bikers.
9. Antioxidant Rich : Ragi has many antioxidants which help fight the body against infections.
10. Rich in Calcium : Once up Ragi flour has 481 mg of Calcium which is 48% of RDA ( Recommended Daily Allowance). Calcium is a mineral that makes bones stay strong. The human body consistently remove small amounts of calcium from our bones and that has to be topped up with Calcium rich foods.
11. Good for Toddlers : Jowar, Ragi and Date Porridge is a wholesome food that will keep your Baby & Toddler satiated and active for at least a couple of hours.