The humble ragi also known as finger millet is a nutritional superstar. It is a rich source of iron, calcium, dietary fibres and essential amino acids.
This millet is popularly consumed in its flour form. It is used to make porridge, gruel, pancakes and savoury cakes.
The porridge is one of the most common forms in which ragi is consumed. It is a simple yet filling meal. It is especially popular in Southern parts of India where the porridge is consumed in plenty during the hot months. Ragi is known for cooling the body; when paired with buttermilk, it is a perfect summer cooler.
This porridge is prepared in many different ways. Some ferment it, some don't; some use rice, rice flour or rice grits. In any which way you choose to have it, this porridge is incredibly tasty!
It is typically consumed with fresh green chillies, onions and optionally with pickle.
This is my father's recipe, and I love his version.
Serves: 4 to 6
Ragi flour - 1 cup
Yoghurt - 1 cup
Cooked rice - 1/4 cup
Water - 4 1/2 cups + 3 cups for diluting the yoghurt
Asafoetida - 1/4 tspn.
Salt - To taste
Pickle (of your choice)
Chopped onions or shallots
- Beat the yoghurt to make a smooth mixture. Add 3 cups of water to dilute it.
- In a large pot, add the ragi flour; pour 1/2 cup of water.
- Use a whisk or your hand to make a thick paste of the ragi flour. This is to prevent lumps from forming during the cooking process. Add more water, if required. Keep aside.
Place the pot with the ragi flour paste on the stove. Add the remaining 4 cups of water. Turn the stove on and keep stirring the mixture continuously.
While stirring, add asafoetida and salt. Keep mixing well till it thickens. While stirring ensure no lumps are formed.
Once done. Allow it to cool, and place the porridge in the fridge.
When it is cooled, mix cooked rice and buttermilk that you had prepared earlier. Serve with onions, green chillies and pickle.
- I have used plain buttermilk. You could also use spiced and/or tempered buttermilk.
- Instead of green chillies you could use mor molagai.
This has to be one of the easiest salads to make; it is a no-fuss salad that can be made with whatever ingredients you have in stock. Another reason why this salad gets a big thumbs up is because it tastes great with just about any dressing.
I have used fresh and simple vegetables in the garden salad with a spicy & tangy dressing. This garden veg salad is lovely for lunch on warm days, and even works well as a refreshing accompaniment for meals.
Cucumber - 1
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1
Iceberg lettuce - 2 big handfuls
Black olives - 3 tblspns.
Capsicum - 1/2, deseeded
For the dressing:
Extra virgin olive oil - 1 tblspn.
Lemon juice - 2 tspns.
Chilli flakes - 1/2 tspn.
Salt - To taste
Pepper - To taste
In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients under 'For the Dressing'. Keep aside.
Cut the vegetables however big or small you like them. Add the cut vegetables into a large mixing bowl with the lettuce leaves. Toss to mix the vegetables well.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Mix to combine all the ingredients. Season with more salt or pepper, as required.
Serve fresh with/as a meal.
- You could add, omit or replace the vegetables suggested here.
-Replace the suggested dressing with any dressing of your choice. If you are watching your calories, avoid fatty dressing like mayonnaise or the cheese-based ones.
- Crumble some feta, paneer or halloumi cheese for added flavour.
This classic lentil-based Indian curry is comfort food at its best. This dish is a common feature in many restaurants and roadside eateries called dhabas.
For the dal fry, lentils are cooked to perfection; the real flavour however comes from the beautifully cooked onions & tomatoes, and the aromatic spices.
Dal fry tastes great with rice, rotis and parathas. I enjoy it best with hot, steaming rice with a dollop of ghee.
Toor/arhar dal or pigeon peas - 1 1/2 cups
Water - 4 cups + about 1 cup for thinning the curry
Onion (large) - 1, finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2, finely chopped
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tspn.
Green chillies - 3, finely chopped
Turmeric - 1/2 tspn.
Chilli powder - 1 tspn.
Garam masala - 1 1/4 tspn.
Coriander powder - 1 tspn.
Kasoori methi (optional) - 1 large pinch
Salt - To taste
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tspn.
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tspn.
Asafetida (hing) - 1/4 tspn.
Ghee/oil - 1 tblspn.
Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tblspn.
Wash toor dal clean. Allow it to soak for about 20 minutes.
Drain the water the dal ha seen soaking in.
Place the soaked dal in a pressure cooker, and cook it with 4 cups of water for 4 to 5 whistles.
Turn off the stove and allow the pressure to settle.
Once the pressure is released, mash the dal till it's soft.
Add salt and place the cooker back on the stove.
Let the dal simmer.
At this stage, add more water if required.
Dry roast kasoori methi and keep aside.
Heat ghee in a skillet or kadai while the dal simmers.
Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter; now add the cumin seeds and fry them till fragrant and slightly brown.
Add the green chillies and asafoetida, and sauté for about 20 seconds.
Toss in the chopped onions.
Allow it to cook for a minute; then add the ginger-garlic paste.
Sauté till the raw smell from the paste is gone. Now add the dry spices except kasoori methi, and mix well.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Cook till the tomatoes till it becomes soft and mixes with the onions and spices.
If required, sprinkle a little water to mash the tomato-onion mixture.
Once this is done, add the simmering dal into the onion-tomato mixture.
Depending on how thick or thin you'd like the dal, reduce the dal mixture or add more water to make it dilute.
Allow it to simmer for 3 to 5 mins.
Now crush the dry roasted kasoori methi over the simmering dal fry.
Mix well, and simmer for another minute or two.
Now the dal fry is done.
Remove the vessel from the stove, sprinkle chopped coriander leaves. Mix well, and serve hot.
- Add or omit spices to suit your preference.
- You could add a mixture of toor and moong dal in 1:.5 ratio.
- If you can't find toor dal, use masoor dal (red lentils) instead. However, skip the soaking step as masoor dal gets cooked very fast.
Juicy berries blended with almond milk makes a refreshing breakfast or post-workout drink.
The anti oxidants-rich berries provide natural sweetness making it easy to skip the sugar or sweetener. Almond milk is low in sodium & bad cholesterol; and it is a rich source of B vitamins and vitamin E thereby making it a great source of nutrition.
I added a little oats to give the drink some thickness, which also makes it a tasty addition.
Mixed berries (frozen) - 1 cup
Unsweetened almond milk - 1
Oats (optional) - 1 tblspn.
In a pan, dry roast oats. Don't brown them. Once done, keep aside and allow it to cool.
Add the berries, almond milk and roasted oats in a blender jar. Blend it smooth and serve chilled. Optionally, you could also blend the smoothie with a few ice cubes.
- Replace almond milk with full-fat, 2% fat, soy milk, rice milk or other milk substitute of your choice.
- I have used frozen mixed berries, you could add fresh mixed berries in place of the frozen ones.
- Instead of mixed berries you could use only strawberries, blueberries or other berries I your choice.