Whole grains have made a huge comeback in recent times, given the growing awareness and increased movement towards ‘eating healthy’. People have begun to spurn refined, and processed food, preferring unpolished cereals and millets – like RAGI.
What is RAGI
For those of you who are from a region where ragi is not grown, ragi is, basically, a finger millet – a product that has been consumed by generations of people from Karnataka and some parts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
It is called Nachani in Maharashtra, Nagali in Gujarat, Koda, or Mandua by Garhwali and Kumaoni people.
- Source of calcium: Ragi is one of the best sources of calcium from a non-dairy product, with about 344 mg of calcium per 100 gm of Ragi. So, it is ideal for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. As aging women are prone to bone-related issues such as osteoporosis, Ragi is a good addition to their diet too. Growing children are another demographic that must consume ragito fortify themselves with the calcium in it.
- Rich in protein: Ragi is also rich in proteins, with about 6-8 percent protein content, making it a suitable addition to a vegan and vegetarian diet.
- Full of iron: Vegetarians frequently find themselves on the lower limits of the hemoglobin count. Ragi is a good source of iron for them and a good dietary addition for those who are anemic.
- Gluten-free: Allergies abound in many regions among different people and gluten is one of the main irritants. Ragi is safe to consume since it does not contain gluten.
- Good for weight loss and diabetes: Ragi is ideal for weight loss and for those with diabetes as it only contains 1-2 percent fats. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels.
- Easy to digest: Despite being highly fibrous, with about 15-20 percent dietary fiber, ragi is an easily digestible cereal. This is because it is low in unsaturated fat and free from gluten. This is also why it is given to babies as a first meal.
- High potassium content: Ragi has very high levels of potassium – 408 mg per 100 gm of ragi.
- Various amino acids: It also has some essential amino acids like Isoleucine, leucine, methionine, and phenylalanine – which are not found in other starchy items.
RECIPE – LITTLE MILLET PULAO
Little Millet Pulao is a delicious pulao recipe made using little millet or Samaa rice as it is known in Hindi. It’s a great grain to make pulao if you are looking to replace rice from your diet. Little millet is lower in GI as compared to rice and is a gluten-free grain. If you know how to cook this right, little millet can be substituted for rice in most dishes.
- 300 gm Little millet parboiled
- 100 gm Carrot chopped
- 100 gm Peas shelled
- 100 gm Potatoes chopped
- 100 gm Onion
- 100 gm tomatoes
- 20 gm mint leaves
- One tablespoon of cumin seeds
- 1/4th spoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste
- 2- 3 green chilies
- 2 spoon raisins
- Oil one tablespoon
- Take a pan and dry roast the little millet for 2-3 minutes. Add 400ml of water, once the water starts to boil, and cook it covered on slow for 5 minutes.
- Switch off the heat, when water is absorbed fluff it with a fork and use it in the recipe.
- When little millet is cooking on the side you can prepare a tempering or tadka for it.
- In a separate pan heat up the oil for deep frying and fry the chopped potatoes till light brown and drain them onto a kitchen napkin.
- Now take out all the oil from the pan and leave just 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan, add cumin seeds, cloves, and bay leaf. Add chopped onion and ginger too
- Fry them for 2 minutes on medium-high heat and add finely chopped green chilli and tomatoes. Also, add salt and red chilli powder.
- Cook the tomatoes till pulpy and add chopped carrot and peas, cook them for 4-5 minutes while covered, and then add cooked little millet.
- Mix everything gently and add chopped mint leaves, cook for 2 more minutes, and serve it hot.