Winter-friendly millets: 5 delectable ways to enjoy Ragi in cold weather
Ragi, also known as finger millet, not only keeps you warm during winters but is also a protein, mineral and fibre powerhouse. Here’s how to consume it.
Warm and nutrient-rich, ragi can be the perfect grain for nourishing your body with the goodness of minerals, protein and dietary fibre. Also known as finger millets, the ancient grain, were cultivated thousands of years back in India and found mention in ancient texts of Sangam literature (300 BCE – 300 CE). Ragi has been finding acceptance among wellness enthusiasts after millets have made a comeback of sorts in recent years. 2023 has been declared the year of millets by UN at the behest of Indian government. Being drought resistant increases their importance in food security. (Also read | Millets for PCOS: Amazing benefits, how to add to diet, and 2 healthy recipes)
Ragi is quite high in calcium content (350 mg), which makes it a wonder food for women. High in polyphenol content, ragi also has good quality protein, crude fibre, minerals that makes its much more nutritious than wheat or rice. Low in fat and rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, ragi works effectively to lower bad cholesterol, prevent sugar spikes and aid in weight loss.
With so many benefits, it's probably a good idea to include this amazing grain as part of your winter diet. Not only roti or paratha, ragi can also be added to your soup for texture and nutrition. A healthy porridge, halwa, dosa, laddoo, muffins are the other tasty ways of adding ragi to your winter diet.
"Ragi, also known as finger millet, is a superfood that has a multitude of health benefits. Ragi is a nutritious and versatile grain and including it into your diet can be both delicious and beneficial. Rich in fibre, essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, it is a powerhouse of nutrition. It is an excellent source of protein, calcium, potassium, and iron. Being gluten-free, it caters to various dietary preferences and is as an ideal winter food," says Parminder Kaur, Dietician, Manipal Hospital Patiala.
"Ragi is exceptionally high in dietary fibre, aiding digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness. The protein content in ragi is beneficial for muscle health and is a valuable addition to vegetarian diets. With an impressive calcium content of 34 mg/100g, ragi supports bone health and is particularly valuable for individuals with lactose intolerance. The high fibre content aids in weight management by promoting a feeling of satiety and the nutritional profile of ragi may contribute to better sleep quality, aiding in insomnia prevention," adds Kaur.
"As winter envelops us in its crisp embrace, the importance of nourishing, wholesome foods cannot be overstated. Enter ragi, the versatile grain that not only provides comfort but also an array of health benefits. Rich in dietary fibre, calcium, and essential amino acids, ragi is a winter superhero. It offers sustained energy, aids weight management, and ensures robust blood circulation. In the cold months, ragi emerges as an ally against lethargy and nutrient deficiencies, making it an ideal addition to our winter diets. Let's explore five creative and delicious ways to incorporate ragi into our seasonal menus," says Dietitian Vidhi Chawla, the creator of Fisico Diet and Aesthetic Clinic.
Ways to eat Ragi in winters
Shruti Bharadwaj, Clinical Nutritionist, Zydus Hospitals Ahmedabad says one can make dosa, pancakes, chapati, laddoo, and halwa with ragi in winter.
"If you have diabetes, please consult qualified dietician before consuming it to know more on how you can include it in your daily diet with other combinations to prevent sugar spikes," says Bharadwaj.
Dietitian Parminder Kaur shares more ways to add ragi to the diet:
- Ragi balls (laddoo)
- Ragi dosa- Can mix ragi batter, mixed with coriander, onions, and spices.
- Ragi malt
- Ragi chapati- An alternative to regular chapatis, rich in fibre and nutrients.
- Ragi idli- It combines the goodness of ragi with the lightness of idlis.
- Ragi malpua: It is perfect for satisfying winter cravings while providing nutritional benefits.
- Ragi cutlet- Combination of vegetables with the nutritional punch of ragi.
- Ragi khichdi- Nutritious one-pot meal, ideal for a cozy winter dinner.
- Ragi cookies- Ragi is recommended for new mothers as it aids in postpartum recovery and helps improve haemoglobin levels. It can be introduced to infants as a solid food, providing essential nutrients for their growth and development.
- Ragi milkshake: Blend cooked ragi with milk, banana, and honey to create a delicious and nutritious drink.
- Ragi pancakes: Mix ragi flour with eggs, buttermilk, and oil to make fluffy and nutritious pancakes. Top with syrup or your favourite sweetener.
Here are 5 ragi delights you can try during winter as suggested by Dietitian Vidhi Chawla.
1. Ragi walnut muffins: Kickstart your winter mornings with a burst of nutrients by indulging in ragi walnut muffins. These delectable treats seamlessly combine the earthy goodness of ragi with the crunch of walnuts. The fibre-rich muffins not only provide a delightful start to your day but also keep you energized and satisfied throughout the morning. Whether enjoyed with a cup of hot tea or as a quick on-the-go snack, these muffins are a delicious way to infuse your winter routine with the wholesome benefits of ragi.
2. Warm ragi apple crisp: Embrace the winter warmth with a comforting dessert – warm ragi apple crisp. This delightful creation marries the sweetness of baked apples with the nutty flavour of ragi crumble. The result is a satisfying and nourishing treat that not only pleases the palate but also provides a dose of essential nutrients. Laden with fibre and antioxidants, this dessert is a guilt-free indulgence that captures the essence of winter, making it a perfect finale to a cozy family dinner or a sweet retreat on a chilly evening.
3. Spiced ragi latte: Elevate your winter beverage game with the spiced ragi latte. Blend ragi flour with warm milk, honey, and a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to create a comforting and nutritious drink. This spiced latte not only warms you from within but also adds a unique twist to your daily cuppa. Packed with the goodness of ragi and aromatic spices, it transforms your beverage into a wholesome experience, making it an ideal companion during cold evenings or a revitalizing pick-me-up in the afternoons.
4. Ragi veggie wraps: For a quick and wholesome lunch, consider the Ragi Veggie Wraps. Create a pliable dough using ragi flour and water, roll it into wraps, and fill them with an assortment of colourful winter vegetables. The result is a nutritious, portable meal that combines the robustness of ragi with the freshness of seasonal veggies. These wraps are not only a convenient option for those busy winter days but also a tasty way to ensure a well-rounded and satisfying lunch.
5. Ragi coconut laddoos: Conclude your winter feasts on a sweet note with Ragi Coconut Laddoos. These bite-sized delights bring together the nutty flavour of ragi, the sweetness of jaggery, and the richness of coconut. Offering a healthier alternative to traditional sweets, these laddoos are easy to prepare and make for a guilt-free indulgence. Packed with energy and natural sweetness, they serve as a delightful treat for festive occasions or a cozy dessert to share with loved ones by the fireplace.