By Naini Setalvad August 2012 One of the oldest foods known to humans, ragi is packed with nutrients and other amazing properties that make it an ideal food for adults and children alike, says Naini Setalvad A brown roti was something I had never seen. It just did not gel in my mind, until I realised how healthy the grain is. Ragi, also referred to as nachni, considered a poor man’s food, has of late become a popular grain. You will be amazed by its nutritional value. Ragi is a millet (one of the oldest foods known to humans and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes). Millet ranks as the sixth most important grain in the world. Finger millet (ragi) is a grain packed with nutrients. It is most commonly consumed in the form of ragi roti. It can also be used to make ragi idli, ragi dosa, ragi upma, and ragi porridge, which is excellent for children. This versatile grain is rich in proteins and low in carbohydrates. Ragi aids in lowering blood cholesterol levels, thereby preventing the blockage in arteries and reducing the risk of hypertension and stroke. It is popular among the diabetic and the obese, as its glycaemic index is low, and glucose is released slowly from the intestines into blood. Ragi thus gives consistent energy supply over a period – you will rarely feel sleepy after consuming ragi. Being rich in cellulose, it is an excellent remedy for constipation. Ragi is a wonderful alternative for gluten-sensitive people, as it is gluten-free. Did you know that ragi contains methionine, an amino acid lacking in most other cereals? It contains liberal amounts of iron and calcium. Ragi preparations are a good choice for people suffering from iron deficiencies. Calcium is needed for bone growth and body development. The millet is also rich in fibre and helps in reducing the risk of certain forms of cancer. If you want to keep your head cool in the scorching summer, eating this wonderful millet in any form is the best way. Here are a couple of delicious recipes you can cook up with this wholesome millet. Ragi Roti Ingredients 100 gm ragi atta (finger millet) 100 ml water 1/2 tsp chili paste 1/2 cup chopped coriander Salt to taste Method 1. Take water in a vessel and put it on a medium flame. 2. As it starts boiling add ragi atta, chili paste and coriander, and leave it for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not stir. 3. Take it off the flame. Stir with a wooden spoon so that lumps are not formed. 4. After it is mixed well, cool for five minutes and transfer it to a flat plate. 5. Knead well. 6. Roll it into rotis just like thin wheat rotis. 7. Apply 1/4 tsp ghee if desired. 8. Serve hot. Ragi khichu Naini Setalvad is a nutritionist,specialising in lifestyle and immunitydisorders. Her foundation, HealthFor You, throws light on healthyfood habits. Ingredients 3/4 cup – ragi flour 1 1/2 tbsp – low fat curds 1 tsp – cumin seeds 2 tsp – ginger-chili paste 1/2 cup – coriander leaves 1/4 tsp – asafoetida (hing) 1 tsp oil salt and lemon to taste Method 1. Beat the curds in one and half cups of water. Add ginger-chili paste, hing, salt, and cumin to it. 2. Heat this mixture on a medium flame for 3 – 5 minutes. 3. Once it starts boiling, add the ragi flour, and mix well. Stir constantly to avoid lumps. 4. Cover with a lid and cook on slow flame for 10 minutes. 5. Add oil and mix well. 6. Add lemon and coriander. Mix well and simmer again for two minutes. 7. Serve hot.
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