Millet Recipes, South Indian, Sweets, Vegan

Ragi (Finger Millet) Custard

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We all make different variations of easy ragi pudding – cooking powdered ragi in water/milk with jaggery or sugar – an easy way to provide good nutrition to kids. This is a slightly more sophisticated, tastier, nutritionally beneficial custard made from whole ragi. It is soft and has a melt-in-the-mouth texture with the mild flavors of coconut milk and goodness of ragi. It is easy to make, uses minimal ingredients, has excellent nutrition and safe even for small children. Ragi is high in proteins and minerals. Since this sweet uses jaggery and not sugar, healthy amounts of it will not do any harm even to diabetics. Also, the use of minimal ingredients helps us enjoy the mild and natural flavors rather than multiple ingredients vying for attention. But what fascinated me most about this recipe is the use of jaggery and coconut milk rather than sugar and cow’s milk. The taste is completely different and mild when coconut milk is used. I would never even want to try the other version or think of shortcuts like using readymade coconut milk or ragi powder instead of grinding whole ragi. The custard tastes delicious only when made as described below. The soaking and grinding does seem like a lot of effort but trust me it isn’t and the taste will motivate you to make it again. The original recipe calls for extracting ragi and coconut milk separately but I have simplified it by grinding both together. This does not compromise the taste in any manner.

PB014295.JPGIngredients:
Whole Ragi / Whole Finger Millet – 1 cup
Grated coconut – 1-1/2 cups
Jaggery – 3/4 cups (adjust to taste)
Elaichi powder – 1/4 tsp
Water as needed

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves 5-6

Method:
Soak the whole finger millet overnight (or 8 hours) in plain water. Wash and drain the water.
Add jaggery to a cup of water and let it melt. No need to heat this as we will be heating all the ingredients together later. Just let the jaggery dissolve in room temperature water. Sieve to remove any impurities and keep aside.
Add the soaked ragi into the mixer jar along with grated coconut. Add small quantities of water and blend well. If you are adding whole elaichi, you can add it along with the ragi and grated coconut. Transfer the blended mixture into a muslin cloth. Squeeze the contents in the muslin cloth and extract the milk out of the blended mixture into a cooking pan.

This step needs to be done thrice to extract the maximum milk from the coconut and the soaked ragi. Add small quantities of water, blend the mixture well, and then extract milk by squeezing the mixture through the muslin cloth. You will end up with a pan of light pink milk extract. (If you have access to cows near your house, you may give them the pulp remains of ragi and coconut. They will love it!)


Add the strained jaggery water into this light pink milk.

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If you are adding powdered elaichi, you may add now. Keep the pan on fire and stir continuously. Keep the fire low and cook slowly. Do not stop stirring.

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You will notice that the mixture starts thickening slowly.


When the whole mixture thickens, turn off the fire. Let it cool. Transfer to small bowls / moulds and refrigerate for about 4-5 hours. Custard is ready to be served.

Recipe courtesy – Ragi-Ragini: Chronicles from Aji’s Kitchen by Anjali Purohit

Breakfast, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Kerala Recipes, Main Dish, Side Dishes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Appam & Vegetable Stew

Mixed vegetables cooked in coconut milk and flavored with spices served along with soft and fluffy appams. A lip-smacking combo that can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Ingredients:
Mixed vegetables (cauliflower, potato, carrot, peas, beans) cut in small cubes – 2 cups
(I used potato alone)
Onion (cut in long strips) – 2 Nos
Ginger (cut in long strips) – 1/2 inch piece
Water – 1 glass
Green Chillies slit – 4
Salt to taste
Grated coconut – 1 cup (You can add either coconut milk or finely ground coconut paste)

For seasoning:
Coconut oil : 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 2 stalks
Shallots – 5 nos
Elaichi pod – 2 nos (small ones)
Cloves – 4 nos
Tej patta – 1

Vegetable stew ingredientsMethod:
Put onion, potato, ginger pieces, slit green chillies along with water into a vessel. Cook until potatoes are tender. You can lightly mash the potatoes so that they blend well with the gravy. Grind the grated coconut into a fine paste and add to the cooked vegetables in the vessel. Boil for 2 minutes and turn off. Pour coconut oil (raw-do not heat) and add curry leaves. Mix well and serve with hot appams. The traditional veg stew recipe ends here.

Here is my improvisation to the seasoning of this veg stew. Heat a kadai and pour coconut oil. Add thinely sliced shallots, cloves, and cardamom. Saute till shallots turn golden brown. Add this to stew. Mix well and serve.

Instead of the grated coconut, you can use tinned coconut milk that is available in the market. If you are using coconut milk, ensure that you do not overheat it.

Appam

Ingredients:
Raw rice – 2 cups
Cooked rice : 1/2 cup
Grated coconut : 1 cup
Coconut water – of one coconut
Yeast – 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method for Batter:
Soak the rice in water for 4-5 hours. Grind the rice along with cooked rice and coconut to a smooth paste. While grinding, add only minimal water because you will need to add coconut water also. You could also add the coconut water while grinding the paste. Mix the yeast in half a glass of warm water and add that to this batter. Pour this mixture in a vessel leaving enough room for fermenting. Allow to ferment overnight. Add salt to taste and sugar to the batter and mix well with a ladle. The batter is ready to use.
Note: If you stay in colder regions, the batter may not ferment well overnight. Take care to keep the batter in a warm place for overnight fermenting.

Method for Appam:
Heat the wok or appam chatty (a vessel specially used for making appams). If the wok is not non-stick, you will need to smear oil on the wok using a clean cotton cloth. Keep fire in medium. Pour the appam batter into the hot wok.

Hold the wok on two ends and gently swirl the wok to spread the batter around making it thin around the edges and thicker in the middle.

A well-fermented batter will form small holes when spread.

Cover the wok with a lid and cook on medium flame till the edges are crisp.

The lacy edges will come off the wok when it is done.

Serve hot along with the veg stew.

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