Ragi Mudde With Upsaaru: Millet Balls Paired With Lentil Soup
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Ragi or bajra is an energy-giving and fulfilling cereal incorporated into the traditional cuisine of various communities. If Punjab has Bajre Ki Roti and Sarson Da Saag, the rural folks of Karnataka prefer to have breakfast with the kicking and yet soothing Ragi Mudde with Upsaaru. Ragi Mudde may feel like earthy, neutral and bland tasting cooked soft balls made of ragi or bajra flour and water. But the full taste of Mudde comes alive when eaten in combination with upsaaru. 

Upsaaru? What is that? It’s a humble-looking toor dal curry packed with various flavours of the ground masala or Khara which has the spiciness and pungentness of chillies and black pepper, cumin seeds, and coriander. 

Ragi Mudde means the lumps of ragi, made in the form of balls which is considered a wholesome meal in itself. It is also known as ragi sangati or kali and is consumed in the breakfast in Karnataka to Northeast. In Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Rayalaseema, Ragi Muddi is highly popular in the rural regions. Northeast, Nepal, and Bhutan have their own version of Dhindo made of flour, ghee, salt and sugar. 

Mudde does not have a very strong taste and is not chewed. These balls are eaten after crumpling into smaller pieces using fingers and immersing into the Saaru, chutney or Gojju. Ragi Mudde is gluten free, rich in fibre, amino acids and has more polyphenols than the other grains which helps in controlling blood sugar levels. 

The word uppsaaru is composed of two words, uppu meaning salt and essaru meaning boiling. The dish involves boiling of cooked and ground toor dal mixed with Khara or spicy ground masala made with green and red chillies, coriander, cumin seeds, and black pepper. This dal curry is popular and a staple in Bengaluru and Mysuru.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Servings: 3 pieces


For the ragi mudde:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup finger millet flour

For the upsaaru:

  • 2 cups of water saved after cooking the toor dal 
  • ¾ tsp salt 
  • 2 tbsp coconut 
  • 2 tbsp cooked lentils 
  • 1½ tbsp upsaaru khara

For the upsaaru khara:

  • 4-5 spicy red chillies
  • 3 green chillies
  • ½ tsp black pepper 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 10-15 garlic cloves 
  • ½ cup coriander leaves 
  • ½ tsp salt


  • Heat water in a pan. Then, add ragi flour to it and mix well to combine with the water.
  • Cook on low flame and keep stirring the mixture, as it starts to thicken and becomes thick like a dough. 
  • Then pour 1 tbsp water, cover and cook for a minute and turn off the flame. 
  • Then grease a big spoon with a tsp of oil and take out ragi mudde paste with it and place on a plate.
  • Then, wet your palms and make round balls out of the paste.
  • For preparing upsaaru, cook toor dal in a cooker up to three whistles and separate the lentils from the water and save the water.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the khara or ground masala by grinding chillies, black pepper, cumin seeds, black pepper, garlic cloves, coriander leaves and salt to a coarse paste. Keep this aside.
  • Then grind cooked toor dal, coconut and the ground Khara masala together to form a fine paste.
  • Now heat a pan, add the water from the cooked toor dal, and add the toor dal paste to it.
  • Stir this mixture, add salt to it and let it come to a boil. Turn off the flame.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Ragi Mudde.