RAGI ADAI - Grandmother's Signature recipe - Revisiting her times !!

I have already mentioned about my Husband's paternal Grandmother, Janaki Paati in my previous post. She was an awesome cook and many of her recipes are family and neighbourhood favourites ever since Pre-independence times. Paati and Thatha lived in Kolkata (then Calcutta) among a group of Bengali families during 1930s. Together, these families made a very enterprising cohort exchanging north and south recipes and Paati made the best by learning more of the northies as she also mastered Bengali. Not only recipes, there are quite a number of utensils, kitchen gadgets and show pieces owned by her that we preserve till date. Pictures below. 

Paati and Thatha soon after their wedding in 1932.  

Eventually they moved to Bangalore during the World war and lived there for many years and that explains our  family's strong connection with Karnataka cuisine. 

Ragi is a staple food among many regions in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Steamed Jaggery or Savoury balls are the commonly eaten recipes. Ragi @ Finger millet is very nutritious and is the one  of the cereal with high amounts of Iron in it. So, without any explanation it is understood why it was included in the daily routine. This Ragi Adai is a recipe that Paati standardized and we have prepared it umpteen times without failure. While everyone around is in a rage to bake cakes, muffins and buns, I feel that our traditional Millet recipes have now caught up and is heading the popularity race. The steps below may seem complicated, but trust me, it is very easy and not only tasty but also a HEALTHY recipe.

Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Sweet/ Snack
Level: Easy
Makes : 20 
Source: MIL

Nutrition Facts
Servings 20.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 131
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g7 %
Saturated Fat 2 g8 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 20 mg1 %
Potassium 3 mg0 %
Total Carbohydrate 18 g6 %
Dietary Fiber 0 g0 %
Sugars 6 g
Protein 1 g3 %
Vitamin A1 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium0 %
Iron0 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

  • 1 1/2 cup Ragi/ Finger Millet flour
  • 1 1/4 cup Pounded Jaggery (Use a darker variety)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut (Fresh or desiccated) 
  • 8-10 cardamoms de-seeded and pounded
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil 
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • a pinch of salt
  • Add flour and coconut to a mixing bowl.
  • Transfer Jaggery to a thick bottomed vessel. Add water just an inch above the Jaggery. 
  • Boil the mixture until the jaggery dissolves completely.
  • Let it come to a frothing  boil.
  • Meanwhile, crush  sesame seeds between palms and add it to the flour mix. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Go back to the stove and check on the Jaggery. It should have now become a thick extract. 
  • Stop cooking and quickly pass the syrup through a sieve to remove any impurity or silt. Rinse the vessel under the tap and put it back on the stove.
  • Pour back the filtered extract into the vessel and turn the heat on. 
  • Add the flour mix in parts and mix to incorporate well without lumps.
  • Keep the flame simmered and continue until you have added all the flour.
  • This heat is sufficient to cook the flour and other contents. Mix very well until the dough is stiff yet sticky resembling bread dough.
  • Take it off the heat and leave it on the kitchen counter top.

  • When the dough is warm enough to handle, roll out small portions. You should be able to make a smooth ball without any cracks.
  • Heat a skillet / tawa and keep the flame low.
  • Spread  a thick polythene sheet/wax paper and apply little oil to grease the surface.
  • Mix the oil and ghee in a cup and set aside.
  • Press the rolled dough balls one at a time on the sheet using finger tips and make a disc that is the size of your palm. Let be slightly thick. Refer picture.
  • Peel of gently and transfer to the skillet/ tawa. Drizzle 1/2 tsp fat. Cook until one side puffs up.
  • Flip and cook the other side until done. If you prefer, you can make a hole in the center with the spatula.
  • Repeat the process until all the dough balls are cooked and spread out on to a plate to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container. 
  • You can store these for a maximum of five days. If you add fresh coconut, the shelf life is even shorter. 


  1. Classic pictures and the utensils to take you down the memory lane. Grandmothers - they sure can cook and you too can as well. Radi agai mum used to make but I have completely forgotten, another ever classic.

  2. loved all the old goodies and your Grandparents pic...Ragi adai looks yumm...

  3. So nice that you have stocked those age old things... they invoke a lot of curiosity.. I am so excited to see their picture too... :) The raagi adai looks really interesting, lovely recipe...

    1. Thank you Sweets. I have a few more at home back in India. Will upload the pictures later.


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