Thursday, 4 August 2016




          Finger millet or ragi (eleusine coracana) has been cultivated in India for centuries. From the warm coastal plains to the Western Ghats, from the Deccan Plateau to the cool foothills of the Himalayas, this hardy cereal crop grows easily requiring little care and fertilizer.

The health benefits of a ragi diet are immense indeed. Locked in this wonder cereal, are calcium, iron, minerals and protein which help build and maintain strong bones as well as protect us from osteoporosis and anaemia. The high fibre content in ragi cleans the digestive system, relieving constipation and preventing cancer of the oesophagus. While the vitamin D from the finger millet helps maintain a beautiful wrinkle-free skin, other beneficial factors help relieve stress and anxiety, reduces cholesterol and increases breast milk in lactating mothers.

Ragi is low in fat and is a boon to diabetics. However, ragi is not very popular in many parts of the world as it fails to tickle the taste buds when cooked the way we cook rice or wheat, because of its fibrous nature. My wish is to share with you some delicious cooking recipes of irresistible finger millet dishes so that you can enjoy its health benefits with a drooling mouth! Nanchana dudali is a Konkani country jelly or jello relished by the children and the old alike. Do cook and enjoy!


     1)    Ragi / finger millet (Nanchano in Konkani, Muthari in Malayalam) – 250 gm.

     2)    Grated coconut – 100 gm.
     3)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 250 gm.
     4)    Cardamom – 5 pods
     5)    Water – 1 litre
     6)    Ghee – 1 tablespoon (for greasing and topping only)

To prepare:

          Soak the ragi in water for two hours. Wash and drain. Crush the jaggery. Combine the first five ingredients and grind to fine paste (you may have to grind it in two or three batches in your food processor). Now use a wide close meshed stainless steel sieve or strainer to collect all the juice. Grease a wide stainless steel plate with ghee and set aside.

Pour the juice into a deep non-stick pan and set on high heat. Stir continuously. Soon, lumps will start to form. As soon as the pan is full of lumps, lower the heat and continue to stir nicely for 15 minutes. Switch off the heat and transfer to the greased plate. Drizzle a few drops of ghee over the hot ragi and gently flatten it with the bottom of a greased tablespoon. As soon as the nanchana dudali cools down, cut into pieces and enjoy fresh.

Bon app├ętit!!!


     1)    Persons who are on a complete fat-free diet can avoid the greasing and cooling process. Just use a bowl and spoon. Scoop up the hot dudali and enjoy!

     2)    Diabetics can enjoy healthy finger millet by cooking ragi putte – See my four grain putte recipe – Enjoy with delicious cherupayar curry.

     3)    For this recipe, I have used a simple method to sieve the paste in order to save time and work. Gourmets and people with plenty of time at hand can try the traditional method wherein a muslin cloth is used to sieve the plain ragi paste to make a more beautiful, more transparent, fibreless nanchana dudali. The grated coconut is ground to paste separately and the milk, extracted. The jaggery is not crushed, but melted in a pan over low heat and sieved. So too, the cardamom pods are crushed to powder and added to the dudali just a few minutes before switching off the heat. 

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