For almost 5 months, we did not introduce any external food to my daughter and she was fed on milk alone. However, since her 5th month, we introduced light foods like juice and mashed bananas. I had to get back to work, which meant feeding her in my absence was a challenge. We put her on external semi solids in her 6th month, with our baby growing from an infant to a toddler, only milk would not suffice for her growth.
My mom often teases me that I had strong affinity toward food since my birth. While most babies easily fuss about food and expect variety in terms of colors and flavors, I would happily take what ever was fed to me.
One of the most common baby foods made with utmost care and regard is this Ragi Manni which simply translates to Finger Millet Pudding. Finger Millet, called as Ragi in Kannada is very nutritious as it's gluten-free and high in proteins, minerals, calcium and fibre. Ragi Manni is one of the best food you can begin to feed your baby with. It has a semi solid consistency and a texture similar to pudding.
It took me deal of an effort to make this brown slush look presentable. I mean how good can a porridge look otherwise? Left undisturbed for a few minutes, you know there's an ugly layer that forms on top making it totally unpresentable.
Ragi - 1/2 kg
Handful of Almonds
Wash and soak ragi millet for 8-10 hours or overnight. Drain the water out completely. Tie the soaked ragi in a thin cotton cloth like that of muslin and hang them in a cool, dry place to germinate. Within next day or two you should see the millet sprout. Once sprouted, spread them on a clean plate and allow to dry in shade. Soak almonds for a couple of hours. Drain the water and skin them. Allow the almonds to dry along with the millet.
Heat up an iron pan to medium low flame and gently roast the sprouted millet and almonds till it pops. Since this is a baby food, be careful not to let them burn. It may take some time, but be patient. Once roasted, allow them to cool down completely. Using a heavy duty grinder, grind it into fine powder. Store this powder in a clean, dry, airtight container.
Prepare the baby food:
There are two ways we make this. Sweet and Salt version. My daughter has less of sweet tooth and enjoys the salt version better.
Dissolve 1 teaspoon of ragi powder in milk ensuring there are no lumps. Heat this on a low flame till ragi is cooked and it thickens. Heat through well stirring constantly. Once completely cooked, add in sugar or jaggery to taste. I use sugar since the jaggery often has dust and many impurities. Allow to cool and serve to your baby.
For salty version, dissolve 1 teaspoon of ragi powder in 1/2 cup of water. Bring this to a boil, stirring on a low flame. Once thickened and completely cooked add salt to taste. Allow to come to room temperature. Add in yogurt to this prepared ragi, whisk well and serve to your baby.