Nutrition and health experts vouch for the incredible nutritional qualities of ragi or finger millet which is easily available the super markets. Smooth porridge made with powdered ragi is usually fed to infants and toddlers. Millets are an incredible store house of all the essential nutrients which is nourishing for children and adults alike. The finger millet is also known as ragi, sollu, naachni or koovaraku in India.
Finger millets are widely cultivated in Karnataka. Ragi mudde, is a special dish made by cooking small ragi balls in steam. This dish is usually served with chicken or meat cooked in spicy gravy. Ragi porridge is very popular in Tamil Nadu and this dish, which is extremely cooling and refreshing, is consumed especially during the blazing summer to beat the heat. A rich source of calcium, Ragi is easy on the stomach and regulates digestion as well. These properties of millet make it the perfect food for infants who have just begun eating solid food.
Millets contain polyphenols and fibres which are essential to maintain a healthy and fit body. So, consuming a small bowl of it would make us feel that the stomach is filled and wouldn't go for another helping. As it is a grain which digests slowly, the amount of sugar it releases into the body would be much less. Having a bowl of ragi porridge or dishes made with it, for breakfast, helps to kick start the day on a healthy note.
Ragi is in fact one of the few food items which contains vitamin D. The iron content in millets helps to increase the level of haemoglobin, thereby preventing anaemia. Sprouted millet grains are a rich source of vitamin C which helps to increase the level of iron absorbed into the body. The anti oxidant rich millets fights cancer and many age-related diseases as well.
Millets are soaked in water to make it sprout, and then dried in shade. These grains are then finely powdered and boiled in water to make organic and nutritious baby feed. Sprout millets contain more protein than the regular ones.
Ragi malt is a nutritious drink which is prepared by mixing millet powder and buttermilk. Mix some ragi powder with water and boil it. Take it off the heat when the raw smell of ragi is off. Add buttermilk into this ragi mixture when it cools down. This is an excellent drink to refresh the body during summer.
Breakfast dishes like puttu, idli, idiyappam and appam could be made extra nutritious by mixing ragi powder along with rice flour. Here is the recipe of Ragi idli which is easy to make.