Millets are a class of cereal crops that have been an important indigenous foodstuff for us Indians. This family consists of nutritious grains that are used to make many Indian dishes. Some of these are finger millet (ragi/nachni), barley (jau), amaranth (rajgira), sorghum (jowar) and pearl millet (bajra), which also fall under the category of ancient grains of India. This Ragi Kheer (or Ragi Pudding) is made with the flour of the finger millet. It is a simple, quick and really tasty dessert.
About Ragi Kheer
Ragi Kheer is that Indian dessert which you can sometimes prepare easily at home over your regular rice kheer, and enjoy with your loved ones. All you need for this pudding is ragi or nachni flour (finger millet flour), milk, sugar, ghee, your basic flavorings and some nuts.
This Ragi Kheer recipe is supremely easy and gets made within 30 minutes. You can even skip adding the dry fruits and saffron if you wish to. This sweet dish is also gluten-free and quite a hearty one. Have it in breakfast or as an after-meal dessert.
The Ragi Pudding mixture should be lump-free while cooking. To avoid the lumps, add hot milk in batches and keep stirring very well. If you add milk at room temperature, there are high chances of lump formation.
Ragi is a healthy millet rich in proteins, fibre, calcium and iron. Also known as the ‘wonder grain’ for weight loss. Really helpful for people with diabetes and babies. Ragi Porridge is a popular and healthy food given to kids.
Thus, it’s always a good idea to include ragi/nachni regularly in your diet. Other than this nutritious Ragi Kheer, you can make Ragi Ladoo, Ragi Dosa and Ragi Mudde. While making your chapati and roti too, add some ragi flour in the dough and make Ragi Roti.
How to make Ragi Kheer
Boil Milk and Roast Ragi Flour
1. Firstly, heat 1.5 cups of whole milk in a thick bottomed pan till it comes to a boil. Set aside.
2. Then, in another thick bottomed pan or kadai, heat 1 tablespoon ghee.
3. Reduce the heat to low, add 1.5 tablespoons ragi flour.
4. Sauté and stir continuously. Soon, the ragi flour will turn fragrant. It takes about 2 to 3 minutes on low heat. Stir continuously so that the ragi flour gets roasted well and evenly.
5. Now, pour 2 tablespoons hot milk. We have used 1.5 cups hot milk overall. But the hot milk needs to be added in small batches.
After adding 2 tablespoons hot milk, stir continuously so that the ragi flour combines well with the milk. The mixture should be smooth and lump free.
6. Now, add 2 tablespoons more of hot milk. Keep stirring continuously while adding the milk. Ensure that there are no lumps formed. We need a smooth mixture for the kheer.
7. Now pour the remaining hot milk and mix very well.
8. Next, add ¼ cup sugar or according to taste. Mix and stir well.
9. Add 5 to 6 finely chopped cashews, 2 to 3 finely chopped pistachios and 2 to 3 finely chopped almonds. You can add more or less nuts as per your preference.
10. Sprinkle ⅛ teaspoon cardamom powder.
11. Add 6 to 7 saffron strands (optional).
Make Ragi Kheer
12. Mix well and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes on low to medium-low heat.
13. You will see the kheer thickening.
14. The kheer will also start bubbling and rising. Keep stirring the ragi kheer often.
15. The ragi kheer has to be of medium consistency. After 1 to 2 minutes, turn off the heat.
16. Serve Ragi Kheer hot, warm or chilled as a dessert or for breakfast.
Note that on cooling, the kheer becomes thick. Once the kheer has come to a room temperature, then refrigerate.
- Flour: Use fresh ragi flour which is in its shelf period. A big no to rancid flour. You can even make this Ragi Pudding with sprouted ragi flour.
- Sweetener: In addition to sugar, other sweeteners that you can add in this kheer are jaggery, palm sugar and coconut sugar. Just make sure that the milk doesn’t curdle after adding these. So, it is best to add after waiting for 4 to 5 minutes, post the completion of cooking.
- Spices: Traditionally, cardamom powder is always added in Indian Kheer recipes. If you want to listen to your adventurous side, experiment with vanilla, nutmeg powder or clove powder.
- Nuts and dry fruits: Use any of these – raisins, pine nuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, etc.
- Vegan options: Your best substitutes are almond milk and coconut milk. However, keep in mind not to overheat these after mixing with the ragi flour. Keep the heat to the lowest while adding these. Once the milk is incorporated, gently heat through, and not boil or simmer. Coconut milk does curdle and separate, if boiled or overheated. Also, use coconut oil or any neutral oil in place of ghee.
- Scaling: Make less or more by halving or doubling the recipe.
- Storage: Leftover Ragi Kheer can be refrigerated after it comes to room temperature. But it will thicken on cooling. So, before serving, dilute the thick consistency by adding some more milk.
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Ragi Kheer | Ragi Pudding
- 1 tablespoon Ghee (clarified butter)
- 1.5 tablespoons ragi flour (nachni or finger millet or red millet flour)
- 1.5 cups milk – hot
- ¼ cup sugar or add as required
- 5 to 6 cashews – whole or chopped
- 2 to 3 pistachios – sliced or chopped finely
- 2 to 3 almonds – sliced or chopped finely
- 5 to 6 saffron strands – optional
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamom powder
- Firstly heat milk in a thick bottomed pan until it comes to a boil.
- Set the hot milk aside.
Roasting ragi flour
- Then in another thick bottomed pan or kadai, heat ghee.
- Reduce the flame. First add 1.5 tablespoons of ragi flour.
- Roast and stir continuously. Soon the ragi flour will release its aroma. It takes about 2 to 3 minutes on low heat. Stir continuously so that the ragi flour gets roasted well.
- Now add 2 tablespoons of hot milk.
- After adding 2 tablespoons of hot milk, keep continuously stirring so the ragi flour combines well in the milk, the mixture should be smooth and without any lumps.
- Next again add more 2 tablespoons of hot milk, continuously keep stirring. Ensure that there are no lumps formed. We need a smooth mixture for the kheer. Now pour the rest of hot milk and mix thoroughly.
- Note that we need to add a total of 1.5 cups of hot milk. But we are adding first 4 tablespoons of the hot milk in two rounds so that there are no lumps in the kheer.
- Add ¼ cup of sugar and mix again.
- Add chopped cashews, pistachios and almonds.
- Sprinkle cardamom powder and saffron strands.
Making ragi kheer
- Mix again and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes on low to medum-low heat. You will see the ragi kheer thickening.
- The kheer will start bubbling. Keep stirring the kheer often.
- The ragi kheer has to be of medium consistency. After 1 to 2 minutes switch off the heat.
- You can serve ragi kheer hot or warm or chilled as a dessert or for breakfast.
- Garnish with sliced or chopped almonds, cashews or pistachios or a few saffron strands while serving.
- Do note that on cooling, the consistency of ragi kheer will become thick. When the kheer has come to a room temperature, then refrigerate it.
- You can also refrigerate any leftovers. On cooling ragi kheer will thicken.
- Before serving, mix a bit of milk to dilute the thick consistency and warm or heat the milk in a small pan.
- Ragi Flour: The ragi flour has to be fresh and in its shelf period. Make sure it is not rancid. You can also make this kheer with sprouted ragi flour.
- Sweeteners: You can add your choice of sweeteners, but do make sure that the milk does not curdle after adding sweeteners. For sweeteners like palm sugar, coconut sugar and jaggery, it is best to add them after a waiting of 4 to 5 minutes once the cooking is complete.
- Nuts and dry fruits: Various nuts and dry fruits like raisins, pine nuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios can be added.
- Vegan options: Almond milk and coconut milk work best in this recipe. However do make sure not to overheat these nuts milk after you mix with the ragi flour. When adding, keep the flame to the lowest. Once all the milk is incorporated, simply heat through gently. Do not boil or simmer. Coconut milk will curdle and separate if boiled or overheated. Use a neutral oil or coconut oil in place of ghee.
- Scaling: You can halve or double this recipe easily.
- Spices: Traditionally, in most kheer variants, cardamom powder is always added. If you are feeling adventurous, experiment with vanilla, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder or clove powder.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Ragi Kheer recipe post from the archives first published in September 2016 has been republished and updated on 12 July 2022.