According to Ayurveda, it is the best time to eat light, satvik food that your body can easily digest. Rice, a staple across Indian households, is also omitted, for it is a grain.
The nine-day-long Hindu festival of Navratri commenced with full swing on 2nd April. Navratri is one of the biggest Indian festivals that is actually celebrated twice a year on a grand scale. Once during the month of Chaitra (March-April according to the Gregorian calendar) and once during the autumn season, which is called the Sharad Navratri. The festival is dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine manifestations. It is believed that during the Navratri, the warrior Goddess descends upon earth to be with her devotees, many among which conduct special Pujas, and even observe the ritualistic fasts called the Navratri Vrat. This ‘vrat’ is a very special kind of fasting. Not only is one supposed to abstain from meat and alcohol. Those fasting, give up on grains, cereals, pulses and certain vegetables and spices too, which can make things a tad overwhelming. The whole idea behind Navratri fasting is to give your body a break. This is the time when the season is transitioning and it can wreck your body's hot and cold signals. As the body takes time to acclimatize to the new season, immunity takes a beating too. According to Ayurveda, it is the best time to eat light, satvik food that your body can easily digest. Rice, a staple across Indian households, is also omitted, for it is a grain.
How do you prepare your favourite pulao or kheer then? With a vrat-friendly substitute. Samvat ke chawal or samak ke chawal or samo is actually a millet (barnyard millet), which makes it permissible for Navratri fasting. These millets are smaller in size in comparison to rice, and are of off-white in colour.
They can be prepared the same way you prepare rice, and you will get the ‘grainy’ taste too. You can even make a quick pulao with this ‘pseudo rice’. To make this yummy Vrat wala pulao, rinse the sama or barnyard millet in water, just like the way you rinse rice. Then soak it in water for close to 20-30 minutes. Dry roast peanuts, till crunchy, then blend them into a pwoder. Keep it aside. Add whole spices on hot pam greased with ghee. Think: Cumin, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper et al. When cumin crackles add crushed green chillies and ginger. Then add the peanut powder, cubed potatoes, and curry leaves, sautee well. Add soaked sama rice, cook until done.
Here’s the complete recipe, you can try.