Bhagar also called Sama ke Chawal, Variche Bhat or Varai is a variety of Millet that is perfect to serve on vrat (Hindu fasting days). Here is how to make it.
About This Recipe
Bhagar is a traditional Indian gluten-free grain and it is a part of the millet family.
It is also known as Moraiyo/ Moraiya in Hindi and Barnyard Millet in English. It is called Bhagar particularly in Maharashtra.
Sama, sama ke chawal, vari, varai, samak, samvat, variche tandul, vrat ke chawal are some of the local names by which this grain is known in different places across India.
Barnyard millet can be cooked in multiple ways. You can make sweets like kheer, phirni, etc using it or savories like this khichdi that I am sharing today.
This grain can be had for vrat as it is gluten-free. Since cereal-based grains are not consumed during the fasting days, bhagar which belongs to the millet family stands out to be a perfect substitute for all sorts of rice dishes that we usually make for lunch and dinner.
Making this millet khichdi is super easy and very quick. Although it is a preferred recipe for vrat days, you can make it any time you want.
If you are making it for non-fasting days, then add a bunch of vegetables of your choice along with potatoes and flavor it with some powdered spices for a taste change.
Bhagar – Use organic barnyard millet for best taste and texture. You will find it in any Indian grocery store.
Ghee – Make this dish in ghee for the best taste. Having said that, you can cook it in oil too.
Potatoes – Potatoes give a nice texture and taste to this khichdi. If you are not making it for fasting days, then you can also add other veggies like beans, cauliflower, carrots, etc.
Green Chilies – Adjust them according to your taste.
Others – You will also need cumin seeds, curry leaves, peanuts, sendha namak (rock salt), water, and cilantro. If making it for non-fasting days, you can use regular salt in place of rock salt.
How To Make Bhagar
Add 1 cup bhagar to a fine-mesh strainer and wash it well under running water. Drain well and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan over medium heat.
Once the ghee is hot, add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 10-12 curry leaves, and 2-3 green chilies (slit into half) and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
Add ¼ cup coarsely crushed peanuts and fry until they turn brown (1-2 minutes).
Add ½ cup peeled and cubed potatoes (½ inch cubes) and saute for a minute.
Now add the washed bhagar and salt to taste to the pan.
Add 2 and ½ cups of water and mix gently.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat until bhagar is softened and all the liquid is absorbed (15-20 minutes).
Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Fluff the bhagar with a fork gently.
Garnish with 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and serve hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make it in a pressure cooker as well. Just follow the exact same recipe in a pressure cooker instead of a kadhai or a pan and cook it for 1 whistle on medium flame.
Apart from making khichdi, bhagar can be used to make a variety of dishes. Here are a few options.
1. Upma – It is quite similar to bhagar khichdi. To make bhagar upma, bhagar is cooked in water and then stir-fried with other ingredients just like we cook poha.
2. Kheer – It is made in the same way as rice kheer. The only difference is that bhagar kheer gets ready in just 10-12 minutes whereas cooking rice kheer takes a lot of time to cook.
3. Dhokla – Bhagar dhokla is made in the same way as rava dhokla. Just replace rava (semolina) with an equal amount of bhagar flour and follow the same steps as you do for making rava dhokla.
4. You can also make dosa, idli, and vada using this grain.
It is traditionally served with shengdana amti (peanut soup) and upasachi batata bhaaji (potato curry made especially for fasting days). Bhagar is high in fiber and carbohydrates and danyachi amti is rich in protein. This combination makes a wholesome meal to serve during fasting days.
Buttermilk, yogurt (dahi), or any raita of your choice also perfectly complements it.
You can store it in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days in the refrigerator. I do not recommend freezing it as it might dry and be tasteless.
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- 1 cup bhagar
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 10-12 whole curry leaves
- 2-3 green chilies (slit into half)
- ¼ cup peanuts (coarsely crushed)
- ½ cup peeled and cubed potatoes (½ inch cubes)
- sendha namak (to taste)
- 2 and ½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (coriander)
- Add bhagar to a fine-mesh strainer and wash it well under running water. Drain well and set aside.
- Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat.
- Once the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, and green chilies and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
- Add peanuts and fry until they turn brown (1-2 minutes).
- Add potatoes and saute for a minute.
- Now add the washed bhagar and salt to taste to the pan.
- Add water and mix gently.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat until bhagar is softened and all the liquid is absorbed (15-20 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork gently. Garnish with 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and serve hot.