Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Three Techniques For Cooking Samo Seeds Or Vari

Samo seeds or Foxtail millet or Vari is a largely popular seed consumed as replacement for rice during fasting days. We are past the first Shravani Somvar and Shanivar and so here I am publishing this post while it is still useful thru the month long fasting.

In Marathi the uncooked seeds are called Vari and the dehusked, cooked version is called Bhagar. It is also known by the name Vari cha bhaat.

The seed has a yellowish golden husk which is removed and the white gritty Samo seeds are cooked in water. The cooked samo seeds when fluffed look alike to semolina.

I like to cook my samo seeds with bits of potato but you can cook without them.

What prompted me to write this post is queries from family if samo could be cooked in any other way than the traditional 20 min cooking over a gas stove. Some trick to cut time for someone rushing to office after cooking the regular meal for a family and her fasting meal plus packing it for lunch. You see every minute counts in Mumbai.

So here you go you superwoman who juggles so many responsibilities in a day and yet follows traditions with new outlook.

Method 1:Gas stove top cooking

Heat pan. Add 1 teaspoon ghee. Once molten add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and chopped green chili or two. Optionally add diced potato to it. Anything with potato tastes good and its also permitted for fasts. Wash 1 cup of samo seeds. Put the washed seeds into the pan. Coat well with the ghee and cumin seeds. Add the salt and then top up with water. For Gas stove top cooking I use a 1:3 samo seeds to water ratio. Cover and cook till done. The well cooked seed is plump and translucently pale. If the grain is still white it means it is uncooked. Press grain between thumb and first finger to check if cooked thru. This would take about 20 mins to cook well.  See the first picture of Gas stove top cooked Samo seeds.

Method 2:Cooking in the pressure cooker: 

Make the tadka like above. Then add the washed foxtail millet. Top up with 2 times the water and salt. Close the pressure cooker lid and allow just 1 single whistle. Switch off heat. Cool completely. This should take about 10 mins. When I pressure cooked it I added a handful of peanut powder to the rice before fluffing it. This gives a lovely nutty flavor to the rice.

Method 3: Microwave cooking:

In a MW safe dish add ghee, chopped green chilies and cumin in the same proportion as mentioned above. Zap the tadka in the MW for 30 secs. Add the washed samo seeds. Mix well. Add water about 2 times of the Vari and salt. Cook in splurts of 2 mins, stir and put it back. In all cook for 7 mins with covered lid. Again here I added some peanut powder for taste after cooking.

Always fluff up the cooked Bhagar or Vari cha bhaat before serving.

Over the weekend I was in Thal and I have some pics to share and narrate how Nagpanchami is celebrated there. Do come back. I encourage you to share your stories of Shravan too.

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