Samak Rice Pulao (Barnyard Millet Recipe)

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Not really rice, but a seed, samak/sama/samvat/samo/bhagar or barnyard millet is a popular ingredient, especially used in dishes made during the religious Hindu fasting days in India. For instance, this Samak Rice (also known as Sama ke Chawal ka Pulao or Vrat ke Chawal ka Pulao or Samvat Pulao) is made as vrat food particularly during Navratri and Ekadashi time of the year. Since fit as a fasting food, this Barnyard Millet recipe also is free of onion, garlic and gluten.

barnyard millet recipe of samak rice pulao served in a light blue rimmed bowl with a spoon inside it and text layovers.

What is Samak Rice

Sama, samak, samo or samvat is also referred to as vrat ke chawal, given that it is the perfect choice of ingredient to make delicious dishes for religious vrats or fasts. During fasting, we abstain from cereal grains.

So, to make pulao or other rice-based dishes, samak is used in place of the regular rice. In English, samak or samvat rice is called as Barnyard Millet.

Barnyard Millet is also considered as a healthy choice as it is rich in fibre and proteins. It also has less calories and thus, is ideal for people with diabetes. Just like this Samak Rice Pulao recipe, there is a varied list of recipes that can be made with sama.

These seeds are tiny with a creamish color on them (image below). Other local names of sama include vari, varai, sanwa, bhagar, moraiyo, jhangora, samwa and swang.

It is no way related to any kind of rice. So, never get confused with the word ‘chawal or rice’ associated with it.

barnyard millet in a steel bowl.

About Banyard Millet Pulao Recipe

Since samak or barnyard millet is a nutritious option for our health as well, this makes it all the more an eligible, gluten-free choice of ingredient during fasting or vrat days.

On these days, we need to eat food which is filling as well as light, and also gives us the right kind of energy to sustain long fasting hours. This Sama Ke Chawal Pulao does just this. Have it as it is or with the Vrat Ki Kadhi.

Generally, at home, I make this Samak Rice Pulao, the Samvat Rice Khichdi and other similar dishes with barnyard millet.

But you can even try other equally delectable barnyard millet recipe like this Sama Rice Idli and also the sama rice kheer recipe.

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In India, Fasting Rules vary from community to community. So, I would always advise you to check with the members of your family before finalizing the menu.

While making this Barnyard Millet recipe, I add whole spices and curry leaves. But some families, may not be using these while fasting.

In that case, you can skip both the whole spices and curry leaves. If you’re still in doubt about the fasting dos and don’ts, make sure to clarify those by speaking to elders in your family. This always helps.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Samak Rice Pulao


1. Rinse 1 cup of sama chawal (barnyard millet or samvat rice) a couple of times in water like the way we rinse regular white rice.

rinsing sama chawal in water.

2. Soak in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes. After the soaking time is over, drain all the water and set aside the barnyard millet.

soaking rinsed sama chawal in water.

3. Dry roast 2 tablespoons peanuts on a pan or in the oven till crunchy.

dry roasting peanuts in a pan.

4. Coarsely powder the roasted peanuts in a mortar-pestle or in a dry grinder.

roasted peanuts ground coarsely.

5. Measure all the other ingredients and keep them ready for making Samak Rice Pulao.

ingredients kept ready for sama ke chawal ka pulao.

Sauté Spices, Herbs, Potatoes

6. Heat 2 tablespoons oil or ghee in a 3 litre pressure cooker. Keep heat to low or medium-low. I have used ghee, but you can use oil instead.

heating ghee in a pan.

7. Add all the whole spices – 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ½ inch cinnamon stick, 2 to 3 cloves, 2 green cardamoms and 3 to 4 black peppercorns.

whole spices added in the hot ghee.

8. Fry till the oil becomes fragrant and the cumin seeds crackle.

sautéing spices in hot ghee.

9. Then, add crushed ginger-green chili paste made from 1 inch peeled ginger and 1 green chili.

You can crush them in a mortar pestle and set aside before you begin cooking the samvat rice pulao.

ginger-green chili paste added in the pan.

10. Sauté for half a minute on low heat.

sautéing ginger-green chili paste with spices.

11. Add 2 medium-sized peeled and cubed potatoes.

cubed potatoes added in the pan.

12. Also, add 8 to 10 curry leaves and 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves.

curry leaves and coriander leaves added to the potatoes.

13. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on low heat.

sautéing potato mixture.

14. Now, add the coarsely ground roasted peanuts.

coarsely ground roasted peanuts added to the pan.

15. Stir and mix well.

ground peanuts mixed well with the potato mixture.

Add & Sauté Barnyard Millet

16. Add the soaked sama chawal or barnyard millet to the sautéed mixture.

drained sama chawal added to the potato mixture.

17. Stir and mix well.

sama chawal stirred well with the potato mixture.

18. Add 2.5 cups water or as required. I added 3 cups of water, as I wanted a softer texture. For a separate texture 2.5 cups of water works well.

water added to the sama chawal-potato mixture.

19. Next, add edible rock salt as required.

rock salt added to the pan.

Make Samak Rice Pulao

20. Pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles or till the water is absorbed and the barynard millet is softened and cooked well.

Let the pressure drop naturally in the cooker and then only open the lid. Gently fluff and serve.

pressure cooked sama ke chawal ka pulao.

21. While the pulao is cooking, you can dry roast 8 to 10 cashews and 8 to 10 chopped almonds.

dry roasting cashews and chopped almonds.

22. Before serving the Samak Rice Pulao, garnish with the roasted cashews, almonds and some coriander leaves.

You can also sprinkle some lemon juice in the pulao or you can keep some lemon wedges by the side of the pulao.

sama ke chawal ka pulao garnished with roasted cashews, almonds and coriander leaves.

24. You can have enjoy Samak Rice Pulao plain or with plain curd or yogurt, vrat ki kadhi or other fasting recipes like Vrat Ke Aloo, Aloo Tamatar Sabzi, Vrat Ke Dahi Aloo, dahi arbi, etc.

sama ke chawal ka pulao served in a light blue rimmed bowl with 2 lemon wedges kept on the top left side and text layovers.

Expert Tips

  1. Vegetables that can be added in this recipe when not making it for vrat or fasts: green peas, cauliflower, carrots and french beans.
  2. Make sure to use barnyard millet that is fresh and within it shelf life. Aged millet will take more time to cook and can even go rancid or taste bitter.
  3. Since I wanted a soft texture in the samak rice, I added 3 cups water. If you want to have a more separate texture, add 2.5 cups or lesser, whichever gives you the desired consistency.
  4. You can cook this Vrat Ke Chawal Ka Pulao in oil or ghee. With ghee the pulao tastes better.
  5. This barnyard millet recipe can be made in a pot or pan and also in the Instant Pot.
  6. While serving the Samvat Rice Pulao, you can garnish with coriander leaves or nuts. You can also add some lemon juice or keep lemon wedges on the side of the pulao.

More Fasting Recipes To Try!

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vrat ke chawal ka pulao, samvat pulao recipe

Samak Rice Pulao (Barnyard Millet Recipe)

Samak Rice Pulao is a simple, healthy and tasty pulao made during Hindu fasting days like Navratri and Ekadashi. Also known as samak/sama/samvat/samo/bhagar and Barnyard Millet in English, this is a popular ingredient used in dishes that are made during the religious fasting days in India.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Cuisine North Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3


To Soak

  • 1 cup sama ke chawal or vrat ke chawal or samvat rice or samak rice or barnyard millet
  • water as required, for soaking

To Crush In Mortar Pestle

  • 1 inch ginger – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli – roughly chopped

To Roast

  • 2 tablespoons peanuts

More Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon Ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 3 to 4 black peppercorns
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves – chopped
  • 2 potatoes – medium-sized, peeled and cubed
  • 2.5 to 3 cups water or add as needed
  • rock salt (edible and food grade) as required (sendha namak)

For Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves – chopped
  • 8 to 10 cashews
  • 8 to 10 almonds – sliced
  • lemon juice or lemon wedges, as required



  • Rinse the samak rice or barnyard millet a couple of times in water like the way we rinse rice.
  • Soak in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • After 20 to 30 minutes, drain all the water and set the soaked barnyard millet aside.
  • Dry roast the peanuts on a pan or in the oven till they become crunchy.
  • Coarsely powder them in a mortar-pestle or in a dry grinder.
  • Crush the ginger and green chilli to a paste in a mortar-pestle. You can crush to a semi-fine or a fine paste.

Make Samak Rice Pulao

  • Heat oil or ghee in a 3 litre pressure cooker. Keep the heat to low or medium-low.
  • Add all the whole spices – cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and black peppercorns.
  • Fry till the oil become fragrant and the cumin crackles.
  • Add the crushed ginger-green chilli paste and sauté for half a minute on a low heat.
  • Add the cubed potatoes, curry leaves, coriander leaves and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on a low heat.
  • Now add the peanuts powder and stir to combine. Keep heat to a low.
  • Add the samak rice to the sautéed mixture. Mix and stir very well.
  • Add water and salt as required. Pressure cook on medium heat for 4 to 5 whistles or till the water is absorbed and the millet grains are cooked.
  • When the pulao is cooking, you can dry roast the chopped cashews and almonds. 
  • When serving the Samak Rice Pulao, garnish with the the roasted nuts and coriander leaves.
  • When serving also sprinkle some lemon juice in the pulao. You can also keep some lemon wedges by the side of the samvat pulao while serving.


1. If you are not making the samvat pulao for fasting, then you can add peas, cauliflower, beans to the pulao.
2. I wanted the millet grains to have a good soft texture so have added 3 cups water. Please reduce the water to 2.5 cups for a more separate texture.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Samak Rice Pulao (Barnyard Millet Recipe)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 550 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 26mg9%
Sodium 463mg20%
Potassium 748mg21%
Carbohydrates 84g28%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 131IU3%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.4mg27%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.2mg12%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 37mg185%
Vitamin B6 0.5mg25%
Vitamin C 84mg102%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 5µg5%
Calcium 79mg8%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 348µg87%
Iron 6mg33%
Magnesium 144mg36%
Phosphorus 382mg38%
Zinc 4mg27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

ThisSamak Rice Pulao recipe from the archives first published in August 2013 has been updated and republished on October 2023.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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Comments are closed.


  1. I’m impressed with the variety of grains available these days. My maid mentions that it is called ” Bhagar ” in Marathi.

    Thank you. Looks exciting. My first time to try this recipe. Will keep you posted afterwards. Thank you.

    1. Yes! Sama rice is called bhagar in Marathi. I hope you like the recipe and do let me know how it went for you if you get the time. Thanks.

  2. Hi,
    Do you have any recipe for sannas (idlis made either in mangalore or Goa) which have a sweet touch to it.

    1. connie, i have not yet posted sannas. its difficult to get toddy where we are currently based. so i have not made them as yet and not even experimented making them with yeast.

  3. hello Dassana!
    thank you for the best recipes in the world! You are my endless inspiration for cooking and being patient and kind.
    Can i ask 1 question about this recipe? in russia we traditionally cook millet with pumpkin. Can i substitute potato with pumpkin in this recipe? or it wouldn’t be good?
    thank you!5 stars

    1. thank you ksenia. yes you can use pumpkin. with pumpkin though, there will be some sweet notes in the pulao.

  4. Can u plz add some paneer recipes for navratri fasting ….all ur recipes are gr8 ..I had tried many and they are tasty

  5. I am really thankful to you for giving us unlimited and authentic recipes, I have prepared lots of dishes from your recipes and enjoyed taste of different Indian cuisine. Thank you once again, God bless you.5 stars

    1. we are pleased to know this dilip thankyou so much for your kind words and god bless you too 🙂