Barnyard millet – The healthy fasting food of India

Barnyard Millet or Kudiraivali rice is mainly grown in the hilly areas of Uttaranchal, India. Also popular as Samwat ke Chawal, under ideal climes, it is the fastest developing crop, as the yields mature grains within 45 days from sowing.

A good source of highly digestible protein, and also low in calories as compared to other cereals. It not just gives energy but also does not make you feel full after consumption. This yield is free from any major fungal infection, thereby lending itself to great uses in fodder.

Different states, different names:

In Bengali, it is known as ‘shyama’, while in Gujrati it is called as ‘moraiyo’. In Hindi the name goes as ‘sanwa’ and in Kannada as ‘oodalu’, in Tamil ‘kuthiraivolly’ and in Telugu as ‘udalu’.

Setting it apart

The grains of this millet are small and white. This wholesome cereal comes in a round shape and has numerous health benefits. A highly economical plant which is easily available in India. It makes excellent nourishment for those of all ages and is popular as nature’s gift to the modern diet.

Medicinal value

This highly beneficial crop contains vitamin B3. Aids in reducing high blood cholesterol, thereby contributing to better cardiovascular health. Contains a fair amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat, making it a wholesome meal, which is rich food for those suffering from anemia.

It also provides a considerable measure of phosphorus, which aids in strengthening of bones and teeth. Dietitian Shibani Talpade adds, “This millet is rich in iron and has antioxidants that are believed to help reduce chances of colon cancer. It also slows down muscle degeneration.”


Samwat ke Chawal is generally cultivated in a soil which is not very fertile. Partially waterlogged mud, such as low lands near river banks are suitable to grow this crop. Also thrives best on sandy loam to combination soil, having sufficient amount of organic matter.

This can be sown in the first two weeks of July, with the onset of monsoon rains. Transplanting is also done in some places in Maharashtra. Planting seed in rows that are 25 centimeters apart is suggested. In flood-affected areas, it is spread with the first showers of rain by drilling method and harvested before the flood.

Irrigation and Harvesting

Generally, barnyard millet does not require any irrigation. However, if dry spell prevails for a long period, then one process of irrigation should be given at the panicle initiation stage. This stage is the reproductive phase of a crop. However, it is always better to drain out the excess water due to heavy rains.

The grain should be harvested when it is ripe. It is cut from the ground level and stacked in the field for about a week before threshing. This process is done by trampling under the feet of bullocks.

Nutritional Facts

This millet is an appropriate food for patients intolerant to gluten. It is loaded with fibre and Vitamin-B. In a vegetarian diet, this cereal provides a high source of iron and is a must-required grain for those who have low blood hemoglobin count. Those who are on a weight reduction program can take this type of food and stay benefited as this energy giving food does not make you feel bloated after eating.

Nutrition in 100 grams of Barnyard Millet




Crude Fibre





Mineral Matter








Barnyard Millet Delights

As this grain is starchy and turns sticky when cooked, it is ideal to prepare kheer and such sweet items. This millet can also be used in desserts such as halwa, sweet kolukattai, kheer adhirasam, kesari and sweet adai. Noodles can be made from this millet for longer shelf life.

It can be given as porridge or kheer to infants between 6-8 months and as cheela, dosa, idli for toddlers above one year.
Whole grains of barnyard millets are commonly used to prepare upma, khichdi, and pulav, especially during the fasting days.
In South India, it is incorporated in breakfast as idli, dosa, uppma. Whereas, in other regions, the delicacy is presented as chapathi, kharka and roti, as it is highly beneficial.
Lastly, in India, it is also used to make snacks like vadai, pakoda, ribbon pakoda, hot kolukattai, murukku and papad.

This delicious millet is a wholesome food for a daily meal consumption and even during fasting days, mainly when festivals are celebrated. It can be a good substitute for a lot of day to day recipes to keep your family fit and healthy.

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