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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Baked Finger Millets / Ragi / Naachni Crackers

Baked Ragi Crackers

Crunchy Snacks  not only serve as fun treats for all age groups and a means to satisfy every carvings between meals but also such snacking helps to keep one energised and also prevent  from overeating . Multi grain crackers is one such "grab and go "snacks to have on hand.  This weekend I tried Finger Millet / Ragi crackers with Italian seasoning and to add to its goodness, made a baked version rather than deep frying.  I have baked the crackers using Convection Microwave.

Ragi is known as Naachni in Marathi. Naachni Satva or Porridge made from Ragi flour and Milk  was the first food for my son at his Annapraashan. (Traditionally Ragi is soaked in water , then allowed to sprout , grounded to Powder and finally strained to get the Naachni Satva or Ragi Flour). Now a days Ragi flour is easily available. If you have finger Millets, you can also roast them and grind to get the flour.

Ragi is a great source of Iron, making it beneficial for the individuals with low haemoglobin levels. Millets also contains B vitamins, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid.  Due to its high content of poly phenols and dietary fibre Ragi exhibits anti-diabetic and antioxidant and antimicrobial properties; it protects against tumours and atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of blood vessels). Being low in fat and gluten free, Ragi is easy to digest. It is therefore, given as first foods to babies in the form of Ragi Porridge. The bulkiness of the fibres and the slower digestion rate makes one feel fuller on fewer calories and therefore helps prevent excess caloric consumption. Ragi is the richest source of calcium among plant foods. Calcium along with vitamin D helps to strengthen bones. It is also  a remarkable source of protein making it perfect for Vegetarian diets.

Source - http://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/health-benefits-of-ragi.htm

Ingredients for Baked Ragi Crackers: ( Gives approximately 3 dozen Crackers )
  • 1/2 cup Ragi flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp freshly crushed Black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp of mixed Italian herbs ( Rosemary, Thyme or Oregano)
  • 1/2 -  1 cup water

  1. Dry roast the Ragi flour in a wok for 4-5 minutes on a low to medium flame. This is to remove its raw smell and muddy taste.Keep stirring continuously with a spatula, so as to avoid the Ragi flour from burning.

      2.  Let the Ragi flour cool down , now in a bowl mix Ragi flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, pepper powder, and mixed Herbs. Now rub the butter nicely to this flour. Add water and knead  the dough to form a ball, similar to chapati dough. Set the dough aside for 10 minutes.

  3.  Pinch out some dough to make small ball and roll out very thin chapati without using any flour for rolling. I directly rolled the chapatis on the cookie sheet or parchment paper to avoid them from sticking. Once rolled out , poke all over with fork ( this is to avoid the crackers from puffing) and  using a knife /pizza cutter score it into Triangles / diamonds/ squares or any other desired shape . Repeat the same for rest of the dough.

   4. Pre heat the oven at 190 degree Celsius for 15 minutes. Arrange them on a greased baking tray and bake at 180 degree Celsius for 8-15 minutes. The baking time depends on the thickness of rolled out dough. 

I had arranged  them directly on the parchment paper lined rotating plate of the Microwave oven, using Convection mode. The convection mode transforms the Microwave into an Oven. To set the temperature in the Convection Microwave, keep on  pressing  the Convection button on the Microwave. You will get a display of temperatures from 40- 250 degree Celsius every time you press.. Select the desired temperature and set the time. I rolled out very thin chapatis, so my Crackers took less time for baking. The crackers were done at 180 degree Celsius within 11 minutes. 

   5. Once done baking , leave them to cool completely. The crackers will turn crispy only once they have cooled completely. Now store them in air tight container. 

  • You can use the same recipe for Multi grain baked matris, and add 1 or more flours of your choice.
  • Seasoning can be done with spices of your choice, can add roasted Cumin or Carom, or Caraway seeds, Sesame seeds, or onion seeds( kalonji). 
  • Can also add red chili flakes and crushed garlic for variation.
  • The above ingredients gave me approximately 3 dozen crackers, though the number depends on the thickness and size of the crackers.
  • Store crackers seperately from cakes as they will turn soggy. 
  • Crackers keep up up to 2 weeks, provided they are kept in air tight containers.
  • If you are experimenting baking on Convection Microwaves, try to keep the temperature and time little lower than what the recipe calls for. 


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