Ragi Idli (Steamed Finger Millet Cakes)

Although I don't believe in the past life and rebirth theories, if I ever had one, I probably was a farmer somewhere in North Karnataka :) How else can you explain my love for cereals especially the Finger Millet? Ragi as it's widely called across India, this humble millet is known as Nachni in Maharashtra and Nathno in Konkani. It is probably one of the earliest foods that most of us have had as babies are often weaned with the first semi solid food being the Ragi porridge.

Did you know that Finger Millet is originally native to the Ethiopian Highlands and was introduced to India 4000 years back? There are numerous health benefits of Ragi. Besides being a good source of protein it aids bone development and weight loss just to name a few benefits. While the most popular way of eating the Ragi is either in the form of porridge or steamed balls called as Ragi Mudde in Karnataka, some people eat it in the form of rottis (dry flat bread) or even steamed and eaten in the form of Puttu (famous in Kerala). Try the Ragi Dosa & Carrot Garlic Chutney for a complete power packed breakfast. The Ragi Idli is a lovely variation to the regular rice idli. You can skip the rice if you wish in the below recipe, but it tastes very nice with the rice in it.

Ragi Idli
(Printable Recipe)
Yield: 14-15 Idlis


1. Soak udad dal, rice and fenugreek seeds separately for at least 2 hours. Soak the ragi flour for 10minutes before mixing the batter.
2. Grind the udad dal first until it turns fluffly. Grind the rice and methi seeds to an almost fine consistency - leave it a bit grainy (rawa consistency). In a deep pan mix the ground batters along with the soaked ragi flour adding a little water to arrive at a idli batter kind of consistency - should not be too runny nor too thick like cake batter
3. Leave it overnight for fermentation. Cover the mouth of the pan with a muslin cloth.
4. Place sufficient water in a cooker & bring it to a boil. Grease idli moulds with a little oil & pour batter into each mould. Place the mould into the cooker, cover the lid and steam without adding the weight (whistle) to the cooker for about 15-18 minutes. Alternatively if you own a Mangalorean style Tondor (steamer) and classic Sanna moulds (Ginduls) the same process can be followed.
5. Remove the moulds after 20minutes and allow them to cool a bit before gently turning them over to remove the idlis out.
6. Serve hot with Sambar or coconut chutney (recipes to follow)

Adapted from: Mahanandi and Aayis Recipes

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