Saturday, January 17, 2009
RED RICE RAGI MUDDAE
A dish that is invariably prepared during Avare season is Ragi Muddae. English translations of regional dishes pose all of us bloggers a problem, and often give hilarious results! Ragi is known as Finger Millet or African Millet, and that sounds decent enough. Muddae translates to a lump or Ball!! So there you go – Ragi Muddae – or – African Millet Lump or Finger Millet Ball!
This is a dish that you will love or hate; let us just say it is an acquired taste! Many cannot understand what is there to like in a mass of cooked flour, but one can surely appreciate the nutritive qualities and benefits to health. Among other good qualities Ragi stands out for its Calcium Content. As a comparison-- as little as 100grams of Ragi contains 344 mg of Calcium, while same quantity of rice contains 9 mg only. One ragi muddae, taken along with raw onions and a green chilly can keep one satiated and going till long hours of toil, and therefore a staple dish for farmers. Ragi can also be used to make porridges, dosa, rottis and even baby food.
We are great fans of Ragi, and land up making muddae or rotti quite often along with Avare Kaalu Sambar. The combination is simply mind blowing. The Sambhar can be prepared in the same manner as the Chinna Vengaya Sambhar, by using Avare Kalu instead of Onion.
Mother prepared ragi muddae once a week since all of us had taken a liking to it. We loved to form a dimple in the center of the muddae which could hold a teaspoon of home made ghee. Mother usually added a scoop of rice while cooking the muddae. This gave the muddae a good chewy texture and we never had the unpleasant experience of swallowing a gooey mash.
I have tried to make the muddae more nutritious by using broken red rice and here is the recipe. Red rice is supposed to have more protein, fibre and calcium than white rice. It is said to lower cholesterol as well.
Plain Ragi flour – 2 cups
Pressure cooked broken red rice – ½ cup
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Salt -1 /2 tsp
Water – 2 cups METHOD:
1. Heat water in a thick bottomed pan.
2. Add salt and oil to it.
3. Add the cooked rice, and allow to boil.
4. Add the ragi flour and cover with lid and cook for two or three minutes.
5. The flour at the bottom of the vessel would have cooked by this time.
6. Now quickly stir the dry flour standing on the top and swirl everything together into a big mass.
7. Cover and cook for half a minute more and turn off the flame.
8. Dip your hands in cold water and take a ladleful of the cooked flour, and quickly shape it into a roundel or muddae. The flour is very hot, so you must do this quickly; else you can burn your hand!
TIP: You can also shape hot ragi flour by taking a ladle full on a clean wet cotton or muslin cloth. Hold the cloth on either sides and toss the flour around in the center. This way you can get a round shape, without handling hot flour!
Relish it with onion salad and Avare Kaalu Sambar and of course with a dollop of ghee.
My grand children like the taste of muddae but they get put off by the look and size. Hence I shape the cooked muddae into marble size balls as shown in the picture and float them in a soup bowl of sambar. They are highly thrilled about this ‘five star’ service!