Ragi Rice Balls And Ragi Porridge

When I read the word ‘endangered recipes’  in the FAHC announcement, the first dish I thought of  was ‘kali'(களி). Kali is a ball made with ragi -rice mixture and koozh (கூழ்) is the porridge form of it.

Ragi known as finger millet is considered  the poor man’s diet. In many tamil  cinemas you can hear the hero saying his lover that ‘I will work hard and atleast earn you a  ragi porridge all my life’. (மூட்டை தூக்கியாச்சும் உனக்கு வாழ்க்கை முழுக்க கூழ் ஊத்றேன் kind of dialogues)! The reason for this is that ragi does not require much irrigation and so available for a cheaper price. (Not in US – a pound of ragi is nearly $2 , which is 5 times the price of rice sold here.)

I have heard that my grandma used to make this forour farm workers in a large scale. She used a tennis bat shaped wooden tool to make the balls and would use her other hand to shape the steam hot balls. That was a time when rice was considered to be a luxury food for the common man. So, if it is your lucky day, you get rice added in your kali or else it is just the ragi cooked and shaped as balls.(This is called the orumavu kali).

The time changes, the scenes have changed and  now even my mom does not know how to do this kali and everytime my neighbours do it for us, as we (my brothers and I ) love it. Though my mom know not how to make them, she will be always in the tug of war  with my brothers and me  to share the kali. And we purposely preserve a ball for making the ‘piece of heaven ‘ porridge, called koozh in tamil.  I learnt this dish from my husband’s athai (father’s sister)  who taught me a lighter technology  to get the same great taste.

Ragi rice balls/Kezhvaragu kali/ragi mudda :

Ingredients :

Sona masoori rice/ broken raw rice (Noi arisi)- 1 cup

Ragi flour- 1 cup

Salt to taste

Ragi flour heaped on cooked rice


Wash and soak the rice for 1/2 hr. In a large pot, boil about  3 cups of water, add rice and let it cook well. When it is cooked, add ragi flour as a heap with salt and cover with a lid. Let it cook for another 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon stir continuously and vigorously, without letting any lumps to form. When the mix comes together, turn off the heat. Take a stainless silver / nonstick bowl , sprinkle a tablespoon of water (this prevents the kali sticking to the sides ), drop a big scoop of mix into. Swirl it fast to give the ball a good shape.Transfer  to the serving dish. Serve with a dallop of ghee (optional) and keerai (spinach dall – recipe follows..) /inji poondu kuzhambhu / varutha paruppu kuzhambhu.

Ragi rice balls/ kelvaragu kali

Kezhvaragu  koozh:

There are other ways of doing this, yet this is easiest , atleast to me. Soak the ragi balls (cooked as above) in water over night. The balls need to be just covered in water. In the next day morning, using your beautiful hands  homogenise (a great technique we use every day to make rasam )  the balls, adding  yogurt/ buttermilk  and salt according to your taste. Adjust the thickness to that a smoothie. This energy drink could be as such taken, but always we add some attractions  like lemon pickle/ raw pearl onion/ fresh peanuts. As fresh  peanuts were not available, I soaked the dried peanuts overnight and added to the koozh.

Kelvaragu Koozh/ ragi porridge

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20 thoughts on “Ragi Rice Balls And Ragi Porridge”

  1. Menu Today says:

    Body cooling and Healthy drink.
    I like to have with keerai sambar.
    Happy Chirstmas:-)

  2. swapna says:

    hai lakshmi
    nice raagi mudda.indeed very good for health.when i was in bangoloore one of my friend used to prepare this..i tried this once..liked it..thanks for sharing.happy holidays to u..:-)

  3. Asha says:

    Hi Lakshmi.I have a ragi mudde and radish Gojju recipe in my recipe index!Check it out.
    My gradparents make this without the rice Mysore style.Love the sambar there.Radish gojju goes very well too.Try it.
    Thank you so much for this.Some people get ashamed to show recipes like this but I am proud that we are saving our heritage!:)

  4. Arjuna says:

    My mother-in-law makes this ragi mudda, I have never tried it before but I heard that it is the healthiest energy food available..

  5. mandira says:

    Wow, this looks really healthy and delicious too. I have never tried this before but would love to some day!

  6. sri says:

    lakshmi use to make ragi with milk and i loved that…will try ragi munda…is healthy and looks delicious.

  7. just for fun says:

    I love ragi. Very healthy. thanks for sharing it. Will try your version. my mom’s favorite koozh.

    Happy holidays

  8. lakshmiammal says:

    Hi MT,
    Sure it is a highly healthy food!

    Thanks for mentioning about your post. I never happened to see that biiiiiig recipe index of yours. Wow what could I say about it!Thanks again.

    Arjuna, Swapna, Mandira,
    Do try this . It is healthy as well as tasty.

    We also used to make kanji(porridge) with milk for kids. Very delicious. Greater taste if you add our natural sweetener jaggery.

    Koozh is being the favourite for three generations. Now even my son loves it. HaHa!

  9. Sankar says:

    Today at home prepared raagi koolz (cooked raagi+butter milk) + side dish fried onion+green silly.


    Sankar – Singapore

  10. ramya bharath says:

    My husband loved this. They say, the way to a mans heart is from the tummy ! This is so true. amamzing recepie! thanks. My husband and I thank you for the raagi kaali.
    ramya bharath

  11. Sebastian says:

    There is a mistaken notion that ragi has less carbohydrates in it, and hence it is suited for diabetics. But the real fact is, ragi has the same amount of carbs like reice. in India, the diabetics switch over to a ragi diet ,thinking that it is beneficial ,compared to rice. But I doubt it.

    1. Sukumar Sivaraman says:

      It fills up your tummy and this helps you eat less carb and hence good for diabetes.

  12. athi says:

    i was looking for the recipe to make it for my grandpa he realy love to drink koozh…thnx a lot…:)

  13. kanmanibala says:

    I never eat it before but I prepared easily ate and serve to all.my mom and my husband told wow my daughter was one and half year she like and drink koozh very much

  14. priyancka says:

    this is great, thank you very much 🙂

  15. chaithanya gowri says:

    really super myself and my daughter taruni loves very much

  16. I am not a reader of recipie blogs. But this one is special. Crisp clear with instructions and pictures. Thanks for keeping the tradition alive.

  17. mary loyola says:

    i like to make the ragi ball. thanks for the recipe

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