Saturday, March 20, 2010

vrat ka khana ....sama ke chawal ki idli...

Sama ke chawal ki idli or sama ki idli is one of the most frequent meals at my place, fasting or no fasting. Navratri makes it easier as this grain (actually pseudo grain) starts appearing in the stores around this time, more than ever.

Navaratri is a nine day (actually nine nights) period when Devi Durga is worshiped with utmost devotion. I am not sure if I have that devotion towards any God but I have been fasting all nine days of navaratri for 12 years barring the last three years when I could not manage doing the stuff. On the 8th day of navaratri we invite young girls and considering them the embodiment of devi ... wash their feet , offer them prasad of halwa puri and kala chana  ...which is a symbolic worship of devi ...the female God (woman power to me)......this particular ritual has been my favorite thing to do during Navaratris as Mithi used to be very happy to see all the kids around , it used to be a picnic time at my place and many kids would refuse to go home after I miss that time....

Another highlight of Navaratri is the food.....the fasting food is more of feasting that fasting for the people who observe this fast as fried pakoras and pooris made with kootu ka atta (buckwheat flour) and singhare ka atta (water chestnut flour) and lots of potatoes fried in different ways becomes a staple for most of the people...........some people eat nothing during the day and eat these fried savories and ghee laden halwa of nuts for dinner. That is very unhealthy and one should try to consume some fruits, smoothies, lassi and juices during the day and some steamed or shallow fried preparation for dinner. Fasting is meant to detoxify, not to overburden the system..

I had some requests for healthy fasting recipes and I bought the sama ka chawal and some kuttu ka atta ....even though we are not fasting it was not a bad idea to have some sama ke chawal ki idli...

Sama ka chawal is a wild grain and it has a mention in the history too (if the life and times of  Krishna is history) ...Sudama the childhood friend of Krishna was carrying this grain ...Sama in his potli (cloth pouch) when he arrived at the kingdom of Krishna ...not sure if Krishna would recognize him .....and when Krishna hugged him he snatched his potli of sama n enjoyed eating this humble grain as Sudama was treated with the finest delicacies of the palace...........

I could not find a vernacular or botanical name for this grain and if somebody knows, please enlighten me on this........

The procedure of making a steamed idli is very simple as many of us make rawa idi by soaking the rawa in curds for a while and steaming in the idli steamer .

Just soak a cup of sama grains in 1.5 cup of diluted curds or buttermilk with salt to taste ......for at least 3-4 hrs.....the longer it is soaked the better is the taste n texture of the idli......after the soaking time you'll see the grains do not absorb all the liquid ( unlike rawa which absorbs the buttermilk and a smooth batter is formed ), that is all right for this grain as it is a tougher grain and the liquid will be absorbed during steaming...

the ingredients all in one place...
(for 5 medium sized idlis )

sama ke chawal 1 cup
diluted curds or whey (the remaining liquid after making paneer at home) 1.5 cup
salt to taste (rock salt or sendha namak is used during fasting )
ghee to grease the molds


Soak the sama ke chawal in whey or buttermilk... since I make this idly frequently, I took pictures with both.

Here is how it looks with whey...

And this is how it looks with buttermilk or diluted curds...

Now spoon in the batter into idli moulds (each portion including some of the soaking liquid too ) and steam till a skewer comes out clean.....i steamed it in microwave using greased ceramic soup bowls works out neat for me as i need just two large idlis to be steamed for the both of us ......a half 100 ml sized idli needed 1.30 minutes to be cooked should be cooked need to run a spoon or a knife around the steamed idli to ease it out of the bowl........check out how I steam rawa idli in glass or ceramic

Serve hot with any chutney of your choice. I made a chutney with 2 ripe tomatoes steamed in the microwave, 2 tbsp of broken cashew nuts, salt and red chilly powder to taste ............

You'd notice that the texture of sama grains stands out in this idli and it's has a wonderful soft bite........... larger grain size makes it  a little crumbly and it soaks the chutney like a have to try it to believe it...

Hoping to come back tomorrow with another vrat / fasting recipe ....cheers...


  1. Interesting ingredient Never cooked with this before although I have seen it in shops.

  2. Dear sangeeta
    Very nice description of the Navaratra ...and the healthy food option. I eat health food on navaratras though...
    let me find out what is this sama ka chawal
    Have a nice weekend

  3. I too think that fasting is a kind of detox....this idli recipe sounds interesting, very soft and tasty with the chutney.

  4. Very unique...never ever heard of it.... & looks very temptingly demure...... I would love to try this very simple yet elegant for my tummy recipe.....

    Lots of love & Hugs)))))


  5. Yay! You're back! And I'm fasting too! :) :) :)

  6. wonderfull description of Navarathri..We have heard about it, but never knew of it.

    This gram, we use it for making payasam(kheer)...

  7. wow this sure looks healthy...

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  9. samak is barnyard millet. its botanical name is Echinochloa colona.

  10. Thanks Anonymous for the names .
    I like all types of wild millet grains and they should be marketed well in our country i feel. These are so good for the gluten intolerant people.

  11. i agree. these days people have forgotten that these are far nutritionally superior food and traditionally eaten in our culture. now wheat & rice are dominating our psyche. thanks for promoting sumptuous recepies of forgotten foods.

  12. hi, i have been looking for the botanical name of samwat ke chawal, found it here by anonymous. Glad for the idli recipe too.

  13. looks yummy n healthy very innovative will sure try thanks regards.....

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  15. Hi Sangeeta..this is very unique recipe, I have never heard of it before..Will surely try this one during navratri....

    1. Do try this Anamika. It will become a regular vrat ka khana thereafter :-)

  16. Sounds different....will definately try dis.......can i use samak ka atta to make these idlis

    1. I haven't seen samak ka atta but it should work and shouldn't require prolonged soaking time too. Please do let me know if you try this idli with samak ka atta.

  17. Sounds nice.....will surely try i use samak ka atta to make these idlis

  18. That is such a perfect fasting food.. You could link it to my ongoing event - Festive collections for Navratri