Traditional/Ayurvedic Grain-based Health Foods and Their Functional Health Benefits
Ragi Hurihittu – Efficient Weaning Food For Babies
Ragi hurihittu is the flour of popped finger millet, rich in dietary fibers and nutrients. Since finger millets are small in size and difficult to de-bran when popped, it increases the total dietary fiber content in the final product.
Simple Recipe – Pop the ragi in a pan or wok. Popping is a simple processing technique done by severe heat treatment. It improves the aroma and taste. Not only that it also increases the digestibility and solubility of starch because of gelatinization. Cool and make flour from this popped ragi. This flour is used for the preparation of ready-to-eat malts (weaning foods).
The major reason behind the high nutritional value of ragi hurihittu is the presence of high reducing sugar concentration and amylase enzyme activity of finger millet. Ragi hurihittu is composed of slow cell wall degradation components, which are useful in preparation of fiber-rich foods.
To enhance the nutritional value of hurihittu, finger millet can also be germinated. This improves the bioavailability of iron and zinc. It is very useful for anemic patients and be used as geriatric food formulation.
Enduri Pitha – Health food of Odisha
Enduri pitha is a flavoured cake, native to Odisha state. Idli batter is used to make this cake. Fermentation process of batter seems to enhance the nutritional quality of the blend of black gram and rice.
Enduri pitha is prepared by steaming of the fermented batter in a turmeric leaf.
Use a whole leaf of turmeric. Lay two table spoons full of batter length wise in the middle of the leaf. A mix of chopped ginger, green chilli, onion and salt can be sprinkled. Alternately, one can also sprinkle a mixture of freshly grated coconut and jaggery in between the batter.
Now gently fold the leaf through the mid-vain. Steam for 25 minutes.
It is recommended for all age groups. The extracts of turmeric leaves through this traditional food in winter season increases the immune system of the body.
Dhokla – Diet Menu of Diabetic Patients
Dhokla is indigenous probiotic breakfast food found mainly in Gujarat state. It is prepared from the fermentation of Bengal gram and rice. The method of preparation is the same as idli, but it is steamed openly rather than covered as is done in idli preparation.
During fermentation, lactic acid bacteria contribute to the acidity of the product and make it sour in taste and improve the flavor.
Compared with the un-fermented batter, the antioxidant property of fermented batter is high. Intake of free fatty acid and hyperglycemia condition in diabetic patient causes increase in oxidative stress. The antioxidant property of dhokla helps in curing age related diseases and oxidative stress-induced degenerative diseases. Hence dhokla can be a good food item in the diet menu of diabetic patients.
Selroti – Rich in digestible Protein
Selroti is a rice-based fermented food, which is spongy and ring shaped. It is consumed in Sikkim and Darjeeling.
Rice or rice flour is soaked overnight in cold water and then water is decanted.
Soaked rice is then pounded into small grainy powder using mortar and pestle.
The proportion of rice to flour is 2: 1. Mix the pounded rice with wheat flour, sugar, ghee, and condiments such as cloves, cardamom, coconut, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Milk or water is used for kneading the powder into soft dough for easy flow.
The batter is left to ferment at ambient temperature for 18 – 20 hours followed by moulding into a ring and fried. It is served as a confectionary product.
The nutritive value of selroti is similar to idli and has good amount of digestible proteins.
Hawaijar – Source of Protein
Hawaijar is an alkaline-fermented soybean product consumed daily as a source of protein in Manipur. It is nonsalted and has a characteristic flavor and stickiness. The organism mainly involved in the fermentation of this product is Bacillus spp. During the preparation of hawaijar, bamboo baskets, banana leaves, or healthy fig leaves are used, which helps in fermentation and results in better quality of product. Hawaijar consists of soluble proteins ranging from 26% to 27%. Presence of Bacillus spp. gives high fibrinolytic activity to the product. Since hawaijar is rich in proteins, it is recommended for adults and children older than 10 years.
Idli – What Nutrition It Packs?
Idli is a fermented product prepared from rice and black gram batter by steam cooking. The microorganisms present in the fermented batter can produce vitamin B12 and bgalactosidase enzyme, which enhances the probiotic activity and promotes health. Black gram and rice are used in the ratio of 1:3 during batter preparation. Fermentation of idli batter improves the nutritional and protein efficiency value.
How to prepare idli batter?
Soak 3 cups of rice in a container over night
Socak 1 cup of black gram(urad dal) in a separate container over night
Grind the soaked dal and rice separately
After grinding mix the two properly and leave it to ferment for at least 6 -7 hours before using.
Now the batter is ready to be made to idli or dosa. Idli is suggested in all seasons and is used as a breakfast food. It adds good amount of protein to the daily diet. Due to the fermentation process, idli is more digestible and is recommended to all age groups.
Dosa – Nutritional Value
Dosa is fermented dish like idli and the process of making batter remains the same.
To improve the nutritional quality of dosa, finger millet (also called ragi) and horse gram can be mixed with black gram. During fermentation, the volume of the batter doubles and as fermentation time increases, the protein content of batter increases.
Dosa of Odisha, Called Chakuli –
Chakuli resembles dosa. Primary ingredients in chakuli batter are parboiled rice and black gram soaked overnight and ground like idli batter. It is then left to ferment overnight.
Spices, such as ginger, and onion are added while seasoning. Adding curry leaves and coriander leaves also adds to the flavour.
Susupe dosa – A Type of Dosa– It is prepared from the boiled red raw rice.
Preparation of susupe dosa includes grinding boiled red raw rice with aniseed, palm jaggery, and salt followed by soaking for 4 – 5 hours in water.
After soaking it is cooked in dosa pan. For the purification of lactating women’s blood, it is advised to give at least three susupe dosas twice a day without rice gruel (ganji).
Ambali – Rich In Essential Amino Acid
Ambali is a finger millet-based fermented semi-liquid product of south Indian states, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Preparation method – This includes mixing of finger millet flour with water to make a thick batter and followed by cooking and leaving it to ferment overnight. The fermentation process increases lysine ratio (Lysine is one of the essential amino acids that our body needs to build proteins) and increases the concentration of thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin, and tryptophan and bio-availability of minerals.
Ambali is considered a geriatric food because of the presence of high calcium and low resistant starch in finger millet. Ambali is consumed as such, or with buttermilk for taste.
Consumption of ambali in winter and rainy season should be avoided because it is very cold (endothermic) in nature. It consists of sufficient amount of calcium and is a healthy drink for elderly people.
(Source – Journal of Ethnic Foods, Traditional and Ayurvedic Foods of Indian Origin)