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Thursday, April 21, 2016

A - Z Andhra Recipes ~ R for Ragi Sangati / Ragi Muddha

From palatial kitchens, we move towards the humble abodes of the working class for today's 'R' recipe. My choice of ingredient is ragi and the dish is 'Ragi Sangati' / 'Ragi Muddha' which is truly rustic and unpretentious. The word 'sangati' is also colloquially called 'sankati' though the correct written form would be 'sangati'.

Anhra pradesh is one of the Indian states (along with it's neighbors) where ragi is widely grown and consumed. Ragi is eaten in Rayalaseema area more compared to the coastal regions where it is not that popular. May be because of the abundance of  rice yield in the coastal areas which gives the state it's status of being the 'Rice bowl of India'. The other misconceived notion being that ragi is a poor man's crop though slowly it's regaining the popular status it deserves. If someones gives a bag of ragi to any one of my aunts who all are from the coastal areas, they wouldn't probably know what to do with it. My guess is mainly because brahmin households prefer rice over any grain and especially this sangati doesn't fall under their radar. 
I grew up in Bangalore area where ragi is cherished. There, a 'ragi muddhe', the ball of cooked mixture of finger millet flour is as mandatory as rice in the other southern states or rotis in northern parts of India. It is always served at the lunch and dinner tables, irrespective of economic class and especially in non-brahmin homes. I personally know many adult males who feel like they are deprived of a meal when a muddhe is not served. A muddhe served with bassaru / soppina saaru and they are set. Boards outside small eateries / restaurants announcing that 'a ragi muddhe lunch' served is norm in the state. I know I hopped over to the neighboring state while talking about Andhra but couldn't stop myself from pointing out Kannadigas love for ragi.
While Karnataka's ragi muddhe is prepared with the finger millet flour alone, Rayalaseema's version of sangati is a cooked mixture of rice and finger millet flour. Sangati is not something you fall in love with when you eat it for the first time. It is an acquired taste and honestly there is nothing special to write about. One dips a morsel of it in a spicy side dish which is usually a gravy kind and swallows it. If you try to chew and slowly savor it like any other foods, it gets stuck to the palate as it is gummy. On the sunny side, ragi is valuable as it is nutritious, healthy being rich in iron and calcium and keeps you fuller for long time. It is diabetic friendly and cheaper compared to the other grains like rice and wheat. Whereas it is another story in U.S. where ragi flour is expensive as it has to come from India. And if you haven't tried ragi before, there are more appealing dishes to try from here.

I am fond of ragi and eat in many forms but to be honest, not in the form of sangati. Why? It is because my mother never cooked it and I didn't grow up eating it. Her simple logic was no one in our families ever made ragi sangati and she finds it unappetizing, one of the common complaints among the non eaters. My sister however as a toddler picked up the habit of eating it, from the sneaky neighbors who fed her without my mother's knowledge. My paternal aunt who lived in the Rayalaseema area had learnt how to prepare it and during her visits, she would prepare some for my sister and father. My mother and I wouldn't touch the stuff then but now I can eat it in small quantities as I happen to prepare it now at least once or twice a month for my husband who loves it. I have been making it for years now that I have mastered the recipe at least while preparing in small quantities.
As I mentioned above, ragi sangati is prepared in Rayalaseema areas and it seems that my mother in law would prepare it occasionally on a weekend for the whole family, which by the way was a huge one. My husband has fond memories attached to rainy days when his mother would serve hot sangati along with some onion-eggplant sambhar. My grandmothers who had been her contemporaries would of course have been clueless if presented with ragi flour, I bet. I know I am digressing again but couldn't help thinking about them. And onto the topic again, a gravy kind side dish would be best suited to serve along with sangati, in my opinion. It makes eating sangati more easier. I follow my MIL here and usually make eggplant sambhar to go with sangati.

This is the traditional way of cooking sangati but if in a hurry, cooked rice can be used to save time but the water quantity has to be reduced accordingly. I have posted another version here which is rice free and a lot quicker one. The following proportions yield three small sized balls pictured above. It makes one full meal for an adult or two mini meals.

Ingredients: (2 big or 3 small sized balls)
3 & 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup rice (I use sona masuri.)
1/2 cup ragi flour / finger millet flour
Salt to taste
1 tsp. ghee or oil (optional)

* Rinse and soak rice in water for about 15 minutes and drain.
* Heat water in a pan and then add rice, salt and ghee / oil. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low flame until rice is done (or appears soft). 
I prefer a non stick pan for mess-free preparation.
 * At this stage, dump the ragi flour onto the cooked rice and again cover the pan. Do not stir or mix the flour at this point.
* Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes. Then remove the lid and stir the ragi flour well with a wooden spoon, so that there are no lumps and the flour gets incorporated well into the rice mixture.
 (I prepare a small quantity of ragi sangati and usually a wooden spoon works fine for me. When prepared in large quantities, usually a wooden stick specially meant for the purpose is used.)
* Cover again and cook for about 20 minutes.
* Wet your hand with cold water and make balls. Drizzle with ghee and serve the ragi balls immediately with sambar or any of the side dishes preferred.

And 'R' ingredients in the Andhra kitchen.
Raati puvvu - Stone flower / dagad phool
Ragi - Finger Millet
Ragi pindi - Finger Millet flour
Rava - Semolina
Regi pandu - Jujube / Chana ber 

So far on my 'A - Z' Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits 
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
I for Idli Karam Podi
J for Janthikalu
K for Kobbari Koora

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.
An InLinkz Link-up



Usha said...

Bowl of ragi sankati with sambar is mouthwatering..

Srivalli said...

Beautifully done and presented Suma...Ragi Sangati is so common in our home that its done atleast twice or thrice a week for my husband's breafast..we also make it for lunch as well...I mostly use the pressure cooker, non stick pan idea never struck to me, thanks..will try it in that next time..:)

Priya Suresh said...

Your ragi sankati makes me hungry, highly irresistible.. Fantastic dish.

Srividhya said...

I am yet to try this mudde. Love it with sambhar and gojju. Very nice.

Amara’s cooking said...

Classic from Rayalaseema, never cooked myself. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe:)

Gayathri Kumar said...

We call this kali and prepare it without rice. Even I used to hate it but now I can eat a little without any complaints. But I don't prepare it as there are no takers here..

Harini R said...

Looks very hearty and tempting. My mom never made ragi sangati and I probably never tasted as well. But my aunt makes this and has been after me to try it out.

Pavani said...

That is one hearty and comforting dish. My mom never made this, so I learnt about it only after I started blogging. I make it for myself once in a while while my husband's travelling :-)

Smruti Ashar said...

Such an interesting recipe!! I have never made it, should try it soon :)

Kalyani said...

loved reading about the ragi muddhe / sankati variation with rice. my kids wont touch it as is my husband coming from the chennai style of cooking; but mom and me enjoy this once in a fortnight with soppina saaru (or if we are lucky in season with Avarekaalu saaru)..

cookingwithsapana said...

Ragi dumplings in the sambhar looks so tasty and comforting.