Read full article By Vaishali Vijaykumat @Express News Service Photo Credit: Vaishali Vijaykumar, ENS
Ragi, commonly known as finger millet, derives its name from the appearance of the head of the grain comprising five spikes, and thus resembling our five fingers.
CHENNAI: Ragi, commonly known as finger millet, derives its name from the appearance of the head of the grain comprising five spikes, and thus resembling our five fingers. Scientifically called Eleusine coracana, it is an annually cultivated cereal crop, vastly found in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia, such as in Ethiopia, India and Sri Lanka.
The drought-resistant nature of the crop makes it conducive to grow in various geographical terrains across India. Widely distributed across several states in India, its local names include ragi in Kannada, Hindi and Telugu, nachni in Marathi, madua in Bengali and kezhvaragu in Tamil. “Ragi is the king of millets. There’s a reason why it’s consumed by farmers as porridge before they get on with labour-intensive work on the fields. It’s also given to babies in South Indian households.
t’s so versatile in nature that you can prepare idli or dosa batter with it, use the flour to make rotis, koozh and kali for summer. It will cool the body. I was introduced to millets by my Ayurveda doctors for a health condition. With time, I’ve witnessed drastic changes in my body and fitness level. I’m a full-fledged milletarian now and I encourage people to incorporate millets in their everyday diet,” says Indra Narayan, home chef. The annual grass grows up to a height of 1 to 2 metres.
Narrow and green, the leaves measure between 30 and 70 cm. The straight, or sometimes curved, branches hold seeds arranged in florets, which can be brown, red or purple in colour. Upon developing, the seeds of the ragi plant are dried, cleaned and stored as grains. Over the years, the humble millet may have taken a backseat due to the increasing popularity of other cereals. But, it’s making a comeback with increasing awareness and dietary modifications, she says. The author of Millet Kitchen: The Simple Art of Millet Cooking throws light on this millet’s impressive nutritional profile.
Holistic breakfast food
Ragi comprises a vast array of key nutrients like vitamins C and E, B-complex vitamins, iron, calcium, antioxidants, proteins, fibers, sufficient calories and useful unsaturated fats. Having it for breakfast ensures faster assimilation of nutrients which is absorbed and transferred to the vital funct i oning of body organs.