Millets have lately been hailed as superfood grains, which are great healthy alternatives to refined flours. Millets are a group of small-seeded grasses, which have widely been consumed as food grains since ancient times. In India, millets have always enjoyed a revered position, with a number of flatbreads, desserts and savouries made from them. Ragi or finger millet is one such millet that has been used abundantly to make healthy, fibre-rich and protein-rich recipes that may be especially beneficial for those suffering from high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Ragi is also replete with many vital minerals and vitamins. Ragi can be cooked in numerous ways, including in rotis or parathas, dosas and even desserts like ladoos, burfis and even cakes and muffins. But did you know that you can even drink ragi? A South-Indian favourite made from cooked sprouted ragi flour is the ambali or the savoury ragi malt.
Ambali or ragi malt is a vegetarian summer drink or porridge that is prepared in Karnataka. The drink is prepared by cooking ragi flour in water and then cooling it down and then adding diluted beaten curd or buttermilk to it, along with cumin powder, salt and chopped onions. The drink is topped with a tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Health Benefits Of Ragi Malt: Let's take a look at some of the ways that ragi ambali or ragi malt may benefit you-
1. Weight Loss: Ragi malt is filling due to the presence of the high-fibre and high-protein ragi or finger millets. It may keep you from craving unhealthy snacks.
2. Cooling for summers: The presence of the cooling buttermilk makes ambali a great summer drink.
3. Rich in calcium: Ragi grain is rich in calcium, which is essential for the health of the bones and teeth. The presence of buttermilk also makes this drink calcium-rich.
4. Fights blood cholesterol: Ragi, being rich in fibre or complex carbohydrates, may help in fighting cholesterol in blood, effectively offering heart-healthy benefits.
5. Fights Iron Deficiency: Sprouted ragi may help fight anaemia, because once ragi is allowed to sprout, its Vitamin C levels increase, which in turn may increase iron absorption.
How To Make Ragi Malt or Ambali At Home
Ragi malt may be sweet or savoury, depending on how you like it. You may also flavour sweet ragi malt with chocolate or vanilla protein powder to make it more interesting. But if you want to go the traditional way then you can simply cook the sprouted ragi flour in water until the colour of the flour darkens. Cool the cooked flour batter down and then add the buttermilk along with cumin, salt and onions. You can top it with a tempering of curry leaves and mustard seeds. You can simply add mustard seeds to a little oil until they begin to sputter and then add fresh, cleaned curry leaves. Pour this tempering over the ambali and enjoy. You can adjust the consistency of the drink, depending on how thick or runny it looks.