Thursday, June 27

Kezhvaragu Koozh/ Ragi Porridge

This is a humble peasant’s food in Tamilnadu. My dad is very fond of it and so it is usual for our lunch during summer vacations. This preparation is very nutritious and cooling for summers. Actually, the process of fermenting the ragi flour makes it cooling otherwise it is considered heat and also is complex for digestion. There is a belief that regular intake of kezhvaragu koozh makes one put on weight; however, my mom believes if taken in moderation it doesn’t attribute to weight gain and in fact helps in muscle tightening.


Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:
1.     Ragi flour – 2 cups
2.     Broken maize – ½ cup (Generally broken rice is used)
3.     Buttermilk – 2 cups
4.     Salt to taste
5.     Shallots & green chilies for accompaniment

Method:
Step 1: The ragi flour is to be mixed with water until it is thin or say mix 2 cups flour mixed in 4 cups water or so. Leave it to ferment overnight or until you see small air bubbles on the surface. In summer it takes less time to ferment.
Step 2: In a mud pot preferably, boil 2 cups of water and add broken maize into it with some salt.


Step 3: Once the maize is soft and cooked, pour the ragi batter into it, rinse the vessel with water and pour it into it until nice and dilute. Add salt and cook in simmer by stirring frequently else it tends to burn at the bottom.


Step 4: It takes little longer to cook, so be patient; uncooked ragi causes indigestion and stomach upset. The smell of cooked porridge is quite perceptible with some experience and observation.


Step 5: Once done, let it cool down. Generally mom makes it in the morning and lets it cool until lunch.
Step 6: Now in a mixing bowl, scoop necessary porridge/ koozh and add buttermilk, more salt if required and some water to adjust consistency. You can stir it up well with ladle or whip up in a sophisticated way, but the country style is to dirty hands and introduce some secret ingredient called ‘kai manam’.


Step 7: Pretty much like ‘neer mor saadam’, this is also served with madras onions and green chilies.



TIPS:

*My dad prefers green chili in a special way for this; mom  makes a small slit into the chili, smears the chili with oil and chars it slightly on the stove. This scents the whole house.

*Generally broken rice is used that we call ‘arisi noii’ locally, but any broken cereal can be used as far as I know. It is for texture and filling.
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