Ragi mudde are gluten-free traditional balls made with finger millet flour. Finger millet is known as ragi in South India, and mudde is a Kannada word for soft ball. Ragi mudde are nutritious, healthy and a wholesome every day food of a large rural population in Karnataka. Ragi was well known as the poor man’s grain from decades as they are easy to grow with minimal water resources and zero pesticides.
Consuming finger millet regularly strengthens the bones and also helps to maintain steady iron levels. It is great for the overall well-being so these grains are used to make various dishes like rotti, dosa, ladoos and halwa.
Traditionally to make ragi mudde, whole grain finger millet is milled to flour and then slow cooked to a dough like texture. It is then steam cooked for some time and rolled to moist & soft balls.
These can also be made with store bought flour. Making these ragi mudde just takes about 20 to 25 minutes but it has to be prepared correctly to avoid indigestion.
Since it is a whole grain food with lots of fiber, it digests slowly, releases the sugars slowly & keeps you full the whole day. So it is good for everyone including toddlers & people with diabetes.
Ragi mudde is served with some gravy/ soupy sides like bassaru, massoppu, saaru or any dal varieties. Farmers who would leave home in the early hours of the day would eat this with a nutritious lentil dish that helped them to keep fit the whole day.
About this recipe
My recipe will teach you how to make soft and well-cooked ragi mudde. For years I have made this will homemade sprouted ragi flour which I would get from my mom’s home in India. With the current situation I have no access to it so have been using store bought one with good success.
So any kind of ragi flour will just work as good, sprouted or non-sprouted both. If you are a first timer start with smaller quantities till you get used to the taste and texture.
To serve this you will need a lot of side dish. I would say for 1 serving of ragi mudde you will need atleast 2 cups of side dish. So plan accordingly.
These balls are a powerhouse of nutrition loaded with essential vitamins, minerals & fiber. So it is best to have this in the early hours of the day like for breakfast or lunch. Having these for dinner or late in the night can cause tummy problems.
Apart from ragi flour, you will need a sturdy wooden stick or spatula especially if you are making this in larger quantity. In India, we use a wooden stick called mudde kolu to make this.
However a regular wooden spatula just works well for smaller quantity. It can break if you use it for larger quantity, like more than 1 cup.
You can easily find many kinds of mudde kolu in Bangalore & Mysore regions. A regular straight wooden rolling pin also works well.
Ragi mudde vs ragi sankati
Mudde is a Karnataka dish and is made only with ragi flour and water. But ragi sankati is a dish from Andhra Pradesh which is made with rice, ragi flour and water.
Though these are made in a similar way they taste quite different. Sankati is lighter & easier to digest due to the addition of rice.
Vegetarians serve them with a good gravy including leafy greens. Non-vegetarians eat them with chicken curry, chicken pulusu or chicken sambar.
How to make ragi mudde
1. Add 1 tablespoon ragi flour to a small bowl. Pour 3 tbsps of water and give a good mix to break up the lumps.
2. We want a smooth mixture here. Set this aside.
3. Pour 2 cups water to a heavy bottom pot. Add half teaspoon salt (optional) and 1 teaspoon ghee (optional). Traditionally salt and ghee are not used. Bring this to a rolling boil.
4. Stir the flour mixture with a spoon and pour to the boiling water.
5. Give a good stir so it incorporates into the water well.
6. Then cook this mixture on a medium heat until it begins to boil & bubble well.
7. Reduce the flame to lowest and add the flour.
8. Using a stick or a wooden spatula incorporate the flour into the water.
9. While mixing you will see specks of flour and loose lumps. Keep mixing to incorporate all the flour.
10. You won’t get any lumps here. Take a spoon and cleanup the spatula or stick.
Cover the pot and let it steam for about 5 minutes. Remember to keep the flame at the lowest. I turn off the heat and it rest for another 5 minutes. This is when the dough cooks well.
After this step you will see some of the dough is stuck to the bottom. This is how it turns out traditionally. However if you do not want to waste the dough use a nonstick pot or pan.
To check if it is done, touch the dough with your fingers or spoon. The dough will be dry and won’t stick if it is done perfectly. Also you will see the dough begins to dry out or slightly brown at the bottom. This is a sign that ragi mudde has cooked well.
Grease or moisten a wide plate and transfer the steamed dough. Dip your fingers in a bowl of water or grease your fingers. Knead slightly hot dough well for 1 to 2 minutes so it looks uniform and smooth.
Divide the dough to 3 portions and smoothen them to balls. You can also make smaller balls if you prefer. This recipe makes 3 medium or 2 large servings.
Serve ragi mudde hot with any curry/ gravy/ sambar. It keeps good in a insulated box for 2 to 3 hours. I usually place a small steel rack or trivet in the box and then place these over it so they don’t sweat and become wet.
- If your mudde becomes too soft, sticky, too wet and looks soggy at the last stage, add a tablespoon or more ragi flour. The amount of water to use depends on the kind of flour so this extra tablespoon may or may not be needed.
- Traditionally ragi mudde is made with regular ragi flour. But sprouted flour works as good and is lighter to digest.
- Mine always turns out lighter in color and softer if ragi is sprouted too much. My mom would always sprout them to half inch long. So if you are using homemade sprouted flour (with longer sprouts) then use lesser water. Here is a picture of the same.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 tablespoon ragi flour
- 3 tablespoons water
- In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoons ragi flour with 3 tablespoons water. The mixture should be free of lumps. Set this aside.
- To a heavy bottom pot, pour 2 cups water. Add ⅓ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ghee. Both these are optional.
- Bring the water to a boil, then stir the ragi mixture with a spoon and pour it straight into the boiling water.
- Give a good mix with the spoon and let it come to a boil again on a medium heat.
- You will see the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, then lower the flame completely and add the flour.
- Mix with a sturdy wooden stick or a spatula to incorporate the flour into the water. Within 60 to 90 seconds you should see no streaks of flour.
- Continue to mix until no lumps remain. Scrape off the stick with a spoon to loosen all of the ragi stuck to it.
- Cover the pot and let it cook on the lowest heat for 5 mins.
- After 5 minutes, give a mix again for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the stick and cover back. Turn off and let it steam in the residual heat for another 5 minutes. (with the stove turned off)
- Perfectly done ragi mudde will be non-sticky when you touch it with your fingers or a spoon.
- Grease or moisten a wide plate with few little water. This helps the dough not to stick to the plate.
- Transfer the dough to the plate. Grease your fingers with ghee or dip your fingers in a bowl of water.
- Begin to knead the dough for 30 to 60 seconds. Then divide to 2 to 3 equal portions and roll to small balls.
- Serve ragi mudde hot with a gravy or soupy lentil dish.
- We usually make this without any salt as the side dishes are already salted.
- Traditionally no ghee or oil is used. Instead fingers are dipped in water before rolling to balls.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Ragi mudde recipe first published in November 2014. Updated and republished in February 2021.