I know that I have said this many many times before but one of the most satisfying aspects of blogging are the kind of people you get to ‘meet’ along the way and how they end up becoming a special part of your life. Over a period of time I have virtually met so many different kinds of people over social media. Some took detours along the way while many are still with me as my closest friends and confidantes. One such special friend is a person who knows to add cheer to everyone’s life with her puns, jokes and positive outlook towards life . There are people who can joke about all and sundry and then those who can actually take a joke (on their own selves) like this person. So when she asked me for the recipe of the Ragi Manni which she had eaten at a restaurant in Bangalore I decided to give it a try. This was way back in 2012. A few recipes were found, tried and tested but over a period of time it was put on the back burner due.
After having abandoned ‘Project Ragi Manni’ for so long, I suddenly sprung into action yesterday and on a whim, without a proper recipe in hand, soaked the ragi. I told myself that I better pull up my socks and complete this task before going on vacation or another year would pass by without having made it. I randomly looked for recipes online and eventually adapted it from my own rice manni recipe. I remember my old domestic help, Sheela raving about it to me a few years ago. She said it tasted heavenly and promised to make it for me but the project was eventually ditched as she was clueless about the recipe. In the end the millet had to be donated to my top maid as I was not much of a cook let alone a blogger in those days. I didn’t want history to repeat itself this time and I am glad it didn’t have to.
Ramadan Kareem to all my Muslim readers!
Ragi Manni | Ragi Falooda (Finger Millet Pudding)
Prep time: 5-6 hours (soaking time) | Cooking time: 20 mins | Yield: 9″ round dish or 8-10 ramekins
Cup measure used 1 cup = 240ml
- 1 cup whole finger millet (ragi grains, not flour)
- 2 tablespoons raw rice (white rice)
- 1-1/2 cups freshly grated coconut (to extract 1 cup thick coconut milk + 1 cup thin coconut milk)
- 150-200 grams (approx 1 to 1-1/2 cup loosely packed) grated (or finely powdered) jaggery
- 4-5 cardamom pods, husked and powdered
- 1 tablespoon broken cashew nuts + extra to garnish
- Pinch of salt
- 2-3 teaspoons ghee for smearing (use oil for dairy free version)
4. Cover the bowl and keep it undisturbed for at least 3 hours for the sediment (ragi paste) to settle. After 3 hours carefully strain off the clear liquid at the top of the bowl taking care to see that the sediment doesn’t get mixed up. Discard the clear liquid.
5. To extract the coconut milk, grind the grated coconut to a coarse paste using 1/2 cup of hot water. Transfer contents to a bowl lined with thin muslin cloth and squeeze till you get thick milk. You need 1 cup of thick milk. Transfer the coconut back to the grinder and add another 1 cup of warm water to it and grind it fine. Repeat the process to get another cup of thin milk. We need a total of 2 cups of coconut milk.
6. Before you begin the process check if everything is ready (ingredients). Grease a 9″ steel thali (plate with tall sides) with ghee. You may also use approx 8-10 ramekins of 150ml each. Reserve 2 teaspoons of ghee to grease your palms while spreading out the manni. Give this process your undivided attention.
7. Lightly grease a heavy based pan or non stick kadhai with ghee (skip this if for dairy free version). Place the ragi paste, coconut milk, 150 grams jaggery, pinch of salt and cardamom powder and stir to mix. Check the sweetness and increase it if you wish.
7. Place the pan over a medium-low heat and stir continuously ensuring that there are no lumps. Continue to cook until the mixture, turns glossy and begins to leave the sides of the pan. This could take about 18-20 mins so have patience. Watch out for the mixture sticking to the base as it could burn easily.
8. When the mixture completely leaves the sides of the pan and looks like a big lump, pour it into the prepared thali, quickly grease your whole palm with the reserved ghee and pat down the mixture evenly and smoothen the surface – do this quickly and use as much ghee as is required.
9. Place the thali on a wire rack to cool down completely. Once cooled, run a knife greased with ghee to make square or diagonal shapes.
10. Garnish with nuts and serve. This dish tastes wonderful when chilled.
There are many recipes for this dish that don’t require the use of coconut milk. You may substitute coconut milk with regular milk. The same quantity should work but do make sure the temperature is kept low while cooking as the milk could curdle. You may also use water but I am not sure of the quantity and how it will taste.
You may lightly fry the nuts in ghee before garnishing. This is optional