[Every Thursday, we feature recipes for wholesome meals that use climate-friendly foods such as millets, fresh seasonal produce, and native grains from across India.]
Ragi or finger millet is an important staple grain in many Indian states, most notably Karnataka, where it is eaten as mudde, roti or ambli, a cooling drink enjoyed in summer. Finger millet is also known as nachni is Marathi, mandua in Hindi and kezhvaragu in Tamil. It is a versatile grain that can be used to make a variety of snacks, sweets, baked goods, and mains such as rotis, idlis, vermicelli and dosas. Sprouted ragi grains make a crunchy addition to salads. The Nepali community of Sikkim is known for chhaang, a beer brewed by fermenting ragi.
Nutritionally, besides being a superior source of dietary calcium, iron, amino acids and fibre, ragi is also an alkaline food with a low glycemic index. Its brown outer coating makes the grain rich in an antioxidant called polyphenols. This makes it a better source of nutrition than milled paddy rice and wheat.
Millets, in general, are known to have a low ecological footprint since they are largely rain-fed crops that require no irrigation or pesticides. They are known to survive in hot, dry climate and marginal lands, making them the best foods to cope with climate change.
This recipe is for ragi aloo parathas. Ragi being gluten free, cannot be kneaded into a dough, hence wheat flour provides the gluten to bind the dough together.
What you'll need
- Ragi flour: 2 cups
- Whole wheat flour: 2 cups
- Potatoes: 2 large
- Asafoetida: 1 teaspoon
- Red chilli powder: 1 tablespoon or 5-6 green chillies ground to a paste
- Ajwain: A pinch
- Salt and lukewarm water: as needed.
Pressure cook the potatoes with sufficient water until soft. Set them aside to cool. Once the potatoes have cooled down but are still warm, mash them well, making sure no lumps remain. Add the asafoetida, chilli powder or paste, ajwain and salt and mix until evenly combined.
In a wide bowl, sieve the ragi and wheat flour together to mix theme evenly. To the flour, add the potato mixture and knead well, sprinkling a few drops of lukewarm water until you have a soft but firm dough. Cover the dough and set it aside for 30 minutes to allow the dough to soften further.
Uncover the dough and knead it again. Divide the dough into large lemon-sized balls. Now, dust the prepared balls with ragi flour and roll it out into a thick, round paratha. Ensure the paratha is not too thin like chapati.
On a hot tawa, cook the parathas with a drop of oil.
These parathas are already full of spice and so make a tasty meal as they are. You can also serve them with a side dish, chutney or pickle.
A version of this recipe was originally published here.
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Gayathri is a Mumbai-based food blogger who blogs at Gayathri's Food Bytes