PEARL MILLTE (Bajra)
Finger millet (Eleusine coracana, Amharic”Dagusa”), also known as African millet or Ragiin Kannada), is an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. Finger millet is originally native to the Ethiopian Highlands and was introduced into India approximately 4000 years ago. It is very adaptable to higher elevations and is grown in the Himalaya up to 2,300 metres in elevation.
Finger millet is often intercropped with legumes such as peanuts (Arachis hypogea), cowpeas (Vigna sinensis), and pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan), or other plants such as Niger seeds (Guizotia abyssinica).
Although statistics on individual millet species are confused, and are sometimes combined with sorghum, it is estimated that finger millet is grown on approximately 38,000 km2.
Once harvested, the seeds keep extremely well and are seldom attacked by insects or moulds. The long storage capacity makes finger millet an important crop in risk-avoidance strategies for poorer farming communities.
Finger millet is especially valuable as it contains the amino acid methionine, which is lacking in the diets of hundreds of millions of the poor who live on starchy staples such as cassava, plantain, polished rice, or maize meal. Finger millet can be ground and cooked into cakes, puddings or porridge. The grain is made into a fermented drink (or beer) in Nepal and in many parts of Africa. The straw from finger millet is used as animal fodder. It is also used for as a flavoured drink in festivals
Nutritive value of Ragi per 100 g
Protein 7.3 g
Fat 1.3 g
Carbohydrate 72 g
Minerals 2.7 g
Calcium 3.44 g
Fibre 3.6 g
Energy 328 kCal
In India, finger millet (locally called ragi) is mostly grown and consumed in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu Maharashtra and Goa. Ragi flour is made into flatbreads, including thick, leavened dosa and thinner, unleavened roti. Ragi grain is malted and the grains are ground. This ground flour is consumed mixed with milk, boiled water or yoghurt.
In Andhra Pradesh Ragi Sankati (Telugu), which are ragi balls are eaten in the morning with a chilli, onions, sambar (lentil based stew)or meat curry and helps them sustain throughout the whole day.
In Karnataka, ragi flour is generally consumed in the form of ragi balls (ragi mudde in Kannada). The mudde which is prepared by cooking the Ragi flour with water to achieve a dough like consistency. Which is then rolled into ‘balls’ of desired size and consumed. Ghee with Huli, Saaru, sambar or another chicken curry is generally served along with these balls.
Finger millet in its commonly consumed form as a porridge
In Maharashtra, bhakri (in Marathi; also called bhakri in Northern Karnataka), a type of flat bread is prepared using finger millet (ragi) flour. Bhakri is called as (ragi rotti in Kannada) in Karnataka. In Goa ragi is very popular and satva, pole (dosa), bhakri, ambil (a sour porridge) are very common preparations.
In Nepal, a thick dough made of millet flour (s cooked and eaten with the hand. Fermented millet is used to make a beer and the mash is distilled to make a liquor.
In the northwest of Vietnam, finger millet is used as a medicine for women when they give birth. A minority used finger millet flour to make alcohol (bacha alcohol is a good drink of the H’mong minority).
In southern parts of India, pediatricians recommend finger-millet-based food for infants of six months and above because of its high nutritional content, especially Iron and calcium. Home made Ragi malt happens to be one of the most popular infant food even to this day. In Tamil Nadu, ragi is considered to be the holy food of Amman, otherwise knowns as “Goddess Kali”. Every small or large festival of this goddess is celebrated with, women making porridge in the temples and distributing it to the poor and needy.
In india, Ragi recipes are hundreds in number and even common food stuffs such as dosa, idly and laddu are can be made out of ragi.
In Sri lanka, Ragi is called Kurakkan and is made into:
Kurakkan roti: A earthy brown thick roti with coconut
Thallapa: A thick dough made of ragi by boiling it with water and some salt until like a dough ball, it is then eaten with a very spicy meat cury and is usually swallowed in small balss than chewing.
Pittu: Ragi, coconut and water made into a dough then steamed in cylindrical steamers.
A traditional food plant in Africa, millet has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.
Common Names For Finger Millet
- Arabic: Tailabon
- Chinese: (Traditional), (Simplified), (pinyin)
- Danish: Fingerhirse
- English: Finger millet, African millet, ragi, koracan
- Ethiopia: Dagussa (Amharic/Sodo), tokuso (amharic), barankiya (Oromo)
- French: eleusine cultivee, coracan, koracan
- German: Fingerhirse
- Ragi (Kannada)
- Ragi (Telugu)
- Ragi in Hindi
- Mandia (Oriya)
- Taidalu (in the Telangana region)
- Kezhvaragu), kay.pai , Aariyam (Tamil)
- Panjapul (or kooravu (Malayalam)
- Mandua (in some parts of north India)
- Nachani / Ragee (Marathi)
- Bajri (Gujarati) – Bajri is regular round millet and not finger millet. Finger Millet is known as Nachni in Gujarati too.
- Madua (Bihar, especially in Mithila region)
- Nasne/Nachne (Konkani)
- Japan: Shikokubie
- Kenya: Wimbi (Swahili), Kal (Dholuo), Ugimbi (Kikuyu and Meru)
- Korea: (Susu)
- Nepal: Kodo
- Nigeria: Tamba (Hausa)
- Sri Lanka: (Kurakkan)
- Sudan: Tailabon (Arabic), ceyut (Bari)
- Tanzania: (Swahili) Mbege, mwimbi, Wimbi, ulezi,
- Uganda: Bulo
- Vietnam: Hong mi, Chi ke
- Zambia: Kambale, lupoko, mawele, majolothi, amale, bule
- Zimbabwe: Rapoko, zviyo, njera, rukweza, mazhovole, uphoko, poho