In the past few months I have been surrounded by ragi flour, it has been literally popping in to my life at different times. Ragi cake on a friends page, ragi roti made with love by my mother in law (flat bread), Ragi flour bags in my friendly neighborhood grocery store and so on. Wherever I look I can see ragi…
What is ragi and ragi flour?
Ragi has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Indian Subcontinent. In English the plant might be better known as Finger millet, however, since ragi is a much shorter and much more commonly used name in my surrounding, I personally prefer to call it simply ragi. In Goa they also call it nachni besides ragi, in fact ragi is known under many different names.
The grey “dark” ragi flour can be commonly bought in Goa and these days we even get to by organic ragi. Yeah! Although the use of finger millet is popular in South Asia and African highlands, the grain is barely known in the western world. According to this site, ragi is very drought resistant, which means the seeds can lie dormant for a longer period, and once it rains ragi seeds come to life and the plant can be already harvested after 1 1/2 months. This super plant has another advantage: The seeds don’t rot that easily during humid months and insects don’t like it.
Basically, it means that instead of cultivating only commercial popular wheat variety all over the Indian subcontinent, a strong grain such as Ragi should be cultivated. The Global Crop Diversity Trust described finger millet as a reliable food source in times of drought and crop failure.
It would solve the dilemma of so many suicidal farmers. Finger millet production should be more common, not only because it grows well in the Indian subcontinent, but also because the grain itself is healthier, especially compared to wheat. It’s high in proteins and doctors often recommend mother’s to feed their babies with ragi porridge.
In general Ragi flour is a better choice if you care for your health. I personally enjoy it but of course I like to keep my food life balanced, I use and eat ragi from time to time.
Besides Ragi flat breads, I like to transform ragi flour into nutritious short bread cookies. Commercially packed 5 grain cookies, better known as biscuits here around, frequently include ragi. I figured I should try baking my own batch, developing my own recipe and that’s what I did.
I combined two main ingredients together and created Ragi poppy seed cookies and they are Christmas material my friends! I wanted to make something different this year besides the traditional Vanillekipferl or Cinnamon stars to name a few. I felt it was time to share a Christmas cookies which could be made even if it wasn’t Christmas. A cookie, on the healthier side of life, easy and quick to prepare and with a very much misunderstood and underrated grain.
Make it, bake it and dust it with powdered sugar. 🙂
Ragi Poppy Seed Cookies
- In a mixing bowl combine the Ragi flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well into the center and add the wet ingredients, vanilla essence, butter, egg and the poppy seed paste.
- Combine the crumbly mixture and work into a smooth dough ball. Cover in plastic wrap and place the dough into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to one hour. The dough is easier to handle and to roll out when cold.
- Before cutting out the cookie shapes, preheat the oven to 200 Celsius.
- Dust your working space with ragi flour. Roll your dough out to a 1/2 centimeter thickness and cut out your cookie shapes. Place the raw cookies on a baking rack and bake for 10 mins at 200 Celsius.
- Let cool and enjoy or dust with powdered sugar.
Do you know and like to use Ragi flour in your cooking?