Tuesday, 9 August 2016




          Ragi (elensine coracance) which is called nanchano in Konkani, muthari or koovarake in Malayalam and finger millet in English has been cultivated for centuries in India. Rich in calcium, iron, b.complex vitamins, protein and fibre, it is easily digested and used as infant food supplement in Kerala and as a staple food in Karnataka.

          All over India, ragi is used to prepare chappatis, gruel, idlis, putte, dosas, bread, laddus, payasam, ragi nursé, dudali, bakri and soup. Ragi helps to keep the body cool and prevents constipation. The organic calcium and iron in ragi is great for bone development in babies. It helps fight osteoporosis in the elderly and promotes all round health.

With so many health benefits, wouldn’t you just love to enjoy ragi in most palatable, superbly delicious ways? Today, let us cook nanchana bakri, a traditional Konkani recipe.

Ingredients (to make 12 bakris):

     1)    Ragi powder – 500 gm.
     2)    Grated coconut – 150 gm.
     3)    Mysore poovan (palayankodan in Malayalam and poovan in Tamil) bananas or any other small, yellow-skinned bananas – 250 gm.
     4)    Seedless dates – 250 gm.
     5)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 250 gm.
     6)    Cardamom – 5 pods
     7)    Salt – 3 gm. (½ teaspoon)
     8)    Water – 50 ml.
     9)    Banana leaf pieces of around 8” x 8” (20 cm x 20 cm) – 24 Nos.

To cook:

          Peel the bananas and chop roughly to pieces. Collect the seeds from the cardamom pods, discarding the skin. Set a pan or vessel on low heat. Put in the jaggery together with 50 ml. of water. Stir occasionally till the jaggery melts completely. Sieve and set aside to cool.

          Put the grated coconut, the dates, the banana pieces, the cardamom seeds, the salt and the melted jaggery into your food processor and grind to paste. The paste does not need to be too smooth so that you can get little bits of dates as you bite into the bakri.

Transfer the paste to a bowl, tip in the ragi powder and knead nicely. Use all the dough to make 12 tennis ball sized ragi balls.


Put a banana leaf piece on the kitchen table. Set a ragi ball in the center and cover it with another leaf. Press down a bit with your palm to flatten the ball. Now roll a rolling pin over the upper leaf, turning the leaf clockwise a bit each time so as to flatten the bakri evenly to around 3 mm. (⅛ inch to ⅙ inch) thickness. Set aside the ragi-leaf sandwich. Finish the rest of the ragi balls likewise.

Set a flat pan (or two) on high heat. Cover with a cloche and lower the heat. Let the bakri cook slowly. 5 minutes later, carefully flip over the bakri together with the leaves and cover again with the cloche. Wait for 5 minutes and take off the cloche. Gently peel off the upper leaf. If well cooked, the leaf will come off easily. Flip over and remove the second leaf. Roast each side for just a minute or two till both sides turn a light brown in colour. Take care not to let it burn or blacken.

Your delicious nanchana bakri is now ready to eat. Serve hot with a dollop of fresh butter on top.



          Nanchana bakri keeps well for 3 days at room temperature and is an excellent snack to take along on picnics. Diabetics can enjoy the goodness of ragi through savoury nanchana bakris.

No comments:

Leave a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Follow us by Email and never miss a new recipe!