Navratri is a season when many communities practice vrat, a special fast when they eat specific kinds of food.
Navratri is an auspicious Hindu festival widely celebrated across India. The festival varies from region and community. It is often associated with fasting. Devotees seek vrat friendly recipes and consume dishes with Sendha or Lahori Namak (Rock Salt).
Navratri is observed in a variety of ways throughout India. Some people celebrate this time by dancing and indulging in unique cuisines, while others spend it by reflecting on their religious beliefs and fasting. Devotees adore the many incarnations of Goddess Durga and observe a nine-day fast to express appreciation to the Goddess. Following a strict vegetarian diet is a common fasting tradition of devotees during Navratri.
Traditional ‘Navratra’ dishes like Singhada Aur Methi Ki Subzi , Aloo Rasedar , Arbi Kadhi, Cucumber Salad, Sabudana Vada, Kele Aur Anjir Ki Tikki , Kuttu Ka Paratha and desserts like Kesar Ras-bhari are part of the thaali.
You may prepare Sitaphal Matka Kulfi, Muskmelon Matka Kulfi, Chai Spice-mix Kulfi, Thandai Kulfi and How about Tender Coconut Kulfi. Use seasonal fruits in your desserts and sweets. Use the natural sugars in fruits instead of sugar. Replace Jaggery with refined sugar. You may prepare Shakarkandi Ke Gulgule and Kuttu ke Gulgule and use jaggery as a sweetening agent. Use Sendha Namak during the fasting. You will find more Custard Apple (Sitaphal) and Guava (Amrood) in this season. Apple and Bananas available throughout the year. Prepare my recipe of Apple and Thandai Pudding (Saeb Aur Thandai Ki Kheer) omit the prohibited ingredients that are not consumed in fasting while preparing the thandai spice-mix.
You can definitely try the lip-smacking Sitaphal Rabri, Sitaphal Basundi or Sitaphal Kheer. Or how about Sitaphal Kalakand. With Gauva you can make Amrood ki Sabji by omitting the ingredients that aren’t permitted and it may be consumed with Rajgira (Kuttu) Ki Poori. You may prepare Kaddu Ki kheer, Kaddu Ka Halwa and Kashi Halwa. Potatoes may be used to make the delicious Aloo Aur Gulab Ka Halwa
Sweet potatoes may be used to prepare Shakarkandi Ki chaat with the addition of fresh chopped cucumbers, deseeded and chopped tomatoes and fresh Pomegranate pearls. You may prepare Shakarkandi Ki Kheer. (Sweet Potatoes) Shakarkand / Elephant Foot (Suran) wafers to beat your cravings. Lauki (Bottle Gourd) can be used to prepare prarathas, raitas, Kheer and Halwas. Rajgira (Amaranth Flour)- Addition of Rajgira Atta in Farali Moongphali Kadhi, Rajgira halwa /Rajgira sheera and Khandvi.
Kuttu (Buckwheat Flour) may be used to prepare Banana Kebabs with the addition of kuttu in it, Pancakes like Apple and Buckwheat pancakes, Banana and Buckwheat pancakes; Parathas stuffed with aloo or mashed bananas, sweet potatoes, Dosas, Roti and super delicious Kadhi.
Singhara Atta (Water chestnut flour) a variety of Food dishes can be prepared with it, like Uttapam, Fritters, Puri, Dahi Bada and Singhara Halwa. Sanwa Panki is a delicacy that has the flavour of the banana leaves in which it is cooked, it has Sanwa millet and Rajgira atta, whisked curds, cumin seeds , grated ginger, chopped cilantro, and sendha namak added to it…batter of pouring consistency is prepared and fermented for 60 minutes and then this batter is applied to the banana leaves and cooked.
Makhanas (Fox Nuts / Lotus Seed) can be given a twist by making Makhana Barfi, Jaggery Caramelized Makhana, Caramelized Makhanas, Cutlets, Makhana Namkeen loaded with dry fruits , Makhana Kheer and Makhana Raita and Makhane aur Moongphalli Ki Kadhi. Samak Rice can be used in the preparation of the comforting Khichdi, Pulaos and Kheer. Raitas can be made with the ever delicious pineapple, apples, boiled potatoes, makhanas, bottle gourd, cucumber, Pomegranate Pearl, Bananas, pumpkin and Yam.
Here are some recipes for you to try:
- Arbi, Nariyal Aur Kacche Kele Ki Kofta (Colocasia, Coconut and Raw Banana Dumplings dipped in a thick tomato-based gravy) courtesy Ashok Bandaru, Executive Chef, Shangri-La Bengaluru
- Kulhadwali Tender Coconut Kulfi courtesy Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji, Culinary Expert and Chef Consultant
- Makhana aur Mungfali ki sabzi with Singahre ka Paratha courtesy Anup Gupta, Executive Chef at Taj Lakefront, Bhopal
- Kathal Kofta Curry courtesy Jose Thomas, Executive Chef, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa
- Farali Pattice courtesy Chef Rayomund Pardiwalla, Executive Chef, The Den Bengaluru
Read the full story that first appeared in Deccan Chronicle dated Sep 26, 2022 here: