There’s a lot of interest in ancient grains these days. Before the 1950s, whole grains such as barley, brown rice, amaranth and ragi were staples in our traditional diet after which rice took over completely. A whole grain is one which contains all three parts of the kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm while refined grains are processed to retain only the endosperm. This makes whole grains healthier as they contain the fiber-dense bran and along with other essential nutrients that are not lost due to processing. Ragi is one such super grain that has recently made a comeback. It is a hardy crop that can grow in high altitudes and withstand harsh weather conditions, making it perfectly suited for the Indian climatic conditions. Popularly known as Finger Millet or Nachni in North India, the grain actually originated in Africa and has been cultivated in Uganda and Ethiopia since many years. We tell you some amazing benefits of ragi.
Ragi flour is prepared by either crushing dried grains or spouting, drying and then grinding them. The good thing is that Ragi is a rich source of good carbohydrates and since it is too tiny to be polished or processed it is mostly consumed in its purest form. Dr. Ritika Samaddar, Dietitian at Max Hospital in New Delhi, agrees “Because of its high nutritional value, Ragi can be placed at the pinnacle of food grains. The cereal is gluten-free and highly suitable for those who are gluten or lactose intolerant. Besides this, it can easily become a part of your daily diet in the form of chappatis or as porridge for breakfast.” If you find it too dense, mix it with wheat flour in the ratio of 7:3 and make breads or bake with it. Some modern spins on finger millets include Ragi Cookies and Ragi Flakes (Noodles) that make for easy-to-cook and healthy snacks.