Monday, May 26, 2014

Baby Food: Vadda Ragi Hittu / Finger Millet Malt

It's amazing how time flies in a rocket speed, especially when it comes to babies. It is as if it were yesterday that I was soooo pregnant, counting days till the due date, and waiting desperately to the little naughty fellow inside, who was making it so difficult for me to eat or sleep! And Adu is now already seven months old! Seven months!! How soon did the time fly off??

But I'm glad I'm living every single moment with him, enjoying all that he does, most of the time. I can sit for hours with him, just admiring this little sweet fellow and feel blessed! May be this is what is called Motherhood!

I started giving him solids after he completed six months, and boy, was he eager to start eating! He used to see us all eat and drink various things, especially when in India, with lot of people around. He had naturally become curious about this 'eating' business! I didn't want to start solids till we travelled back here, and till he completed six months and so poor he, had to wait. He however, had started his eating business with the occasional kheers/payasas that the ajjis specially made dairy free and fed him. He used to devour it, his ajjis would beam in joy, while I would worry he'd reject his baby foods later if he got used to the sweet taste first. He was, however, quite adaptable, even in this case and accepted my salt-less, sugar-less preparations equally well.

Mom prepared two varieties of ragi based malt for him, so that it'd be easy for me back here. Here's the first one, with just ragi / finger millet, sprouted, powdered and sieved with a cloth. Ragi is considered one of the best home made foods for infants in Karnataka, Andhra and Maharashtra. This is a wonderful food for starting on solids for the following reasons:

  • Food quality of finger millet is enhanced by sprouting finger millet.
  • Food prepared from malt is easily digestible
  • By sprouting, salts in finger millet are easily available to the body
  • Water soluble vitamins will increase and the quantity of anti nutrients will decrease
  • Sprouted finger millet possesses maximum energy/calorie and high density nutrients.

Adu loved his first food and was eagerly looking forward to his meal times as long as I gave him only this malt. The pack Amma had sent lasted for about 3 weeks after which I started with 'Ragi Sari', another malt with ragi, and other grains.

Vadda Ragi Hittu / Finger millet Malt

Ragi - 1 kg (Amma had made with only about half a kilo of ragi, which didn't last long)

  • Wash cleaned ragi and soak it in water for 24 hours
  • Drain the water in a colander and cover it loosely.
  • Allow it to sprout for one full fay or a little more if the weather is cold.
  • Dry sprouted ragi in shade completely till all the wetness is gone.
  • Roast it in a pan on a low flame till it gives aroma
  • Cool and grind it to fine powder.
  • Sieve it with a fine cloth, discarding the residue (or mix it with any other flours used for adults or add to dosa batter, rather than just wasting it)
  • Store it in an air tight container

Preparing the Malt:

Ragi malt (Vadda ragi hittu) - 1 tsp
Milk + Water - ¼ cup (See notes)
Ghee or oil – 1 tsp (I use oil as Adu has milk-protein allergy)

  • In a small saucepan, mix the ragi malt and water (and milk if using)
  • Bring it to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Once it starts bubbling, take it out from heat, add the ghee/oil and mix.
  • If the consistency feels thick, thin it out in a bit more boiled water
  • Let it cool down to luke warm to feed the baby
  • I use water and a spoonful of his milk-free formula powder, as Adu is allergic to cow's milk. Do the same if you do not want to introduce cows milk to your baby under one year.
  • You can also use breast milk in place of milk or formula. In this case, use lesser water and thin it out with BM at the end
  • Adjust the quantity of the malt and the consistency as per your baby's appetite and preference. You'll get a hang in a couple of days.
  • Using one tsp of the powder is just enough for Adu.
  • Salt and sugar are not recommended for babies till one year, so I avoid using both, except on rare occasions, when I add a wee bit.


  1. Hi. .. its very useful for me. . As m about to start solids for my baby this coming month. .. Can I add almonds in it? Kindly do reply.

    1. Hello! Sorry for the delay in responding... Yes! You can add almonds also... But make sure your kid is not allergic to nuts, by giving a little bit of almond flour with something first and then proceed. You can lightly toast the almonds and powder it together with the rest of the ingredients. Good luck!

  2. Hi. .. Can I add almonds also? Please do reply.
    Thank you.

  3. Hey, what oil did u add for this mix.. I don't want to ghee as well.. Did u do baby led weaning for Ur son?

    1. My son's nurse always recommended to use Rapeseed oil for him. I used rapeseed and sunflower as these were the ones i use for regular cooking and he was not allergic to both these. Hope it helps...


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