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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. It is very adaptable to higher elevations and is grown in the Himalaya up to 2,300 metres in elevation. In India, finger millet (locally called ragi) is mostly grown and consumed in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh,Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Goa. Once harvested, the seeds keep extremely well and are seldom attacked by insects or moulds. The long storage capacity makes finger millet an important crop in risk-avoidance strategies for poorer farming communities. 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. Finger millet is especially valuable as it contains the amino acid methionine, which is lacking in the diets of the poor who live on starchy staples such as cassava, plantain, polished rice, or maize meal. In many parts of the world, ragi has traditionally been used in food products and various food items; porridge, unleavened bread, cookies, cakes, couscous, and malted beverages are made from this versatile grain.
Boiled ragi seeds are one of the simplest uses. The small, corneous grains are normally desired for this type of food product and then made into porridge with water or milk.
How to select
The ragi flour should be clean, dust free and without any infestations or foul odor. It is better to opt for organic grains, if possible.
· The ragi flour is usually made into chappatis or rotis and served with vegetables.
· Ragi is favored by the gluten intolerant and is often cooked as a porridge to be eaten alongside other foods..
· Ragi flour is made into flatbreads, including thick, leavened dosa and thinner, unleavened pancakes.
· Ragi grain is malted and the grains are ground. This ground flour is consumed mixed with milk, boiled water or yoghurt.
· In Karnataka, ragi flour is generally consumed in the form of ragi balls ( ragi mudde in Kannada). The mudde which is prepared by cooking the Ragi flour with water to achieve a dough like consistency. Which is then rolled into 'balls' of desired size and consumed. Ghee with Huli, Saaru,sambar or another other curry is generally served along with these balls.
· 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) are very common.
How to store
Store ragi flour in an airtight container and keep it in a cool and dry place.
· Ragi flour is commonly eaten with the hull, which retains the majority of the nutrients. The plant is very high in fiber and iron, with a fairly high protein level as well. This makes it well suited to its use as a staple starch
· The ragi flour are rich in calcium and antioxidants and all the varieties are gluten-free, an attractive alternative for wheat allergy sufferers
· In southern parts of India, pediatricians recommend finger-millet-based food for infants of six months and above because of its high nutritional content, especially calcium. Home made Ragi malt happens to be one of the most popular infant food.
High( above 70)