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Ragi Ball, served on a banana leaf with saaru

The pride of Karnataka, and Kannadigas lies in a simple homely dish- ragi mudde.

Sometimes called ragi ball, or in Tamil, kali mudde, it is a staple in every Kannadiga house, for at least one meal. It is a spongy, round ball of ragi, or millet powder mixed with water and rice. It is accompanied by a savoury curry, or saaru and tastes best with mutton.


Ragi mudde is more popular among the rural folk of Karnataka than the urban. It is a wholesome meal that is slow in digesting, and provides all the required nutrients like iron, potassium, calcium, and protein. It was popularised by Prime Minister Deve Gowda, who is a devout ragi mudde eater, when he ordered it from Karnataka to Delhi every day.

Most of the urban class consider ragi a cereal and try to incorporate it into their diet for all the benefits it is believed to offer. It reverses aging, prevents anemia, and is a perfect weight loss recipe. But city life does not offer the time to prepare it at home, despite how simple the recipe is. A thin paste of ragi flour with water is made and poured into a vessel to boil. More water is added, and once the rest of the ragi flour goes it, it is stirred quickly and shaped into balls. This is done by hand. Ragi cannot be left undercooked as it can cause diarrhoea. This is where the skill of the chef comes into play.

Ragi mudde served with lentils green curry soup Image source: wikimedia commonswikimedia commons

Ragi cannot be eaten like other cereals. It cannot be chewed as it sticks to the teeth. Small bits are dipped into the curry and swallowed immediately. Sometimes the ragi is made into a thin paste that is mixed thoroughly with water and drunk as a protein drink. This is usually done in the case of leftover ragi.

In Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and parts of Andhra Pradesh, ragi is popularly eaten as a staple. It is sometimes called 'grenade' because typically ragi is scooped onto the banana leaf while it is piping hot and often burns a hold through it. In the age of plates, this does not happen anymore.

Keywords: Ragi, Mudde, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Staple, Millets


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