Janmashtami fast: Get an energy dose with these ‘sama ke chawal’ recipes

Fasting on Krishna Janmashtami? Put your hunger pangs to rest with these samak rice recipes. Barnyard millet is a great source of energy!
Eating rice for breakfast can be healthy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Vanshika Sharma Updated: 18 Aug 2022, 18:04 pm IST

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On Janmashtami, an annual Hindu festival which celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, several people observe a fast. They abstain from eating cereal, grains, onions and garlic, and stick to only certain foods and fruits. Samak rice or barnyard millet, also colloquially known as ‘vrat ke chawal’ or ‘sama ke chawal’, is one of the more popular foods when people choose what to eat in a Janmashtami fast. Come, let us know the benefits of this superfood and how to make samak rice.

This dish is also prepared on other festivals and auspicious times of the Hindu calendar, such as Navratri, Ekadashi and Mahashivratri.

On Janmashtami, samak rice can be eaten as a meal in itself. This barnyard millet is extensively grown in nations like India, Japan, and Korea. According to a survey, India is the world’s top producer of small millet varieties like samak rice.

How to add samak rice to your diet:

Here are some Janmashtami special vrat recipes which are healthy and wholesome!

Eat samak rice on your Janmashtami fast, Image courtesy: Shutterstock

1. Simple samak rice pulao

Samak rice: 1 cup
Cumin: 1 tsp
Cardamom: 3 pods
Pepper: 1/2 tsp
Ginger: 1 inch chopped
Chilli: 2 slit
Potato: Half cubed
Carrot: Half cubed
Peanut: 2 tsp
Dry coconut
Makhana (fox nuts)
Lemon juice

* Take a bowl of samak rice and add water to it and soak it for 20 minutes.
* Take a pan and add 1 tbsp ghee to it. Add cumin, cardamom and pepper to it and sauté at low flame till it turns aromatic.* Then, add finely chopped ginger, 2 slits of chilli and sauté them at medium flame.
* Now, add potato and carrot, sauté for 3 minutes till they’re half cooked.
* Add well soaked samak rice to it and sauté for 1 minute.
* Add 2 cups of water to the pan, some half tsp rock salt, half tsp pepper powder and mix well. Cover it and let it cook for 15 minutes.
* Take another pan and add 2 tbsp ghee, add peanuts and sauté at low flame till it turns crunchy. Then add 2 tbsp dry coconut and half cup makhana (fox nuts) and roast at low flame till it turns crunchy.
* Add these roasted nuts to the rice and garnish it with coriander

Your samak rice pulao with the goodness of nuts and makhana are ready.

2. Samak rice khichdi

This interesting recipe comes from Shubhra Chauhan Bisen via an Instagram post. If you’re looking for something to eat while fasting, this may be a fantastic choice.

Samak rice
Cumin seeds
Green chilli
Chopped potato
Chopped tomato
Coriander leaves
Black pepper powder
Red chilli powder
Fasting salt – To tast

* Heat 2 tbsp ghee in the pressure cooker.
* Add 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tbsp chopped green chilli. Let them sizzle a bit.
* Add chopped 1 chopped potatoes and 1 big-sized chopped tomatoes.
* Add chopped coriander leaves (you can also add veggies of your choice if you aren’t fasting)
* Add 1/4 tsp black pepper powder, half tsp red chilli powder, or fasting salt. You could use normal salt if you’re not on a fast.
* Mix well for about 2 minutes.
* Now add washed 1 cup samak rice/ barnyard millet.
* Add 3 or 4 Cups of water. (if you want it a little thick, add 3 cups of water)
* Add Chopped Coriander leaves.
* Again add 1 tbsp of ghee.
* Cover the lid and give it 2 whistles on medium flame.
* Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves.
* Serve hot!

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Health benefits of samak rice

Now that you know two special recipes for Janmashtami, let us tell you about some health benefits of samak rice.

Health Shots spoke to well-known nutritionist and author Kavita Devgan to know more about it. She says, “Barnyard millet has high protein components as compared to many other cereals. It’s actually a seed and not a grain, and it is high in calcium, magnesium and potassium. Moreover, it is gluten-free and has a lot of health advantages.”

1. Helps lower cholesterol levels

Samak rice contains a lot of resistant starch, which, functions like fibre and lowers inflammation by enhancing the health of gut bacteria. This lowers LDL, or bad cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in the body.

2. Helps maintain blood sugar levels

Samak rice is good for diabetic patients as it helps in maintaining blood sugar levels of the body.

3. Helps prevent the risk of anaemia

Anaemia is a disorder where there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells in the blood. The organs of the body receive less oxygen as a result of this. Around the world, anaemia deficiency is a problem that many women face.

This millet has high concentration of iron which can assist the consumer maintain the body’s iron levels. It contains iron, which may also assist the body perform its essential activities better like control body temperature, and support respiratory health.

4. Prevents digestive problems

Samak rice is beneficial for digestive issues such flatulence, bloating, stomach pain, and poor digestion, as well as disorders associated to constipation. This rice can help keep your digestive system healthy and prevent the aforementioned conditions.

5. Good for people with celiac disease

Celiac disease is an immunological response to consuming the protein gluten, which is present in wheat, barley, and rye. Barnyard millet contains no gluten and little calories. Diets containing gluten are absolutely forbidden for anyone with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Samak rice can be a healthy meal option for people with the aforementioned health problem because it is gluten-free.

Vanshika Sharma

A budding journalist, I have a different perspective in life which is largely positive and vibrant. I like putting down my thoughts on different topics, especially on healthy lifestyle and mental well-being. ...Read More

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