Ragi Manni/pudding (Finger millet pudding)Ragi (English-Finger millet,Chinese-䅟子,Arabic- Tailabon, German-Fingerhirse, French-coracan) is a popular millet in Southern India and is made into different dishes like porridges, puddings, pancakes,cookies, etc. Nutritionally,it is rich in the amino acid methionine and is among the few grains which contains a considerable amount of calcium.
Ragi is also given to babies as one of first cereals after rice(in fact Nestle India had launched a baby cereal mix with rice and ragi). My grandmother used to make ragi manni during summer, as it is believed in Ayurveda to cool the body.Traditionally it is made by soaking the ragi millet overnight in water,then grinding it to a fine paste and straining it in a cheesecloth.This is then cooked with jaggery and coconut milk,till it reaches a thick pasty consistency.It is then poured into huge plates and set aside to cool. The end product used to be simply amazing-a dark chocolate brown pudding(my gran used to tell me that it was Indian chocolate pudding,so that she could get me to eat it)that simply melted in the mouth.
Sadly,I could not find ragi millet here(not that I would have gone through the whole cumbersome process even if I had),but managed to get the ragi flour at the Indian store to make this instant version. I substituted milk for the coconut milk and the final product still was very tasty though it didn't have the same rich dark brown colour.Also,since it's not strained you can see brown specks of the ragi coat. The ragi manni/pudding can be eaten hot or cold(I love it cold)and had as a porridge for breakfast or served as a dessert or a healthy anytime snack(if you can mange to control the portion size)!
- Ragi flour: 1 cup
- Milk/Coconut milk: 2 cups
- Jaggery: 1 cup scraped OR Sugar: to taste
- Cardamom powder: 1/4 teaspoon
- Salt: a pinch
- Mix the ragi flour with the cold milk and make sure there are no lumps.
- Pour this into a saucepan and add the jaggery/sugar,salt and cardamom powder.
- Cook on medium heat stirring continuously(take care to see that it doesn't form lumps).
- When the mixture starts to thicken, reduce the heat and keep stirring till you get a porridge like consistency.
- Remove from heat.
- Serve the ragi manni (finger millet pudding) warm or chilled.
- You can substitute sugar for the jaggery, though it is more nutritious to use jaggery.
- Adding a pinch of salt is supposed to make the dish sweeter (not sure if that's really true).
Question: Do you feel that adding a pinch of salt to a sweet dish makes it sweeter or is it just an old wives tale?