Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ragi Mudde

On a discussion on a post on her blog, I saw that Shyam thought that Ragi mudde had to be swallowed. I don't blame her, I used to think so too.

Ok, wait, wait.... what is Ragi mudde? If you were around when our H.D.Deve Gowda was the PM, you wouldn't ask me this question. He is the one who made Ragi Mudde so famous.

(Joke doing the rounds at that time -
Q. Aaj Pradhan Mantri kis mudde par baat karenge?
A. Ragi mudde par. )

Anyway, let me tell you what Ragi Mudde (pronouced Moo-they) is. Ragi is Finger Millet , and Mudde means Lump in Kannada, so essentially, Ragi Mudde means Ragi Balls.

Traditionally, it has been the staple diet of the working class in Karnataka (at least). My mother tells me that when she was young, it was considered below your dignity if you admitted to making Ragi Mudde at home. Rice was the food of the upper class of society.

But now, with nutrition taking a front seat, Ragi has got its due. It is back in fashion. I think some of the thanks should go to Deve Gowda too.
I have seen more roadside restaurants serve Ragi mudde, than they did before.

Ragi Mudde is made by adding ragi flour to hot water, and stirring continuously such that no lumps are formed. The resulting thick matter is shaped into spheres, and served with a side dish.

Ragi also forms the first food of many babies in Karnataka. Ragi is sprouted, dried, ground, and then sieved with a very fine cloth. It is then made into a kind of porridge, adding the flour to boiling water or milk, and stirring continuously until cooked. Ragi malt is also made similarly. It makes a delicious drink when mixed with milk.

Another common Ragi food we ate as kids was Ragi Aralahittu/Hurihittu. Whole ragi is roasted on a hot surface, such that the grains pop, like popcorn, and these popped grains are ground and it is simply mixed with hot or cold milk and consumed. It was a typical evening snack for us, after we got back from school. I haven't had it in years and years, though.

Ragi Rotti is another tasty dish, a cousin of the more popular Akki Rotti(Made with rice flour). Ragi floor is mixed with water, and salt, spices and vegetables are added. The resulting batter is pressed into a roti, and roasted on a tava. Dosas also are made out of Ragi, with other ingredients. Ragi is also finding its way into fried snacks and bakery items, as in Ragi chakli, Ragi Biscuits, in the attempt to cash in on the health trend.

In fact, I myself add a handful of ragi flour to the wheat flour when making Chapatis. The chapatis turn out slightly crisper/harder, but the taste and health benefits make up for that.

Back to ragi mudde. When I was a child, my mom probably told me that ragi was the prefered food of the working class because it was nutritious, filling, blah, blah, and it could be consumed very quickly as it could be swallowed, and did not need chewing. Now I took this very seriously, and my flea-sized brain thought that ragi should NOT be chewed.

I would make each morsel as small as possible, put it far behind on my tongue like I was swallowing a pill, and then I would summon as much saliva as possible to lubricate the back of my throat, and swallow painfully, with some of the ragi sticking in my throat. I plain hated it, and declared war on it.

After many efforts to make me eat ragi, my mom decided to get to the bottom of the issue.

Mom: Why don't you like Ragi Mudde, Shruthi?
Me: I hate swallowing it!
Mom: Who asked you to swallow it?
Me: You did!
Mom: Shruthi, I said it COULD be swallowed, not SHOULD be swallowed!
Me: Then can I chew it?
Mom: Ayyo, please do!

Since then, I have been chewing ragi mudde and I really like it. Especially when eaten with Gojju (A vegetable dish made with tamarind and jaggery). Actually, it tastes pretty good with almost everything - huLi, saru, curds.

But there is a way to eat it.

Place the steaming Ragi mudde on your plate.
Make a hole on top, with your finger. Quickly, else your finger will burn!
Put a dollop of ghee into the hole.
Watch the ghee melt from the heat of the mudde.
Now, mix the ragi and ghee quickly.
Eat with side dish.

And try not to think of Deve Gowda while you are at it.


Altoid said...

Hehehe, yes the last line of advice is very valid.

Personally ragi rotti is my favorite, not much of a mudde person. It feels rustic and earthy eating this grain and its nutritional value is understated most times.

Mahalingesh said...

Wow! I didn't know small Ragi Ball gets the tittle like this...

Good writting with tinge of humour, politician...
Small doubt Ragi Mudde is making Devegouda popular or Devegouda is making Ragi Mudde popular :)

Hmm, I have been told, when I was little child i used eat only ragi mudde... I dont remember that now... Still I like Ragi Dosa!

Anonymous said...

Everytime raggi mudde was made, people around me would make fun of me telling that I did not know how to eat it properly as often I chewed it rather than swallowing it. My favorite has been the huri ittu and ragi rotti with ghee. I loved it.

Nice post...:)

Anonymous said...

WOW! Nice post! I love eating ragi mudde with chicken saaru ;-)) yuuummmooo!

Anonymous said...

My Dad used to say that ragi rotis are good for health. But till date I dont think I have tasted anything made out of ragi....well may be ragi malt once instead of horlicks.. but does tht count?

Anonymous said...

Aaargh, Shruthi! you've showcased my ignorance and made it known to all!!! (It's different when I do it on my blog - there arent many readers. ;) But now ALLLLLL the people who visit your blog know I'm a doofus!)

Oh well, I guess my revenge will be in taking you up on your offer of lunch where ragi mudde will be the star of the show :) Some day...

Anonymous said...

Oh, you made me hungry now! :-)

One thing I'm puzzled about - my attya always made ragi mudde a little watery, like a paste. That is the only way I know and love mudde. Must try your way sometime though.

Now let me go and hunt for its recipe and rush to the Indian store to buy some ragi!

And Shruthi, wanted to tell you this for a long time now, I know you've consciously decided to stay away from comments/replies to comments - but for what its worth, I miss your comments very much. :-)

Sumana said...

I still swallow it shruthi. Nice post reminds that i ask my mom to make one this weekend.

Wunderyearz said...

Never tasted Ragi have made my mouth to taste it soon.

Poppins said...

LOL what an awesome piece, this should be published ! We don't make ragi mudde at home, but my dauther's first food was Ragi and I'm very fond of Ragi roti.

Actually just after my daughter was weaned off porridges, my mom took all the leftover mix (ragi, soya etc) and made a roti out of it. It was simply the most delicious food I've ever eaten.

I also always thought the Ragi had to be swallowed, because on it's own Ragi Mudde is bland no?

Anusha said...

thanks for the encyclopedia entry on ragi mudde :)
I have never tasted it-can't bring myself to taste it! because it sounds so sticky, chewey and bland (is it?) even with things like gojju, does it actually absorb all the spices?

but I should try ragi rotti and ragi upma, maybe - for the nutritive value. someday.

Viky said...

How can you chew ragi mudde? :O It sticks everywhere in your mouth cavity, not to mention tooth cavities. It goes below your tongue, and when you try to remove it, you run the risk of knotting your tongue into an 8. It sticks between your teeth to the point that you want to brush your teeth later.

It is best swallowed, and because I can't bear to swallow non-liquids without mastication ... (ok, this doesn't sound good) ... without chewing, I hate it.

Whenever I see people pull a small portion, roll it in saru/huLi, and pop it in, I am amused. It is so close to storing cannon balls after rolling them in gunpowder. :D

But I love ragi rotti. More than the akki ones. And yes, when ragi rotti is made, the flour is mixed, and not the floor.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon your post while scouring the net to add Ragi Mudde recipie links to my post.

Your Gowda joke was hilarious.

Added a link to this post in mine..

praneshachar said...

Ragi Mudde is staple food of southern karnataka and jola (jAwar)jolada rotti is for northern karnataka.
DG yake neneskotira ragi mudde enjoy madi the way you have put the last para any body will love to do that.
I agree any side dish will go well with mudde be it be majjige huli, huli, saru, soppina saru(hulipallya)
gojju uppinakai etc. etc.,
hot mudde with ghee and any one of the above is simply superb.
joladarotti is also a simple roti no oil or anything will go well with various types of chantni pudis. chatnis, pallyaas (specially yennigai) for for poor people it is with some pickles and onion and chilli green.
hot rotis are good, cold rotis are good, kadak rotis are good all jolada rottis are simply superb


Anil Jagalur said...

Tongue Firmly in cheek. . .

There is only one civilised way to consume (eat is synonymous with chew) raagi mudde. Swallow it. Many Indian companies organise programmes to teach employees western table etiquette, especially before going abroad - westwards. Use of chopsticks is taught to people going to the land of the rising son oops rising sun. (India is the land of the rising son as shown by the sons of politicians, filmstars and sportsmen being on the rise. Often, they are not well raised is another matter). I am looking forward to the day phoreners visiting Karnataka are taught how to eat raagi mudde as it should be.

Jai Hind! Jai Karnataka!!

Harsha said...

AFIAK, there are 2 flavours/types

1. Muddey which is made out of just Ragi flour
2. muddey made out of mixture of Ragi flour and little rice
(nucchu akki)

Also the finishing:

1. Very soft muddey
2. Semi soft (little bit rigid) muddey

Usually the "farmers and co" will have Semi soft muddey, the reason is that:

It is already known that muddey should be swallowed. and the rigid one takes more
time to digest. so usually the rigid ones are prefered in this case.

More over it is a good excercise to stomach.
Eating food which is very easily digestable make digestion system very lazy.

The concept is to keep the digestive system active antha.

Harsha said...

Forgot to add this..

There are more creative ways to have it also, few of 'em I know:

1. If the sambar have more liquid content, the muddey is moulded in the form of a mini tank and sambar is poured inside this mini tank.

2. The most delicious and super combination is:

muddey + curds (sqeezed mixture)

i know it sounds distasteful, trust me it is very tasty to eat.

3. Muddey lolly pop, hot little lumps of muddey is made to stick to a "perkey kaddi" broomstick <= kids would love to have it in this style :P

Unknown said...

Its gotta be swallowed!

Swati said...

Loved your conversation with your mom innocent :)

Anonymous said...

I love ragi mudde and ragi rotti, though I didn't like it during childhood. I'd made ragi mudde only once and completely on my own. It's a hell of a job, avoiding the formation of lumps. But hardwork payed and I devoured yummy mudde.
Loved this post. Made me crave for mudde.

Anonymous said...

Initially I too had the difficulty of swallowing but once I got the knack, I liked swallowing (lazy me!) than chewing.
Also hurihittu is now available in stores in Mtr-type packets.

Sushma said...

First time commenting here.. i've been so craving/missing home food that i googled it for solace and landed on your blog.. and can't be more happier to join in the ragi mudde conversation :). Swallowing it is for me. but i can totaly relate to a preference for chewing for some amongst us. I say whatever rocks your boat as long as you get to relish it without requiring a heimlich manouevre.

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