Moraiyo, it sounds like a love song but is actually a millet, and it is a grain I have fallen in love with.
Since being introduced to Moraiyo (Barnyard Millet) by my Mahastrian friends, I have become a fan. It cooks up beautifully, and can be cooked to any texture you like, from separate grains, almost like couscous, to thicker, stoggy texture more akin to the South Indian style pongal. Add spices and perhaps some vegetables, and you have a meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner!
It is a quick and easy recipe to make – a no-fuss but loved breakfast item in this household.
This is also a fasting dish, for those who follow Hindu fasting practices.
You might like to explore other Moraiya dishes, or browse our Kitchari recipes. Our Indian recipes can all be found here and our Indian Essentials are here.. Perhaps some Spring recipes for you? Explore our Early Spring dishes.
Moraiya is composed of tiny, white, round grains. It is often used in place of rice. It is an easily digestible dish that is delicious in its own right. Lightly spiced, it is less vigorous of taste than many Indian dishes, but don’t put it aside because of that. Try this kitchadi with a wet curry like a yoghurt or besan curry, or farali kadhi.
Yoghurt is a wonderful addition to this dish. It is used to give a slight sour tang to the dish, rather than using other souring agents like lemon juice, tamarind, amchur etc.
Moraiya is also known in various Indian languages as sama, moraiyo, mordhan, vari, varai, samak, samvat, vrat ke chawal, kuthiravali in Tamil, oodalu in Kannada, odalu in Telugu, jhangora in Hindi and kavadapullu in Malayalam and Barnyard millet. A grain with many names.
serves 4 – 6, depending on how you use it
1 cup moraiya
1 Tblspn ghee
2 green chillies or to taste (up to 4 green chillies), choppped finely
6 curry leaves
1 tspn cumin seeds
1 cup Indian yoghurt (from an Indian grocer) or use Greek yoghurt
3 – 3.5 cups water
salt to taste
coriander leaves to garnish
Wash the moraiya well and soak in fresh water for 10 minutes. Drain.
Beat the yoghurt with the water until smooth and no lumps of yoghurt remain. Add about 1 tspn salt and mix well.
Heat 1 Tblspn of the ghee in a kadhai or saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and saute for a moment or two.
As the crackle, add the chopped green chillies and curry leaves. They will splutter.
Then add the drained moraiya and stir over the heat. Add the yoghurt and water and bring it back to a slow boil. Turn down the heat to low, cover the pan and allow it to cook slowly. It will be perfectly cooked in 15 – 17 mins.
Fluff up the moraiya with a fork, adding a little more ghee if desired. Cover with the lid again and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
Stir through the chopped coriander leaves and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
Remove the yoghurt and cook in water. Add lemon juice to taste after the moraiya is cooked.
You can add potatoes and roasted peanuts.
For a lighter textured dish, use less water. Begin with 1.5 cups and add more water as needed.