Samay Baji- The Vegetarian Way

The origins of Samay Baji take us back to medieval Nepal, where farming engaged a large section of the Newar community. Farmers hard at work had no time to cook or reheat meals in between their tedious work. So they packed simple items like chiura, womchaa, wo: and so on. These items did not need to be reheated, were easy to consume, and filled high nutritional value.


Since it’s humble beginnings, Samay Baji has grown to become an essential Newari cuisine. Today, it can be eaten as a daily meal or be served in large Newari feasts locally known as bhoj. It is also used as offerings to gods during festive seasons. After the food has been used as an offering, it is served to the people as blessed food. The various components that make up Samay baji are associated with good luck, wealth, and good health.


A traditional Newari dish, Samay Baji is an assortment of many food items, including chiura (beaten rice), bhuti (black-eyed peas curry), musya (roasted black or brown soybean), mashyeura choila (soya chunks marinated in spices), wo: (lentil pancake), alu walau (potato salad) and wauncha (boiled spinach). 


Cafe de Patan brings you a step by step guide on how you can prepare and enjoy the dish in the comfort of your home.


Here are the various ingredients and instructions you need to follow to prepare a set of Samay Baji:


Wauncha

Wauncha is a serving of boiled spinach mixed with spices and chilli powder.

 

To prepare wauncha, you will need:

  • A bunch of spinach (200-250 grams)
  • A tablespoon of salt
  • A tablespoon of red chilli powder
  • A tablespoon of cumin (jira) powder

Instructions:

  • Boil the spinach bunch for around 10 minutes
  • Squeeze out water and put it in a bowl
  • Add oil, salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder, and mix with the boiled spinach.

Bhuti

Bhuti refers to toasted black-eyed peas with the addition of Newari spices.


To prepare a bhuti, you will need:

  • 200 grams of black-eyed peas
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
  • Mustard oil

Instructions:

  • Soak black-eyed peas overnight and boil
  • Heat the mustard oil on a pan and add turmeric powder.
  • Add the boiled black-eyed peas to the pan and fry for about a minute.
  • Add cumin powder and chilli powder to the fried peas and mix well.


Mashyeura Choila

Mashyeura choila or soya chunks choila is a Newari appetizer prepared by marinating soy chunks with traditional spices.


 


To prepare mashyeura choila, you will need:

  • 200 grams of soya chunks
  • Chopped onion
  • 2-3 chillies
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • Ginger garlic paste
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Mustard oil
  • Green Garlic shoots

Instructions:

  • Soak soya chunks for 1-2 hours and cut them to bite-size
  • For chilli paste, fry chillies until light brown and grind it. Add cumin powder, ginger-garlic paste, and mix.
  • Add fenugreek seeds to the pan and cook until dark.
  • Add some turmeric powder, and finally, add soya chunks. Mix and cook.
  • Add chopped green garlic shoots with mustard oil and mix again.


Alu Walau

Alu walau is a Nepali variation of potato salad made using boiled potatoes and fried fenugreek seeds.


 

To prepare Alu walau, you will need:

  • 2-3 potatoes
  • A bunch of spring onion
  • 3-4 chillies
  • Coriander leaves
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fenugreek seeds

Instructions:

  • Peel boiled potatoes and chop them into quarters
  • Chop spinach onion, chillies, and coriander leaves
  • Roast sesame seeds until light brown
  • Grind the roasted sesame seeds into a fine paste
  • Add potatoes, chillies, coriander leaves, chopped spring onions, and sesame paste into a bowl and mix.
  • Fry fenugreek seeds with chilli flakes and turmeric powder on a pan. 
  • Add them to the bowl with potatoes when light brown. Mix everything well.

Musya

Musya is a Newari appetizer prepared by roasting black soybeans.


To prepare musya, you will need:

  • 200 grams of black soybean
  • Chopped garlic
  • Ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
  • Mustard oil

Instructions:

  • Toast soybean in oil until the shell pops out.
  • Put in a bowl and add chopped garlic and ginger, salt, cumin powder, red chilli powder, and oil.
  • Mix well and serve.

Wo:

Wo: is a Newari lentil pancake prepared by frying a mix of blended lentil paste and spices. 

To prepare Wo: you will need

  • Black lentils
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • Chopped green garlic
  • Coriander
  • Mustard oil

Instructions:

  • Soak black lentils overnight and peel. 
  • Blend the lentils with some water until it turns into a paste. 
  • Add salt, chopped green garlic, and coriander to the paste, and mash mix properly. 
  • Once mixed, add oil in a pan and heat in medium fire. 
  • Size the lentil mix into small pancakes and cook it in the pan with oil until light brown.

Plating and serving

To serve Samay Baji, first, place chiura in the plate. Chiura or beaten rice, is a popular snack in Nepal. Once chiura is placed, place each item around the chiura in a circular arrangement.


Your Samay Baji is ready to eat.