Author: Gauri Kshirsagar
Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.) also known as Ragi in India is one of the important cereals which occupies the highest area under cultivation among the small millets. The state of Karnataka is the largest producer of ragi in India. Ragi is a crop which can withstand severe drought conditions and hence is easily available throughout the year. In India paediatricians recommend ragi based food for babies because of its high nutrient content mainly, high calcium and iron which is useful for bone growth and overall development of the infant. Specially-processed ragi powders for infants are also available widely which can be used during weaning. Finger millet, also known as Kezhvaragu/Keppai in Tamil, Ragi in Kannada, Ragulu in Telugu, Koovaragu in Malayalam, nachni in Marathi and gonee in Konkani (Goa) Some important points regarding this recipe:
- This dish can be started at the age of 8 months onward.
- I always preferred the darker sugarcane jaggery, but sugar can also be used as a sweetener. To read more about the benefits of jaggery and types read my older post, Jaggery versus Sugar : Why is Jaggery better than Sugar in baby’s diet
- The dry fruits which I have mentioned here can be started after some days of starting the porridge. Avoid in case of nuts/dry fruit allergies
- The dish can be made thinner by adjusting the proportion of water and milk, more the milk, the thicker is the porridge and vice versa
- Always make it on a low flame, or the porridge gets thicker and is difficult to eat.
- The powdered form is also available in the Indian market, wherein the porridge can be made instantly, but is not of the same taste or texture and babies usually don’t prefer it, but as a time saver you can always opt for the ready to eat one.
- I always preferred the darker Omani variety of dates then the red ones because they are softer and are better in taste.
RECIPE: Ingredients: (Proportion for 1 serving for twin babies)
|Ragi (finger millet)||4 tablespoon|
|Dark Jaggery (grated)||2 tablespoon|
Method: I started this dish as an evening snack for my twins, which I used to feed them at 4:00 or 5:00 pm in the evening, hence I have listed the timings for soaking of some of the ingredients.
Step 1: Wash the ragi thoroughly and soak it in pre boiled (boiled & cooled down) water for at least 6 hours (at 8:00 AM, if you are planning it as an evening snack) You can also soak the almonds and dates in another dish
Step 2: After 6 hours (at about 2:00 PM) prepare the porridge mixture.
A: Take 1 cup of pre boiled milk (always use cooled down milk) and add the jaggery in it. The jaggery takes about 5 minutes to dissolve and if not try it with a spoon or a spatula. The jaggery should completely dissolve in the milk before you add the Ragi-dry fruits mixture
B: Drain the water from the soaked ragi, but keep minimal amount of water (at the level of the grains) and put it in the jar of a food processor. Peel the almonds and de-seed the dates and add in the jar. Mix well to make it a paste
C: Add this mixture from the jar to the milk. Use the cup of water to dissolve the remaining paste in the jar and add it to the milk. Keep Aside
Step 3: Strain the mixture using a large strainer and divide the mixture into two parts (in case of twins)
Before the feed, keep the first part of the mixture on low flame and keep stirring. Do not stop the stirring untill you get the desired consistency of the porridge (thick or thin)
Cool it down and the porridge is ready to eat!
Below is a table summarizing the nutritional value of raw ragi:
|Nutrition Summary of “Raw Millet” per 100gm|
|Calcium, Ca||8 mg||0.8 %|
|Copper, Cu||0.75 mg||37.5 %|
|Iron, Fe||3.01 mg||16.72 %|
|Magnesium, Mg||114 mg||28.5 %|
|Manganese, Mn||1.63 mg||81.6 %|
|Phosphorus, P||285 mg||28.5 %|
|Potassium, K||195 mg||5.57 %|
|Selenium, Se||2.7 mcg||3.86 %|
|Sodium, Na||5 mg||0.21 %|
|Zinc, Zn||1.68 mg||11.2 %|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||0 %|
|Vitamin C||0 mg||0 %|
|Vitamin B6||0.38 mg||19.2 %|
|Vitamin E||0.05 mg||0.17 %|
|Vitamin K||0.9 mcg||1.12 %|
|Riboflavin||0.29 mg||17.06 %|
|Thiamin||0.42 mg||28.07 %|
|Folate, DFE||85 mcg||21.25 %|
|Niacin||4.72 mg||23.6 %|
|Fiber||8.5 g||34 %|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0 %|
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