Despite being such a fussy eater, Junior absolutely loves his daily dose of sprouted ragi porridge. It certainly makes my life easier, as ragi is one of those wonder grains that’s packed with all the key nutrients for growing babies and toddlers.
Also known as finger millet, ragi has traditionally been the first weaning food given to babies in South India as it is gluten-free and a powerhouse of iron and calcium, strengthening babies’ bones and teeth, not to mention boosting their overall health and development.
The best part? Ragi porridge is incredibly simple to make and can be sweetened naturally with a mashed banana (or dates/ jaggery if you’re making it for a toddler). I use sprouted ragi “atta” (flour) from Conscious Foods, as not only is it organic but also has an amplified nutritional content by virtue of the flour being sprouted. In fact. if you’re interested here are just a few of the incredible benefits of sprouted ragi for your little ones:
- Sprouting ragi magnifies the iron content by almost 10 times, as well as multiplying the content of other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins and levels of B12 in the ragi.
- By reducing levels of anti-nutrients, sprouted ragi makes it easier for all these increased nutrients to be available for easy absorption.
- Sprouting ragi effectively reduces some of the fat content too, aiding easier digestion for little tummies.
- The amino acid “tryptophan” in ragi has a relaxing effect (hello restful sleep!), while the nature of sprouted ragi will also keep baby full for a longer stretch.
- Sprouted ragi has less starch (and a lower glycemic index), while having proportionally higher levels of protein and fibre than non-sprouted ragi.
While some recipes typically cook ragi with milk (or later add formula milk), I’d suggest cooking ragi without milk or curd (and as per the recipe below), as milk can actually impede the absorption of iron in ragi. In fact, you can boost your baby’s absorption of iron even more, by substituting the banana for fruits such as apples or pears which are rich in Vitamin C!
Sprouted Ragi Porridge
- 2-3 tbsp sprouted ragi flour (I get mine from Conscious Foods; use the code “TFDxCF” at checkout for 10% off all their flours)*
- ¾ – 1 cup filter water **
- pinch of ghee (optional)
- 1 small or elaichi banana ***
* Start with 2 tbsp of sprouted ragi flour when introducing it to your baby for the first time. Over time, you can increase the quantity by 1 tbsp (depending on age and appetite of your baby).
** Adjust the water accordingly: when starting with 2 tbsp of sprouted ragi flour, add ¾ cup of water ; increase the water by up to 1 cup as you increase the sprouted ragi flour.
*** If you’re making this recipe for toddlers, you can sweeten the porridge with dates/ a little jaggery instead.
- Add the water and sprouted ragi powder to a saucepan. Cook on medium low heat, whisking well continuously to ensure that there are no lumps.
- You can add a pinch of ghee after a few minutes, once the colour of the porridge has shifted from pale to dark.
- Cook the porridge for 10 minutes (stirring continuously) until the porridge has thickened (make sure to remove from heat once the porridge is thick but not too thick).
- While the porridge cools down slightly, mash a banana and mix it into the porridge. Serve immediately!
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