Ragi malt is a nutritious drink that you can enjoy on a hot summer day. Prepared with ragi powder (finger millet) and buttermilk (chaas), this cooling Indian beverage comes together in just 15 minutes. Make it savory or sweet.
What is Ragi?
Ragi, also known as finger millet or red millet in English is a highly nutritious grain grown as a cereal crop in dry regions of Africa and Asia.
It is also known as Ragi (in Kannada, Telugu, and Hindi), Kodra (Himachal Pradesh), Mandia (Oriya), Taidalu (in Telangana region), Ariyam in Tamil, etc. Ragi is high in calcium, iron, and vitamins and is considerably cheaper than other grains.
About This Recipe
Ragi Malt, also known as ragi ambli, is a traditional drink from the state of Karnataka and is prepared with the humble combination of ragi powder and buttermilk (chaas). This refreshing drink can be made sweet or savory and is best enjoyed chilled on the side with your lunch or as a snack in between the meals.
Ragi is cooked in water and then mixed with other simple ingredients such as plain buttermilk, salt, roasted cumin powder, asafetida, curry leaves, cilantro, and onions. It is easy, healthy, and considered great for digestion.
Though it has many health benefits and considered to be a superfood, people with kidney stones should avoid it.
To prepare this Karnataka style ragi buttermilk, you will need ragi flour (finger millet), buttermilk (chaas), salt, roasted cumin powder, asafetida (hing), curry leaves, onion, and cilantro (coriander).
If making it sweet, you can use sugar or jaggery.
Ragi flour does have a bland taste, but it tastes really delicious when mixed with other ingredients and also provides the malt a grainy texture. You can easily find this flour at any Indian grocery store or online.
Buttermilk is a cooling ingredient that is added to the cooked ragi mixture, to thin down the consistency. You can either prepare buttermilk at home by mixing some plain yogurt with water.
If you are looking for a gluten-free option, avoid adding asafetida. Use fresh and green curry leaves and cilantro for the refreshing taste.
How To Make Ragi Malt
Add 2 and ½ cups of water to a pot and heat it on high heat until it comes to a rolling bowl.
Meanwhile, mix 4 tablespoon ragi flour in the remaining ½ cup of water using a small wire whisk. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
Once the water comes to a rolling boil, slowly add the ragi mixture to the boiling water.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously to avoid the formation of lumps. Remove the pot from heat and let this mixture cool completely.
Add the cooled ragi mixture to 5 cups of buttermilk and whisk nicely until smooth. Add salt to taste, ¼ teaspoon roasted cumin powder, ¼ teaspoon asafoetida, 10-12 curry leaves, and 2 tablespoon chopped onion, and mix well.
Chill for a few hours. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve chilled.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make a sweet version of malt, do not add salt and buttermilk to the cooked ragi. Add milk and grated or liquid jaggery instead and cook until jaggery melts. You can cook the ragi in water for both versions together. After the ragi is cooked, use half to make sweet kanji and the other half to make salted kanji.
To prepare ragi flour at home, sprout the ragi grains and let them dry. Once dried fully, grind to make a smooth powder.
For the babies, it is prepared a little differently. Cook the ragi in water and add a little milk to adjust the consistency. Do not add sugar or salt when feeding the babies. You can add powdered almonds for babies above 1 year.
Health Benefits of Ragi
Ragi is one of the superfoods, that has a lot of health benefits. And thus including it in your everyday meals is considered to be really good for the body.
- First of all, it is gluten-free. So if you are following a gluten-free diet include it in your meals.
- Due to its high calcium content, it is said to be really great for bones. It helps women to combat osteoporosis and keeps the bones strong.
- Ragi has a high fiber and protein content, which is great if you are on a weight loss diet. It will keep you filled for longer.
- Ragi is also rich in Iron, so it helps to keep anemia at bay.
- It is considered to be great for diabetic people, as it helps in controlling blood sugar levels.
- Ragi also has anti-microbial properties and reduces bad cholesterol.
- Due to the cooling properties of Ragi, this drink is highly recommended in the summer months when the mercury soars high and the body needs some external help to cool it down.
- This drink can also be given to your babies and kids. You can start giving it at the age of 6 months.
I will suggest you make it fresh, as it hardly takes 15 minutes. You can prepare the buttermilk and store it in the fridge so that it comes in handy. In case you have leftovers, store them in the fridge in a covered glass jar and consume them within a day. Mix it well before consuming.
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Ragi Malt Recipe
- 4 tablespoons ragi flour (finger millet)
- 3 cups water (divided)
- 5 cups plain buttermilk (I make my own by mixing 1 and ½ cup yogurt in 3 cups of water)
- salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon asafetida
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
- Add 2 and ½ cups of water to a pot and heat it on high heat until it comes to a rolling bowl.
- Meanwhile, mix 4 tablespoon ragi flour in the remaining ½ cup of water using a small wire whisk. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
- Once the water comes to a rolling boil, slowly add the ragi mixture to the boiling water.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously to avoid the formation of lumps. Remove the pot from heat and let this mixture cool completely.
- Add the cooled ragi mixture to 5 cups of buttermilk and whisk nicely until smooth. Add salt to taste, ¼ teaspoon roasted cumin powder, ¼ teaspoon asafoetida, 10-12 curry leaves, and 2 tablespoon chopped onion, and mix well.
- Chill for a few hours. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve chilled.