Samay baji is a typical Newa khaja set that began to flourish in ancient times. It was particularly popular among the farming population of the Newa community, but nowadays people from different groups, nationalities or walks of life also love to enjoy this. This delicious set included chiura (beaten rice or baji) and other food items such as chhoila, aaloo tama, aaloo achar, anda, and even aila.
Samay baji is enjoyed by the community mostly on special occasions and festivals. It is also a popular choice for lunch among people. But, this delicacy is popular not just for the taste, but it also carries some benefits to the human body. It is believed to promote longevity, good luck, health, and fortune.
But before you start searching for it at different restaurants and dive into it, know what goes into samay baji and its health benefits:
Chiura or beaten rice is the basic and foremost important part of Samay Baji. It is crunchy as well as healthy to eat individually. But, chiura tastes way better when it merges with other dishes like chhoila, aaloo tama and aaloo achar. It is rich in vitamin B; one can stay energised as well as it improves brain health. And, eating chiura is surely an exercise for your jaw.
Musya-paalu (Bhatmas and aduwa)
Black soya beans or bhatmas mixed with different spices, and aduwa (ginger) are the second most important part of the set. Eating soya beans minimises various health issues such as cardiovascular disease, stress, high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease along with improving the quality of human bone. Ginger is a natural antibiotic and can be eaten separately too.
Apart from these two basics, you can enjoy samay baji with other side dishes too. These are some common options:
Spinach, locally known as saag, are green vegetables and are one of the items of samay baji. It is cooked with chillies, garlic, mustard oil that makes it soft, and delicious. This green leafy item is rich in nutrients and keeps our eyes sharp and strengthens the immune system.
Bodi or white beans is a common option for you to add to the set. Normally, it is prepared by stir-frying with some spices. It may not be as exotic in taste as you would expect but it will surely be better for your heart, reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes.
Aaloo (potatoes) are a staple of almost every Nepali food menu, so naturally, it is a must in samay baji set as well. You can add aaloo achar (diced boiled potatoes combined with chillies, onions, garlic) and then put a tadka (tempering) on it with methi or fenugreek seeds. It is yummy and spicy at the same time and the potato melts in the mouth very quickly that gives a soothing taste of all the spices. It is full of fibre that prevents heart disease and cholesterol.
This is a special pickle made of grated radishes, green chillies, spices and mustard oil. But, some also add carrots to bring together the sweet and sour taste together. It is rich in antioxidants and minerals such as potassium and calcium that assist to lower high blood pressure as well as reduce the risks of heart diseases.
Chho (Aaloo tama)
Aaloo tama is a traditional curry prepared from diced potatoes and bamboo shoots. You can eat the dish on its own or having it with chiura is also a great combo to eat. You would not be able to avoid the tangy, hot soup. It is good in taste and the combo can also help you lose weight while keeping you full longer. Heart disease, cholesterol and blood sugar levels can be somewhat maintained, prevented by it.
For the non-vegetarians, this might be the best part of the set. Chhoila is the spiced ground meat that is boiled/pressure-cooked. For haku chhoila, you roast/grill the meat which turns black. Normally, chhoila is made from buffalo meat, but you can experiment with other meats too. Though spicy, it is very high in protein and helps to improve muscle mass and prevents iron deficiency.
Apart from these side dishes, there are some optional dishes you can add too:
Wo is a lentil-based flatbread that can be eaten as a snack or an appetizer. The most important component of the dish is in fact paste lentils. You can enjoy this alone or with eggs, meat, and other vegetables. It is wholesome to eat and can help decrease cholesterol, prevent diabetes and colon cancer.
In Samay Baji, one can find eggs that are boiled or fried that can be eaten to calm your tongue after you eat some spicy food. You get all that egg nutrients like vitamin A, D, calcium, and iron.
Aaila is said to be one of the finest liquors. People of the Newa community make it by distillation of fermented rice, grain, and millet. A small sip can send jitters down your spine and activate all your sensory organs from the tongue, throat, the stomach. So, one should always drink it wisely.
Pau-Kwaa (Lapsi achar)
As the name suggests, it is a pickle made from lapsi (hog plum), a native fruit of Nepal. It is made by mixing extracted lapsi with chilly powder, spices and hing (asafoetida). One can also add a tempering of oil and methi to accentuate the taste. It is very sweet and sour and full of vitamin C, iron and prevents stomach pain. It makes digestion of heavy samay baji set easier.
Dahi (curd or yoghurt) is like a dessert in Nepali food. It is sweet and delicious and is best to eat during summer. The consumption of yoghurt can be better to increase your digestion after the meal. It also increases your immunity.