Meet Eleusine Coracana - a crop that goes by many names. Maybe you know it as finger millet, or depending on where in the country you are, you may be more familiar with the monikers of ragi, or mandia (in Orissa), taidalu (in Telengana), Kodra (in Himachal Pradesh), Nagli (in Gujarat), Marwa (in West Bengal), or Soulfull (in your pantry)! We’re on a mission to integrate ragi products into your everyday diet in a simple, healthy and delicious way. So what’s the story behind our favourite superfood? Let’s go back in time and trace how we got here…
A grain pretty enough to set as your phone wallpaper
Ragi has quite the history.
It was born in Uganda in East Africa, where it was primarily grown in hilly areas. As per the historian K.T. Achaya, it made its way over the oceans to India around 1800 BC. The history books speak quite eloquently about this wondergrain, chosen for honouring poets through ragi, milk and honey concoctions. And why not? Quite befitting for a grain with such a beautiful rich reddish-black hue, pink when ground and purple when cooked, with earthy almost chocolatey undertones. Not to mention its many nutritional benefits. One must ask… Why did it then fade away as a staple grain? Why is it not as popular as wheat or rice? The reasons are complex, involving history, diet, culture and more, but could boil down to two main issues.
Why did ragi take a back seat?
1. A combination of western influence on diet and government policies impacted the growth of ragi. People wanted grain that could be used to cook bread, which ragi isn’t suited for because of its low elastic gluten properties. It was also a bit harder to cook and had a particular nutty taste, so people chose rice which was simpler and more neutral. It remained as a small scale crop grown by individual farmers, while large agro corporations chose to cultivate rice and wheat.
Observe the finger-millet plant, like fingers on a hand reaching out for a high-five.
We are delighted to say… that time is now. Ragi is back, baby! People are freshly recognising the multiple benefits of ragi for nutrition, for taste, and for utility. And whether used in age-old ways by different communities across the country or more contemporary recipes and cuisines - ragi looks like it’s here to stay. Let’s look at a few ways in which it is eaten.
Traditional ragi recipes:
Those are gorgeous, admit it.
A dose of dosa for any meal of the day, that’s our kinda day.
Millet Muesli - putting the MM in YUMM.
Psst - this might just be our favourite product.
Get your ragi on at https://www.soulfull.co.in/.