Baking has increased multifold with the pandemic. However, we should not depend on chocolate and eggs for making yummy cookies and biscuits. We can also bake them gluten-free or vegan. Yes, it still tastes yummy. When you look around, most commercial biscuits contain maida and butter. They taste great once a while but are no good on a daily basis. Hence, we wanted to make something which was eggless and gluten-free for a change. Ragi or Nachni is a good flour for baking cookies. It looks like chocolate yet has a earthen taste to it. It is also a great way to have millets. I had seen many such ragi biscuits in India ,but lacked awareness back then. Ragi was supposed to be a food for diabetics.
As I researched more, I found that most millet cookies which were produced commercially contained wheat. I have also seen chocolate ragi biscuits in the market. However, great chocolate may taste, we did not want to get too attached to it. After all, having a young kid at home changes your food choices. Our kids learn from us. If we are stuck to chocolate, they will be too. The more chocolate you have, the more trips to the dentist and hyperactivity in the children. Hence, we wanted to make something which was free of chocolate and also purely gluten-free.
Note: This is also an eggless recipe and we have used flax seeds in it. If you like eggs, you may replace it accordingly with one egg.( I am an eggless baker so I have not tested this but you can always give us a feedback on how it tasted!) We have used minimal ghee in this recipe but you can also use vegan butter to make a similar recipe. You can also make it nut-free if you have allergies as we have used it only for the garnish.
Our gluten-free journey
We wanted to look for other healthy grains apart from oats in our diet. We did incorporate oats in overnight oats and smoothie to begin with. Later diversified it with dhokla, laddu and chikki. However, a single grain looks boring after a while We usually would go gluten-free for fasting for Navratri /Sawan thrice an year. However, we felt we should reduce our dependency on wheat and rice. We started out by being gluten-free by choice, for few meals a week. We felt we had better digestion and energy after increasing using millets. Hence, we started making more recipes to incorporate more millets in our diet, even on regular days.
Traditionally too wheat and rice was not considered so healthy. Instead ragi, jowar bajra were preferred. Although rice was gluten-free, white rice does lose nutrients during polishing. We first began our journey by reducing maida or plain flour in our diet especially in cakes and cookies. Using brown rice instead of white, for few meals a week also helped Now, we moved to increased use of millets. That brings us to this basic question what millets can you eat and when?
Jowar(sorghum) should be eaten in summer. Bajra(pearl millet), makai (corn)in winter and ragi(finger millet) can be eaten anytime. You can make many interesting flatbreads like lauki thepla by combining bajra/makai or jowar and lauki or bottle gourd. You can also have juar jo dodho. Makki ki roti is another flatbread which goes great with sarson ka saag in winters.Brown rice khichdi is a good way to have it once a week. khoya makhana curry is a good option for curry.
Most of us have heard of Ragi mudde or ragi balls. People swear by Ragi malt and for energy down South. You can also make a ragi dosa or crepes instead of normal rice and urad dal dosa. Other great recipes are ragi dhokla and idli.
Note: Please consult with doctor before incorporating Ragi in your daily diet. You cannot eat jowar,ragi, quinoa, bajra, makai during navratri/ saawan fasting
What are the other gluten-free foods you can have in fasting?
Sago, Amaranth, Kuttu(buckwheat),Quinoa and makhane (foxtail millet) are great to have in your diet. Sabudana is a staple with khichdi, sabudana vade & kheer. Toasted makhane are great as a snack during teatime. You can also use brown rice to make chakli or murruku as a snack. Makhane ki kheer if you cannot remove dairy from your diet. Add boiled quinoa to make a fresh crunchy salad to make a healthy lunch on weekdays. You can also add a handful of quinoa to rice while boiling it every day. It has no change in taste and still increases your protein intake.
Millets are great for health. The benefits are plenty.
- It is great for calcium & also helps lower cholesterol.
- It is high in protein
- Prevents ageing of skin.
- It is good for digestion and helps prevent diabetes.
- Also, good for lactating mothers as it improves milk production.
How to make ragi biscuits?
- Preheat the oven for 10 mins. Meanwhile, sift the ragi flour with baking soda.
2. Add the flax seed mixture to ragi flour.
3. Mix in jaggery & ghee and pinch of salt.
4. Knead a medium soft dough.
5. Line a baking sheet on a baking tray.Make a small ball of mix and press flat
6. Garnish with chopped nuts optionally. Bake at 160 deg C for 20 mins.
Read the ragi biscuits recipe below:
- stand mixer
- 1 cup ragi
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ cup jaggery powdered
- 1 tbsp. flax seed in ¼ cup warm water
- 1.5 tbsp. ghee
- soak flax seeds in warm water
- In a mixing bowl, whisk ragi & baking soda
- Add ghee,jaggery and pinch of salt. Also add flax seed mix.
- Mix all ingredients to form a soft dough.Add more ragi powder if its too wet.
- Make small balls of dough,press them into flat biscuits/cookies
- Place these in a baking tray,Garnish with nuts optionally.
- Preheat the oven for 10 mins @160 C
- Bake at 160 deg C(fan forced) for 20 mins
- Let it cool on the rack and store in an airtight container.
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