Tag Archives: kezhvaragu

Kezhvaragu Kambu Urundai/Ragi-Bajra Laddu/Nutty Millet Sweet Balls

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As children come back from school, the first thing to strike them is HUNGER. While some may have a whole meal, some prefer snacking. When we went to school decades ago (has it been so long??),   school was done by 4.15 and we came back between 4.30 and 5.00, ready to run for other activities.

Then it wasn’t the muffins, fluffy cakes or croissants or the tetra pack juices and ready-made flavored milk that filled our tummies. We never knew white flour/maida based empty calorie – so-called goodies… What an inspiring name for unworthy junk food..(sigh).

Orthodox middle class didn’t know beyond bread and jam, which was white, soft and sugary. It was never a staple then, not even a meal. Bread was initially a sick man’s food – a substitute to kanji which is porridge. The light Kanji, which is still a breakfast delicacy in many countries in south-east Asia is definitely a healthier option. But soft bread soaked in milk  offered a delightful change to the fever-stricken patient. Hence, the concept of brown bread, 100% atta bread and rye bread were all beyond comprehension. Good for us!

Coming to after-school snacking, different kinds of home-made urundais(sweet balls) and murukkus and other rice-lentil-millet based snacks were given as hunger busters. The beautifully shaped balls and the varied shaped fries offered distinct flavours with different ingredients each time. With the aesthetics and handwork incorporated into these true goodies, they can certainly be compared to an artisan’s handcrafted product.

Those gentle hands that caressed the young ones with warmth were strong enough to create these healthy snacks not only with pure love but with pure nei/ghee/clarified butter too!

 

kezhvaragu/finger millet


So, in honour of mothers and grandmothers who did their homework well to keep us healthy, fit and immune,  this post is a millet based urundai/sweet ball. Since I had finger millet  (ragi) and pearl millet (bajra) powders, I made the urundai with the both combined with roasted Bengal gram.

While winter is on the way, I also added nuts to it. Summer or Winter, Nuts definitely contribute to the higher nutrient value of the Urundais. Roasted bengal gram and roasted nuts are powdered here and they also help in better binding of the sweet balls with clarified butter (nei).

 

kambu/pearl millet


For nutritional facts of Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet please refer Kezhvaragu Dosai/Finger Millet Pancakes

For nutritional facts of Kambu/Pearl Millet please refer Kambu Dosai/Pearl Millet Pancakes
Kezhvaragu Kambu Nei Urundai/Nutty Finger Millet and Pearl Millet Sweet Balls

 

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Ingredients (makes appr. 25)

nuts and sugar-

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roasted gram and millet flours-

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  • kezhvaragu/finger millet/ragi powder – 1 cup
  • kambu/pearl millet/bajra powder – 1 cup
  • pottukadalai/roasted bengal gram/chutney dal – 1/2 cup powdered
  • assorted nuts – almonds, pistachios, walnuts and cashew nut – 1/2 cup – roasted and powdered
  • sarkkarai/sugar powder – 2 cups
  • elakkai/cardamom/elaichi –  cloves
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • nei/ghee – 1 cup melted appr.

Method of Preparation

 

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  1. Dry roast finger millet and pearl millet powders together in a pan
  2. Dry roast the assorted nuts and powder them in a blender
  3. Powder the Roasted Bengal Gram with elaichi
  4. Mix the roasted millet powders, powdered roasted bengal gram, powdered nuts, powdered sugar and dry ginger powder in a big bowl
  5. Heat the nei/clarified butter in a separate pan
  6. Pour a teaspoon of nei into the combined flour. If the ghee forms bubbles its hot enough to make balls
  7. When the clarified butter is hot enough pour into the flour and mix well with a spatula
  8. Start making medium-sized balls
  9. Once done, let them cool and store in an air-tight container.

Notes:

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  1. Millet powders are readily available in super markets across India.
  2. Powdered nuts are optional.
  3. Another option is to coarsely grind the nuts fora crunchy taste in the Urundais/sweet balls.
  4. Since I had powdered palm sugar, I used it. If one has unrefined cane sugar or very pure jaggery powder without mud, these can be used too.  Easily available white sugar can be powdered and used.

Kezhvaragu Dosai/Finger Millet Pancake (Whole Grain Dosai Series)

 

kezhvaragu/finger millet – the centre of attraction

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First in the series of Dosais would be Kezhvaragu Dosai. Kezhvaragu in Tamil, is Finger Millet in English and locally Ragi in Karnataka, the southern Indian state which is the largest producer of Finger Millet in India. It is also called Keppai in Tamil.

I give primary importance to Kezhvaragu/Ragi as it was one of the first foods of my daughter after mother’s milk at six months of age.

When my daughter was ready for her first worldly meal – she was fed Keppai Kanji or Finger Millet Porridge. The millet is soaked and sprouted, dried and milled first. This powder is mixed with milk and sugar or jaggery and boiled to porridge consistency. The warm porridge is best next to Mother’s Milk for infants.

 

health drink for children: keppai kanji – finger millet porridge

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It is rich in Amino Acids which are vital in normal functioning of body and are essential for repairing body tissues. Finger Millet contains Tryptophan, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine and Methionoine amino acids. Isoleucine helps in muscle repair, blood formation, contributes to bone formation and improves skin health.

 

Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet

ingredients for dosai

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This is a beautiful orange colored grain. When powdered and mixed with milk or water in porridges or made into batter for pancakes, the color changes to somewhat ashy brown.

In packaged drinks called ‘ragi malt’ or powdered version available in the markets, it used to be in orange color, the synthetic colors added to give it the natural grain like color. But beware of those colorful health drinks. Kezhvaragu loses its color when grounded or mixed with milk or water.

Finger Millet, is cultivated in drier parts of the world – mainly in Asia and Africa. It has a distinct taste and is widely used in Southern Indian and Ethiopian dishes. It is easy to digest and does not contain gluten; people who are sensitive to gluten can easily consume Finger Millet.

 

Nutritional Facts
1. Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet contains an amino acid called Tryptophan whichlowers appetite and helps in keeping weight in control. Ragi gets digested at a slower rate thus keeps one away from intaking excessive calories.
2. Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet consumption helps in development of bones in growing children and in maintenance of bone health in adults. It keeps diseases such as osteoporosis at bay and could reduce risk of fracture.
3. It’s photo chemicals help in slowing digestion process and lowering absorption of starch.. This helps in controlling blood sugar level in condition of diabetes. In a study conducted in 2000, it was found that Finger Millet based diet helps diabetics as it contains higher fiber than rice and wheat.
4. Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet contains amino acids Lecithin and Methionine which help in bringing down cholesterol level eliminating excess fat from Liver. Finger Millet also contains Threonine amino acid which hinders fat formation in the liver, which brings cholesterol level of the body down.
5. It is a very good source of natural Iron. It also helps in relaxing body naturally. It is beneficial in conditions of anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is also useful for migraines.
6. It is rich in Amino Acids which are vital in normal functioning of body and are essential for repairing body tissues. Finger Millet contains Tryptophan, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine and Methionoine amino acids. Isoleucine helps in muscle repair, blood formation, contributes to bone formation and improves skin health.
7. If consumed regularly, Ragi could help in keeping malnutrition, degenerative diseases and premature aging at bay.

 

Caution:
It is an extremely nutritious cereal and is very beneficial for maintaining a good health. However, its high intake could increase quantity oxalic acid in the body. Therefore, it is not advised to patients having kidney stones (Urinary Calculi).

 

Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet could be enjoyed in different forms and preparations. Keppai Idli/Rice Cakes, Keppai Dosai/Pancakes, Keppai Kanji/Porridge, Keppai Kali/Halwa, Keppai Upma, Ragi Cakes, Ragi Biscuits and many more.
Kezhvaragu Dosai/Finger Millet Pancake

 

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Ingredients (makes appr. 12-15 dosais/pancakes)

  • Kezhvaragu/ragi/finger millet – 1 1/2 cups
  • Ulundhu not split/dehusked black gram – 1/2 cup
  • Vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • salt – as needed
  • oil – to make dosais

 

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Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and Soak all ingredients in enough water for a minimum 4 hrs
  2. Grind to a smooth batter
  3. Add salt to batter and leave to ferment for 6 hrs
  4. In a warm country, 6 hrs is enough and one can mix the fermented batter and keep it refrigerated for further use
  5. If in a cold country, leave it overnight
  6. Once fermented, always keep the batter refrigerated as it will go sour and get spoilt
  7. Make hot Dosais and serve with vengaya thuvayal /onion chutney or any chutney of choice
  8. After the dosais, more/buttermilk which is the diluted version of yoghurt with salt is served as coolant.

 

one side of the story

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and the other side

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To Make Dosais/Pancakes refer – https://dosaikal.com/2011/08/14/basic-dosaidosa/

and serve with chutney of choice – refer – https://dosaikal.com/category/chutneys/

 

if one prefers dehusked black gram – go for it

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Note

  1. The black gram generally used is dehusked whole black gram. I prefer to use black gram with skin which adds to the nutrient value of the dosai.
  2. Be careful with the fermentation as the batter would become sour very quickly. Minimum 4 hrs is enough in a warm climate
  3. This is the plain dosai. If one prefers, grinding red chillies together or mixing coconut just before making Dosais can be a variation. Do not mix coconut before fermentation as coconut would be spoilt and make the batter spoilt too.
  4. Buttermilk is had after the Dosai as kezhvargi/ragi is supposed to be a heat producing grain and the onion in chutney and more/buttermilk act as coolants.
  5. Can make the Dosais thick or crispy thin as preferred.

Not to miss:

  1. Since Kezvaragu is supposed to be a heat producing agent for the body, it is always had with shallots/onion thuvayal/chutney.
  2. After a breakfast with onion chutney and dosai, buttermilk or diluted yoghurt is always served as a coolant.
  3. It is preferably or rather specifically adviced to have it only as breakfast and not for dinner as it needs more time to digest.

All nutritional facts adapted from http://naturopathycure.com/Health-Benefits-of-Finger-Millet-%28Ragi%29.php

ready!

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