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Ragi, jowar, bajra, etc.

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I have been looking for locally-grown ragi in Goa to take back with me to the United States. Unfortunately, most of the stock sold by the small farmers is so fresh that it needs to be dried in the sun for a few days if it is to last a while. Tired of playing hide-and-seek with the sun, and with my departure just a few days away, I might just end up buying something from the larger stores. Anyhow, I wanted to find out whether any formal body exists in India, which performs research and promotes the use of ragi. In the process, I stumbled upon this excellent article. I had never imagined so many varieties.

[url="http://www.deccanherald.com/content/jun172008/spectrum2008061673824.asp"]Seeds of hope[/url]

[quote]Among Somashekar's priced collection is Iyyana ragi, a variety which had vanished from the region and Somasekhar feels proud to have brought it back to the village. Then there is dodda ragi, local to Kollegal forest villages, which is sown on the edge of the field as the bitter taste of its straw keeps wild animals away.

Then there is majjige ragi and the mudde (ragi balls) prepared from this variety is mixed with buttermilk and consumed to maintain ideal body temperature. Idli and dosa prepared from this variety are also very delicious. Konakombina ragi, local to Chitradurga and Tumkur districts, has long ears in the shape of buffalo horns. This is a rare variety and rotis prepared from this variety are very tasty. Bili ragi is a summer crop and highly suited to tank irrigation. The ear heads are cream in colour and are very attractive. Kempu thene ragi has reddish brown ear heads during the flowering stage and the entire field looks as if it is on fire. The other varieties on the plot are kari ragi, unde ragi, nati ragi, gutte ragi, jenu bunduga, gutte kelagina ragi, sanna kaddi ragi, picchakaddi ragi, yadaga ragi, kolimote ragi, jeenu mude ragi, pattana ragi, karibunduga ragi and so on.[/quote]


Suresh, can we reproduce the entire article here, in addition to the link, so that it is not lost if the website is unavailable later for some reason?

Veena

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Veena,
That's a fascinating linked article and to think that I have passed through Mandya many times.
I'll take a look at this place the next time and try a give a detailed report. Maybe I can inveigle member Ravum to join me on this field trip. :wub:

I'm not comfortable about reproducing the entire article here as I have advised other members to refrain from doing so in the past. I have copied and archived the article for myself and suggest other interested members do so also. I cant think of another solution that may be an acceptable practice, what do you think?

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We just got a new cook at home , she is from Dharwad (north karnataka) and cooked jolada roti for us.

Here are some pics of it being made in the process.

The jola flour getting read to be made into dough

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Hot Water will be poured into the flour

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The jola dough in the process of being made.

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The flour being beaten by hand , this is the original way of making it , as some of you pointed out this is not followed much these days.

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On the Tawa :

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As seen above a moist cloth is used to remove the dry atta from the jolada roti. (This is essential so that the rotis remain soft for a longer time)

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excellent work chetan

this is very similar to the mahashtrian way of making it ...only they would sprinkle the top of the roti with water instead of wiping it with a damp cloth.

is this finally cooked on an open flame like a phulka?

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Added a video of the jolada roti being beaten by hand... in case some one 15 years down the line has forgotten how it was done. :rolleyes: .This sound reminds me of my gandmothers place , by mid afternoon or late evening this could be heard and we knew lunch / dinner is getting ready.Since we are on this topic how many of you think its a good idea to stat a topic of sounds and food....whn you hear something what food does it remind you of?

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[quote name='ravum' post='10836' date='Aug 24 2008, 09:44 PM']excellent work chetan

this is very similar to the mahashtrian way of making it ...only they would sprinkle the top of the roti with water instead of wiping it with a damp cloth.

is this finally cooked on an open flame like a phulka?[/quote]

Yes ravum , finally its cooked on an open flame.

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The audio in that video is [u]more[/u] than music for me! Sublime! :rolleyes:
Thanks Chetan.


[quote name='Chetan' post='10838' date='Aug 24 2008, 11:29 PM']Yes ravum , finally its cooked on an open flame.[/quote]

As far as I know, from where I come from, it's finished on the tava itself.

Though, I do remember the soft variety, wheat and jowar, done entirely on a open wood flame.

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Ravum & Veena,

Since both of you are interested in the "whys" of cooking, understanding the millets, the grain and the recondite process of milling that leads to a wide variation in the finished products will engage your interest. You might find The Handbook of Cereal Technology, 2nd edn, Karel Kulp & Joseph G. Ponte (eds.) Marcel Dekker, 2000, very very fascinating; pp.162-63 & Table 11 are concerned with sorghum. There are other very relevant chapters of pearl millet, bajra [Pennisetum] etc. that also bear close study, to say nothing of wheat, that will change the way you approach the way you look at various flours and cook with them.

This might encourage you to experiment with creating millet based whole-grain loafs. Not only are are these more nutritious, they are useful with respect to the affluence-induced hyperglycemic epidemic afflicting India. At the other end of the spectrum, the demand for white flour "pao roti" has been displacing traditional breads [as I have been observing in my own lifetime] in the diets of the rural agricultural worker and the urban low-wage worker who does hard physical labor.

Personally, I favor Indian flatbreads above all else, but for some reason. I found in my village, a strong reaction against these, because from 1964-68 we had been forced to consume US red sorghum and red wheat owing to grain shortage. That milo & wheat, under Publc Law 480, had been of animal feed quality. Anyway, people migrated away from the thick -red-heavy to the airy-pillowy-white with vengeace a soon as they had a chance beginning 1974-75.We just had emerged from an unbelievably brutal civil war, 1969-75, which still is being played out at Singur and Nandigram and elsewhere, but for a while there was the peace of the dead.

[A little tea shanty came up under a huge pipal tree, turned into a bus stop, started sellng bread, biscuits and tea. Da laborers, bathed ad hair combed, would gather in the evenings on the way home for a cup of tea plus biscuit, the latter putting quite a dent in their daily wage. But such wasthe power of tha biscuit to empower, to bring a sense of dignity, a sense o being metropolitan, being with-it as you sat and discussed weighty affairs [and in Bengal, they were guaranteed to BE weighty affairs, plangent with deep politics, lf, ethics, the Universe, et.al.] But the gravitas devolved upon THAT BISCUIT. A cup of tea, only, left you shorn of grace, bereft of the wherewithal to participate in the spirit, the inner conclave.]

Needless to say, the white flour bread is deficient in EVERY POSSIBLE RESPECT, be it protein, minerals, beneficial fiber, et. al. from the whole grain bread it replaced. So is the tea that accompanies it. This is part of a larger mental attitude on our part, one that leads the Indian govt. to term the millets "coarse grains" following the Americans who consider it animal food. The millets are the finest of grains, especially in physical size!!!!!! Anyway, if bakers like Ravum create delicious whole breads and make them "fashionable", the mindless affluent Indian crowd will follow whatever the international trendy set are supposed to be eating or consider worthwhile at the moment, be it olive oil or goose excrement. For a hundred years, they smeared olive oil on their babies' bottoms!Suddenly this ae crowd now has discovered its oragnoleptic properties purely because a white-skinned person has told them it was good. Never on their own steam, mind you! God forbid they could ever exercise good taste or independent judgement!

So here is a chance to exercise independent good taste via sorghum wholemeal flour breads. Also through Sorghum popcorn, that we have been using for centuries: and what array of new delicacies can we invent from popped whole Sorghum? The popped grains themselves could be ground into a flour, coarse or fine, and be transformed into interesting things with or without SORGHUM SYRUP, peanuts, other nutritious foods like popped paddy [unhusked rice], sesame, amaranthus seed [popped =allegria], copra [high fiber].

SORGHUM SYRUP

This is another product that Indian cropping systems and our fresh-water situation dictates we must use in conjunction with palm sugars, in place of cane or beet sugar. Sorghum syrup comes from certain varieties of sorghum that channel their photosynthetic reserves into juicy, sugar-rich "stems" rather than an abundant seed set. Before seed maturity, green stems are stripped & crushed to express juice, just like cane, same equipment, only more easily. Sugar Content of varieties 12-23%, but we focus primarily on the 14-18% range. The syrup has chemicals like aconitic acid that makes it very expensive to remove & clarify into crystal sugar, but is a very pleasant, light-tasting liquid brown gur.

With the help of foodwriters, SORGHUM SYRUP is what the rich & about-to-be morbidly fat people in affluent India should be consuming. They eat/drink so many highly flavored sweetmeats, payasams, pongal, chais/kapi etc. that this sweetener would serve as the perfect healthy substitute for white sugar. Take puran poli or banana stems stewed with gur, mango or other pickles made with gur: use SORGHUM SYRUP. That aconitic acid serves as a subtle but potent hypoglycemic aid when computed over hundreds of doses of sugar bombs!!

There have been VERY FARSIGHTED & saintly workers in INDIA, NARI, NIMBARKAR AGRICultural Research Institute, Maharashtra, [ I don't remember the words of the acronym correctly but the acronym is correct!!] researchers backed by people who had faith in their vision, doing what US scientists said was not feasible!! Breeding sorghum to produce both grain & syrup! Inspired by their effort, China today also is creating similar cultivars (and tormenting India on every front!) Anyway, bringing in US sweet sorghum lines, NARI bred "MADHURA" the most famous of the dual-purpose cultivars. Rockefeller Foundation funded some of that effort.

It is time that our own tycoons who talk incessantly about CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY put their money where their mouth long has preceded them by light years. They need to realize that agriculture is the default employer of multiple tens of millions without demaning any infrastructure or SEZs. Uncomplaining of immene misery, it is these same poor sods that are putting money into the pockets of the urban rich, be it through the purchase of a matchbox, a candle, a cellphone, or anything NOT grown on their farm. But so shortsighted is the Indian industrial class that they cannot nourish the goose that lays the golden eggs. The great philanthropic trusts and research efforts for the public weal founded by industrialists in the USA are conspicuously absent in India's supposed great leap forward.


Wide INTERGENERIC crosses need to be implemented [yesterday!!] between the millets and related wild grasses. This was done between Bread and Drum wheat [Triticum aestivum & T. turgidum on the one hand and Rye [Secale cereale] and Barley [Hordeum vulgare] on the other, plus several other related grases. Two important cereals were created, the first food crops ever to emerge that were not initially developed by our Neo-lithic ancestors! The more significant one is the wheat-rye cross, Triticale. The second, wheat-barley, Tritordeum, is still emerging into its potential. Wide crosses are difficult and initially hopeless efforts that pay off in the long run. Where is the Indian business house with the nobility o spirit or vision to undertake such a venture? I hear so much about giants entering the retail prodce trade. They must have all manner of consultants, Have they ever stopped to consider how much real good they could achieve, to their public image and to the nation, by considering paths by which they could really assist the very poorest as well as themselves?

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