There are many interesting ways to bring millets back in our diet, be it porridge, pongal, upma, bread, even pizza, buttermilk or barbequed snacks. Interestingly, with every cooking workshop on millets, I am inspired to keep trying out more recipes.
It’s important to reclaim our lost grains, but more so to restore them in the spotlight through really exciting recipes. Whenever I think of innovating with the desired millet, I just patiently listen to my participants and their needs. Thankfully, these are the moments that push me to strive for more and I feel blessed for the choices I made.
Every recipe has a story to tell. Recently, I participated in a leading home appliance brand’s pan-India cooking contest on super-foods. My recipe was shortlisted at the third spot among the top 40 out of thousands of entries. The results did make my day, but what delighted me more was the memory of what went behind conceiving it.
For these baked millet spring rolls, I remember having a heart-to-heart with a worried mom who wanted to incorporate Ragi (finger millet) in her daughter’s diet. For its high calcium content, of course. The teeanage diva, on the other hand, believed only in contemporary diets, exotic ingredients, exorbitantly priced sauces and spices, oil-free jazz and, in short, everything that would make a mom concerned.
So, introducing local, desi grain in the most contemporary way on her platter was a challenge that I was excited to accept. And this is how Baked Ragi Spring Rolls with Beetroot and Cheese Stuffing was born. To add to the gourmet feel, I made the mother-daughter duo happy with a colourful Pineapple Salsa as a side.
Sharing my step by step recipe, I want to point out that the more you accept millets in your diet, the more you will love its simplicity. You can do anything with millets. They are the coarse grains and when powdered, they make for the best flours, with varied textures. I believe my journey with millets and towards a healthier life is a most satisfying one.
Baked Ragi Spring Rolls with Beetroot and Cheese Stuffing and Pineapple Salsa
Ingredients for dough (makes 24 Spring rolls)
1 cup – Pre-roasted Ragi flour
1 cup – Refined flour (or whole wheat flour)
1tsp – Baking powder
1tbsp – Oil
Rock salt to taste
Method for the dough:
*Combine all the ingredients for the dough into a large wide bowl and knead well, adding a little water at a time to make a smooth dough.
*Once the dough comes together, keep kneading for about five minutes to make it smooth and elastic, getting the gluten from wheat flour together with the millet.
*The spring roll dough should not be sticky. Seal the dough in an airtight container and let it rest for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
*The dough will steam up and become soft and easy to work with.
Step-by-step method for the Spring Roll Sheet:
*Divide the dough into 24 portions and form balls.
*Take 2 dough balls and roll each into small circles of puri size. To one circle, apply some oil all over and dust some flour.
*Cover the non-oiled rolled circle over the oiled and flour-dusted circle.
*Now roll this double circle carefully to form a bigger circle. Almost the size of a chapati.
*On a low flame, heat a griddle and place the double chapati over it. After a minute you will see a few bubbles forming. This is when you need to flip it quickly and cook on the other side for a few seconds only. Continue this process for the rest of the dough balls.
* Once cooled, with the help of a pizza cutter, cut sides of each double chapati to form a square. Let’s call these double sheet squares.
*Now take one double sheet at a time, separate both layers by pulling it carefully apart. Be very careful.
*Repeat this process for all the remaining doubled sheets and stack them one over another. Use them right away or you can wrap them in kitchen paper and refrigerate for later use.
Ingredients for Stuffing:
1 cup – Grated Beetroot
1/2 cup – Grated Carrot
1/2 cup – Grated Cottage Cheese (Paneer)
2 – Cheese cubes grated
1 – Medium Onion chopped
1tsp – Finely chopped Ginger-Garlic
1 – Finely chopped Green Chilli
Chopped Coriander leaves
1/2tsp – Black Pepper Powder
Rock Salt to taste
2tbsp – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1tsp – Soy Sauce
1tsp – Lemon Juice (or Vinegar)
Method for Stuffing:
*In a pan heat some oil.
* Add finely chopped ginger, garlic, green chillies, put in finely grated beetroot, carrot, coriander leaves, grated paneer, cheese, salt and black pepper.
* Add 1 teaspoon soy sauce and lemon (or vinegar) and let it cook for another two to three minutes till the moisture dries up.
Step-by-step method to fold Spring Rolls and lock with Flaxseed Slurry:
Please note: To nicely fold and lock the spring roll sheet, I have used Flaxseed Slurry (to add to more nutrition). To make flaxseed slurry, just take 2 tbsp Flaxmeal (roasted and powdered flaxseeds), add half a cup water and let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes. You will see a gelatinous mixture is ready.
*Take a spring roll sheet square.
*Place it in front of you with the pointed edge towards you; the square should look like a rhombus (diamond).
*Now at the corner towards you, place sufficient beetroot cheese stuffing.
*Lift up the pointed corner and roll the sheet once, enveloping the stuffing.
*Now fold the edges and seal them using the flaxseed slurry.
*Roll again and apply a little more flaxseed slurry to the edge to seal it completely.
*Repeat for all sheets.
In a pre-heated oven, bake these spring rolls at 210C for about 8-10 minutes with constant checking and reshuffling.
1 cup – Diced Pineapple
2tbsp – Diced Tomato
2tbsp – Finely chopped Jalapeno Peppers
1tbsp – Minced Onion
1tbsp – Chopped mint-coriander
1tbsp – Fresh Lemon juice
A pinch of Black Pepper
Rock salt to taste
In a small bowl, mix together diced pineapple, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, minced onions, chopped mint-coriander, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Transfer the salsa to the pineapple bowl for serving. Store in the fridge.
Health benefits of Ragi, Beetroot, Pineapple and Flaxseeds
Ragi helps in keeping blood sugar in check. Low in glycemic index, high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, it reduces unnecessary food cravings, thus helping in weight loss. It also improves skin tissue and helps to reduce anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Beetroot is packed with Vitamins A, C, K, beta-carotene, polyphenols, antioxidants and folate, all of which help to boost blood count and immunity. Consumption of beetroot helps lower blood pressure. It has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties that help flush out toxins from the body, which reflects in healthy and glowing skin.
Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acid and fibre. Along with numerous health benefits, flaxseed powder can be used to improve digestive health, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer and may benefit people with diabetes.
Pineapples are rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. They boost the immune system, build strong bones and help in digesting. And, despite their sweetness, pineapples are low in calories.
Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative and healthy cooking workshops for all age groups.