A Perfect Breakfast or Anytime Biscuit
In August of 2006 I did two things for the first time. First, I made a trip to Karnataka, South India and fell in love with the place. Secondly, I tasted what would become one of my favorite grains of all time: Ragi, or finger millet.
Ragi is a red, gluten-free millet varietal that’s notably high in iron, calcium, fiber, protein, and the amino acid methionine. Every time I eat it I feel energized and completely satisfied. Indigenous to Ethiopia, ragi made it’s way to India over 3,000 years ago and has been a staple crop ever since. In fact, Karnataka is the world’s largest producer of finger millet.
Ragi is highly versatile and lends itself well to many dishes. It is often used to make scrumptious ragi rotis or dosai, which are two different types of savory pancakes. It can be served up as a simple porridge or mixed with milk and turned into a malt-like beverage for children. One of the most common preparations is something called ragi mudde in Karnataka’s native language Kannada, or ragi ball. To make ragi mudde, the millet flour is mixed with water until it forms a dough-like consistency. It’s then rolled into a tennis ball sized round and served up with sambar, or traditional South Indian vegetable stew.
Ragi can also be turned into scrumptious little biscuits, like these. I toyed around in my kitchen and came up with this simple, eggless recipe. These healthy, gluten-free cookies have a touch of sweetness and a bit of spice. Enjoy them anytime of day, even with breakfast.
You can find ragi flour at a specialty grocery store or online.
Nutritious & Delicious Ragi Bisquits
Yield: 8-10 biscuits
Time: Prep – 20 minutes, Baking – 10 minutes
- 1 cup Ragi Flour
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda or Powder
- 2 teaspoons Cocoa Powder
- Generous dash Cinnamon
- Generous dash Ground Ginger
- About 1/8 teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cardamom Pods or generous pinch of Ground Cardamom
- 3 tablespoons Ghee
- 3-4 tablespoons Maple Syrup (add more for sweeter biscuits)
- Optional: Almonds
- Preheat oven to 350ºFarenheit.
- If you’re using cardamom pods, crack open each pod and remove the shell. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the seeds into smaller pieces.
- Add the ragi flour and cardamom to a skillet and “dry roast” it over low to medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer flour mixture into a mixing bowl. Let cool.
- Next, add the baking soda, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and ginger to the ragi flour. Whisk to incorporate.
- Beat the ghee until soft in the bowl of a standard mixer or by hand using a fork. Add the maple syrup and mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the ghee and maple syrup. If you’re mixing by hand, you can do it the other way around, too. Blend well. The dough should feel supple and slightly moist. If it’s too dry, add a little more ghee or a teaspoon or two of water.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick Silpat baking mat. Spoon a 1″ sized bit of the batter into your palm and use your hands to roll it into a ball. Place on baking sheet, leaving at least 2” between each biscuit. Then, use your hand to flatten each ball into a disc. If you’d like, press an almond into the top of each.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
Recipe & Photos by Sophie Slater