Slurrp Exclusive: Aloo Kadhi And Samak Ke Chawal, What Makes This Comfort Food A Navratri Favourite?
Image Credit: Image credit: Andaz, Delhi

Aaye Re Choote Aye, Pujo’r Gondho Aeshe Che..” I woke up humming a popular Bengali rhyme this morning that loosely translates to ‘Come, hurry up, it smells like Puja is here'. The song talks about the peculiar 'scent' and 'sounds' we so fondly associate with the festival, the sweet fragrance of Shiuli flowers, the synchronised beats of Dhaak etc. Interestingly, I always think about the song around September or October, right before it is time for Durga Puja. Not a month before or after. This is what marks the beginning of Puja for me.

Having grown up in Delhi, I have had to take extra leaves to celebrate our one big festival i.e Durga Puja. And that was not all, on days like Ashtami and Navami, I remember running from house to house in my society for Kanjak or Kanya Puja, come back in time, get ready and then go pandal hopping. Things were ‘hectic’, but obviously, I enjoyed every moment of it, who wouldn't really? In one of the Kanjak sit-down meals, I first learned about the idea of ‘Navratri’. Although it is the same deity that is worshipped in both Navratri and Durga Puja, the celebrations are remarkably different. In a Pujo Pandal, you can eat everything that you lay your eyes on, whereas if you are observing a Navratri vrat, you would have to modify your diet a certain way and rule out basic grains like wheat and rice. It was too much information for me to process as a child, so I went back to my favourite part of the Kanjak meal, the Halwa, and I licked the plate clean, a trait I am still infamous about.

Anyhow, the idea of a ‘Navratri vrat’ continued to sound very ‘daunting’ to me, until a few years later, when I had a chance to enjoy a sumptuous meal of Aloo Kadhi and Samak Ke Chawal at my neighbour's place and was blown away by its simple, satiating quality. The kadhi was so soothing that I got up for a refill. Made with a mild yoghurt base, this potato curry had just the appropriate amount of black pepper and green chillies to liven up the fare. Since every ‘kadhi’ is incomplete without its companion ‘chawal’, the void was aptly filled with Samak Ke Chawal, which is not even rice technically; they are boiled, barnyard millets. This comforting meal has made Navratri fasting special for countless devotees across India, especially in North India.

Aloo ki Kadhi is widely prepared in many Hindu households of Delhi, Harayana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh during Navratri and since it is the first day of Navratri today, here’s an exclusive recipe Aloo Kadhi and Samak ke chawal we fetched from Chef Akshay Bhardwaj, Head chef of Andaz Delhi. The chef keeps the recipe simple and satvik, just as it is supposed to be, and high on flavour. Moreover, the Kadhi comprises kuttu ka atta too, to ensure your meal is also very wholesome, especially for those observing the vrat. So, without further ado, let’s get to the recipe.

Recipe: Aloo Ki Kadhi, Stewed Potatoes, Buckwheat and Curd Gravy with Samak Chawal, Boiled Barnyard Millet

Time: 45-59 minutes


  • Potato diced - 80 gm
  • Kuttu ka atta - 20 gm
  • Yoghurt - 150 gm
  • Methi dana - 3 gm
  • Jeera - 3 gm
  • Turmeric - 3 gm
  • Green chili chopped - 5 gm
  • Red chili - 2
  • Chopped coriander - 5 gm
  • Senda namak - 3 gm
  • Oil - 50 ml
  • Samak rice - 100 gm

Method of preparation:

1. Take a bowl and add yoghurt, turmeric, kuttu ka atta, senda namak. Mix it up well and then pour the mixture into a pan and allow it to cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes.

2. Now add diced potatoes and cook until potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Make sure they don’t turn too soft.

3. Take another pan and heat oil, add methi dana, jeera, red chilli, green chilli

4. Add this tempering on top of kadhi; mix well.

5. Bring out your best serving bowl and garnish with chopped coriander and red chilli.

How To Make Samak rice?

1. Wash and soak rice in a bowl for 30 minutes.

2. Cook soaked rice in boiling water until they soften

3. Serve hot with Aloo Ki Kadhi

Wishing you all a very Happy Navratri 2021!