My 100th recipe 🙂 A long time ago, in 1973 to be exact, I developed a highly nutritious ragi (millet) cookie recipe when I attended a Summer Institute in foods and nutrition. It was a great success; unfortunately someone leaked the recipe to the bakers in Chennai from which ragi biscuits were developed and appeared in local bakeries (and are still popular today, though quite far removed from my original). I have revived my creation here and modified it for the 21st century (so this also does not resemble the original, but is much tastier and eggless).
Ragi is a South Indian millet (Eleusine coracana) rich in calcium and fibre, but it does not contain gluten. Therefore I had to add maida (refined wheat flour) to give it a cookie shape, and I arrived at the proportion of 1:1 after several standardization trials. For my next-gen version I have substituted skim milk in place of egg to lower cholesterol content. I have also added punch to the flavour by substituting half the sugar with jaggery powder and added cinnamon powder and ginger extract instead of vanilla.
Ragi contains a whopping load of calcium (344 mg per 100 g) and a large amount of fibre (3.6 mg per 100 g). The skim milk powder and maida provide a large amount of high quality protein and the carbohydrates from ragi, maida, and the sugars, and the fat from the butter, provide a huge amount of calories. These crunchies are high protein, high energy, and high calcium snacks and are great for pregnant women and growing children. Instead of buying store biscuits, which do not usually contain much calcium or protein, you can make these highly nutritious treats easily in your own home.
- 1 C Ragi Flour (Millet Flour)
- 1 C Maida (Refined Wheat Flour)
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Cinnamon Powder
- ½ C Butter + 1 tsp for greasing the baking sheets
- ½ C Jaggery (Molasses) Powder
- ½ C Sugar + 1 T for topping
- ¼ C Skim Milk Powder
- 3 T Ginger Extract/3T Ginger Powder
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 2 T Water (approximately)
- Preheat the oven to 190 °C (375 °F).
- Grease the baking sheets.
- Sift the ragi flour, maida, cinnamon powder, and baking soda together.
- Add the skim milk powder and stir well.
- Cream the butter in a large bowl.
- Add sugar and molasses. Cream for a few minutes.
- Add the ginger extract and salt. Blend well.
- Add the flour in small quantities while stirring.
- Take a small quantity of batter and roll into a ball with your fingers.
- Dip one end of the balls into the sugar.
- Place on a greased baking sheet with the sugar side up.
- Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or till the surface springs back when touched.
- Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
- Prepare ginger extract by grating the ginger and pulsing in a mixie or blender for 5 seconds at speed 1. Squeeze the ginger into a strainer. Repeat till you get 3 tablespoons of extract.
- If the batter is too dry and doesn’t hold shape, add more water and mix well, but take care not to add too much of water. If you do, you will not be able to shape the batter and dip it into the sugar. If it does become sticky, add more ragi flour.
- If you are using ginger powder, you may have to use extra water as it absorbs moisture and may make the batter dry.