Navratri Vrat Thali

by Shivani Khanna

Navratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity ‘Durga’. The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped.

Navratri is celebrated in the beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn which are considered to be important junctions of climatic and solar influences. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother Durga. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar.

The Navratri abstinence or Vrat is observed from the first day to the ninth day. Most people confine themselves to fruit during the nine days/nights. Other devotees take a single meal during the day/night, and non-vegetarian food is avoided. Also, the consumption of onion and garlic is avoided for the entire duration of Navaratri. ~ Wikipedia

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Ever since my childhood, I’ve looked forward to the festival of Navratri. As a child I was not aware of the significance of the festival. It was the delicious food prepared by my mother during the festival that was the main appeal. Till date I don’t know why its called fasting. Most dishes are deep fried. Other dishes which include fruit, sabudana and vegetables are tasteful and full of flavour. The dishes I prepare today are mostly what my mother cooks. A few dishes I have learnt from neighbours and the extended family.

In my family we eat the ‘falhar’ or fasting food for the first seven days. On ‘Ahstmi’ or the eighth day, we do the pooja and have Sooji Halwa, Kale Chane and Puris for ‘parsad’.

Here I share some of the recipes that I cook for the Navratri fast at home. My mother offers the first thali as ‘bhog’ or as food to the Gods. The one thing that I remember most is that she would always place one bowl of drinking water with leaves of Tulsi in it. Just as we drink water with our food, so do the Gods and that is what I do even today. I have posted enough dishes to see any one through the seven days.

Please click on the name of the dish you want to view to be taken to the recipe to that dish.

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~ Fruit Chaat 

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~ Imli Chutney with Fruits

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~ Makhana, Melon Seeds and Peanut Namkeen

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~ Sabudana Tikki

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~ Sabudana Khichri

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~ Kuttu & Singhara Atta Pakora

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~ Kuttu Paneer Pakora

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~ Raita

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~ Sukhi Arbi ki Sabji

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~ Kadoo ki Sabji

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~ Shinghare ki Sabji

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~ Khatte Aloo ki Sabji

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~ Khatti Arbi ki Sabji

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 ~ Samak ke Chaval

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 ~ Kuttu & Singhara Atta Roti

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~ Sabudana Kheer

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~ Makhane ki Kheer

Kuttu & Singhara Atta Pakora

by Shivani Khanna

2015-18-3--12-06-17

Kuttu or Buckwheat is not a cereal grain but actually a fruit seed, therefore eaten during religious fasting in India. It is also a suitable substitute for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens.

Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Buckwheat is a good source of magnesium which relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure.The nutrients in buckwheat may also contribute to blood sugar control. Eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as buckwheat, can help women avoid gallstones. It  is good at drawing out retained water and excess fluid from swollen areas of the body.

2015-18-3--12-09-17

Singhara or Water Chestnut is a fruit therefore eaten during religious fasting in India. It can be eaten raw, boiled or as flour, after drying and grinding. Singhara is indigenous to India and used in Ayurveda to cure various diseases.

Singhara is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, vitamin B, C, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine and contains no fat. It is a natural antioxidant, prevents wrinkles and protects from UV rays. It helps to prevent sugar,ulcer, gout and heart diseases and is used for treating diarrhoea, dysentery, thyroid problem, swelling and bronchitis. It contains iodine, manganese and other minerals that help in proper functioning of thyroid.

2015-17-3--09-18-55

Kuttu and Singhara flour do not contain gluten and are low on the glycaemic index. Thus, they help in releasing slow energy when eaten during religious fasts. Both flours have high nutritional value and so are perfect for breaking fasts.

2015-18-3--15-15-01

Kuttu & Singhara Atta Pakora

Ingredients ~

1 cup kuttu flour/atta
1/3 cup singhara flour/atta
2 medium potatoes
salt, red chilli powder, ajwain to taste
vegetable oil for frying

Method ~

1. Boil the potatoes, peel and grate them.
2. Mix both the kuttu and the singhara flour/atta.
3. Add the salt, red chilli powder and the ajwain to the flour.
4. With your hand, mix in the grated potatoes. Add just enough water to lighter the mixture and bind it all together.
5. Heat vegetable oil in a wok.
6. Wet your hands and drop small balls of the pakora batter into the hot oil. Reduce the flame to medium and cook the pakoras till crisp on the outside and cooked inside.
7. Can be eaten hot or cold. Serve with Imli Chutney, Raita, Khatte Aaloo ki Sabji, Khatti Arbi ki Sabji.

 

Kuttu Paneer Pakora

by Shivani Khanna

2015-18-3--12-06-17

Kuttu or Buckwheat is not a cereal grain but actually a fruit seed, therefore eaten during religious fasting in India. It is also a suitable substitute for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens.

Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Buckwheat is a good source of magnesium which relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure.The nutrients in buckwheat may also contribute to blood sugar control. Eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as buckwheat, can help women avoid gallstones. It  is good at drawing out retained water and excess fluid from swollen areas of the body.

2015-18-3--12-09-17

Singhara or Water Chestnut is a fruit therefore eaten during religious fasting in India. It can be eaten raw, boiled or as flour, after drying and grinding. Singhara is indigenous to India and used in Ayurveda to cure various diseases.

Singhara is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, vitamin B, C, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine and contains no fat. It is a natural antioxidant, prevents wrinkles and protects from UV rays. It helps to prevent sugar,ulcer, gout and heart diseases and is used for treating diarrhoea, dysentery, thyroid problem, swelling and bronchitis. It contains iodine, manganese and other minerals that help in proper functioning of thyroid.

2015-16-3--21-27-28

Paneer or Cottage Cheese is a fresh cheese made by curdling hot milk by adding lemon juice, vinegar or yogurt to separate the curds from the whey. The whey is separated by hanging the curds in a muslin cloth and the resulting cheese is called paneer.

Paneer is a source of protein for vegetarian people and helps to fulfill their protein need of the body. It has a high level of calcium and phosphorus which helps in building strong bones and teeth. It also  has Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Fatty Acids which help in fighting rheumatoid arthritis. The presence of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat in paneer helps in lowering the body weight. It also has high level of dietary fibres which help in digestion by improving the metabolism. It has high levels of  vitamin B and enhances blood formation, assists in more nutrients absorption by the body and strengthens the liver.

2015-16-3--21-25-13

Kuttu and Singhara flour do not contain gluten and are low on the glycaemic index. Thus, they help in releasing slow energy when eaten during religious fasts. Both flours have high nutritional value and so are perfect for breaking fasts. Paneer is a high protien food and provides instant energy.

2015-17-3--07-03-40

Kuttu  Paneer Pakora

Ingredients ~

1 cup kuttu flour/atta
1/3 cup singhara flour/atta
250 gms paneer/cottage cheese
salt, red chilli powder, ajwain to taste
vegetable oil for frying

Method ~

1. Cut the paneer into batons or cubes.
2. Soak the paneer in water and add salt. This helps in adding the salt flavour to the paneer itself.
3. Mix both the kuttu and the singhara flour.
4. Add the salt, red chilli powder and the ajwain to the flour. Spread on a plate.
5. Heat vegetable oil in a wok.
6. Take the paneer and roll it in the dry atta mixture.
7. Cook in the hot oil till crisp.
8. Can be eaten hot or cold. Serve with Imli Chutney, Raita, Fruit Chaat.

Raita

by Shivani Khanna

Curd or Yogurt is a cultured milk product that is soured and thickened by the action of specific lactic acid-producing cultures added to milk. The lactic acid produced by the culture coagulates the milk protein, thickening the milk and adding the characteristic sour flavor. The starter cultures—or probiotics—used to make yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

These probiotics can help maintain the balance of bacteria necessary for a healthy digestive system; boost the immune system, shortening the length and severity of sickness; and may reduce eczema in babies.

Yogurt is highly nutritious and is an excellent source of protein, calcium and potassium. It provides numerous vitamins and minerals and is relatively low in calories.

Many people who are lactose intolerant can enjoy yogurt. Yogurt contains lower amounts of lactose than milk because the lactose in yogurt is converted to lactic acid by the bacterial cultures. ~ Dairy Council of California

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In most parts of India, yogurt or curd is eaten at every meal. It is eaten plain or with addition of vegetables. Salt, red chilli powder and ground roast cumin are used to flavour the raitas.

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Cucumber,  grated or chopped is added to yogurt to make a raita. Boiled potatoes, once chopped are another addition which is common to making raitas.

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Raita

Ingredient ~

250 gms yogurt/curd
1 cucumber
1 boiled potato
salt, red chilli powder, ground roasted cumin to taste

Method ~

1. Peel the cucumber, grate or chop it.
2. Peel the potato and chop it fine.
3. Beat the curd, add the spices and the vegetable of your choice.
4. You can make three different kinds of raita, grated cucumber raita, chopped cucumber raita or chopped boiled potato raita.

 

Sukhi Arbi ki Sabji

by Shivani Khanna

Arbi or Colocasia esculenta is thought to be native to Southern India and Southeast Asia. It is a perennial, tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corm, and as a leaf vegetable.

Arbi is low in fats and the calorie value chiefly comes from complex carbohydrates. Their protein levels can be comparable to that of other tropical food sources like yam, cassava, potato, plantain, etc. The corms are free from gluten. They carry high-quality phyto-nutrition profile comprising of dietary fiber and antioxidants in addition to moderate proportions of minerals and vitamins.It also contains good levels of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins.

Further, the corms provide healthy amounts of some of important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. In addition, the root has very good amounts of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.

2015-16-3--21-22-29

Arbi is one of the finest source dietary fibres. Together with slow digesting complex carbohydrates, moderate amounts of fibre in the food help gradual rise in blood sugar levels and for this reason it is a good vegetable to have during fasting.

2015-16-3--21-26-13

The plant is inedible when raw and considered toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate. The toxin is minimized by cooking. In this recipe the Arbi is boiled, then fried and finished with a tempering of spices.

2015-20-3--22-14-20

Sukhi Arbi ki Sabji

Ingredients ~

5 medium arbi
1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground dried mango powder/amchur
vegetable oil for frying

Method ~

1. Boil the arbi.
2. Peel and cut the arbi into batons.
3. Heat the oil in a wok. Fry the arbi till golden and crisp.
4. Heat a frying pan on the stove. Add a tablespoon of oil.
5. In the hot oil temper the ajwain seeds.
6. Take the cut arbi and add them to the pan. Cook till coated in the oil.
7. Add the red chilli powder, salt and the amchur powder.
8. Cook till coated in the spices and crisp.
9. Serve hot with Kuttu Roti, Kuttu Puri, Khatte Aaloo ki Sabji, Khatti Arbi ki Sabji, Samak ke Chawal, Sabudana Khichri.

 

Singhare ki Sabji

by Shivani Khanna

Singhara or Water Chestnut is a fruit therefore eaten during religious fasting in India. It can be eaten raw, boiled or as flour, after drying and grinding. Singhara is indigenous to India and used in Ayurveda to cure various diseases.

2015-17-3--06-46-17

Singhara is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, vitamin B, C, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine and contains no fat. It is a natural antioxidant, prevents wrinkles and protects from UV rays. It helps to prevent sugar,ulcer, gout and heart diseases and is used for treating diarrhoea, dysentery, thyroid problem, swelling and bronchitis. It contains iodine, manganese and other minerals that help in proper functioning of thyroid.

2015-20-3--23-51-28

Singhare ki Sabji

Ingredients ~

500 gms raw singhara/water chestnut
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp jeera
1/3 tsp salt, or to taste

Method ~

1. Shell the singhara/water chestnut.
2. Cut the singhara into two pieces each.
3. In a wok, heat the oil, add the jeera and cook till it sputters.
4. Add the singhara and stir. Sprinkle the salt and stir once again.
5. Add two tablespoons of water and cover the wok with a lid. Cook on slow heat.
6. Once the water has evapoated and the singhara is cooked through, yet has a crunch, remove from fire.
7. Serve hot or cold with Kuttu & Singhara Atta Roti, Samak ke Chaval, Sabudana Khichri.

 

Khatte Aaloo ki Sabji

by Shivani Khanna

Aaloo or Potato is one of the most important staple crops in the human diet around the world. Potatoes are not roots but specialized underground storage stems called tubers.  This nutrient-dense tuber is packed with a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that ward off disease and benefit human health.

Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like potatoes decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.

2015-16-3--21-20-28

Potatoes also contain a compound known as alpha-lipoic acid, which helps the body to convert glucose into energy. Thus, it is a good vegetable to eat during fasting.

2015-20-3--20-30-53

Khatte Aaloo ki Sabji

Ingredients ~

3 medium potatoes
2 tbsp curd/yogurt
1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground dried mango powder/amchur
1 tbsp ghee

Method ~

1. Boil the potatoes.
2. Peel and roughly crush the boiled potatoes.
3. Heat a pan on the stove. Add a tablespoon of ghee.
4. In the hot ghee temper the ajwain seeds and red chilli powder.
5. Beat the curd and add it to the spices in the pan. Cook till thick.
6. Take the crushed potatoes and add them to the pan. Cook till coated in the spice mixture.
7. Add drinking water to cover the potato mixture and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to simmer and partially cover the pan with a lid.
8. Add the amchur powder to sour the gravy. Adjust the seasoning to make the gravy a blend of salty, chilli and sour.
9. Once the gravy is thick remove from the stove. Serve with Kuttu Roti, Kuttu Puri, Kuttu & Singhara Atta Pakora, Kuttu Paneer Pakora, Samak ke Chawal, Sabudana Khichri.

 

Khatti Arbi ki Sabji

by Shivani Khanna

Arbi or Colocasia esculenta is thought to be native to Southern India and Southeast Asia. It is a perennial, tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corm, and as a leaf vegetable.

Arbi is low in fats and the calorie value chiefly comes from complex carbohydrates. Their protein levels can be comparable to that of other tropical food sources like yam, cassava, potato, plantain, etc. The corms are free from gluten. They carry high-quality phyto-nutrition profile comprising of dietary fiber and antioxidants in addition to moderate proportions of minerals and vitamins.It also contains good levels of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins.

Further, the corms provide healthy amounts of some of important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. In addition, the root has very good amounts of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.

2015-16-3--21-21-34

Arbi is one of the finest source dietary fibres. Together with slow digesting complex carbohydrates, moderate amounts of fibre in the food help gradual rise in blood sugar levels and for this reason it is a good vegetable to have during fasting.

2015-20-3--21-46-59

Khatti Arbi ki Sabji

Ingredients ~

5 medium arbi
2 tbsp curd/yogurt
1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground dried mango powder/amchur
1 tbsp ghee

Method ~

1. Boil the arbi.
2. Peel and cut the boiled arbi into rounds.
3. Heat a pan on the stove. Add a tablespoon of ghee.
4. In the hot ghee temper the ajwain seeds and red chilli powder.
5. Beat the curd and add it to the spices in the pan. Cook till thick.
6. Take the cut arbi and add them to the pan. Cook till coated in the spice mixture.
7. Add drinking water to cover the arbi mixture and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to simmer and partially cover the pan with a lid.
8. Add the amchur powder to sour the gravy. Adjust the seasoning to make the gravy a blend of salty, chilli and sour.
9. Once the gravy is thick remove from the stove. Serve with Kuttu Roti, Kuttu Puri, Kuttu & Singhara Atta Pakora, Kuttu Paneer Pakora, Samak ke Chawal, Sabudana Khichri.

 

Kuttu & Singhara Atta Roti

by Shivani Khanna

2015-18-3--12-06-17

Kuttu or Buckwheat is not a cereal grain but actually a fruit seed, therefore eaten during religious fasting in India. It is also a suitable substitute for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens.

Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Buckwheat is a good source of magnesium which relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure.The nutrients in buckwheat may also contribute to blood sugar control. Eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as buckwheat, can help women avoid gallstones. It  is good at drawing out retained water and excess fluid from swollen areas of the body.

2015-18-3--12-09-17

Singhara or Water Chestnut is a fruit therefore eaten during religious fasting in India. It can be eaten raw, boiled or as flour, after drying and grinding. Singhara is indigenous to India and used in Ayurveda to cure various diseases.

Singhara is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, vitamin B, C, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine and contains no fat. It is a natural antioxidant, prevents wrinkles and protects from UV rays. It helps to prevent sugar,ulcer, gout and heart diseases and is used for treating diarrhoea, dysentery, thyroid problem, swelling and bronchitis. It contains iodine, manganese and other minerals that help in proper functioning of thyroid.

2015-16-3--21-29-43

Kuttu and Singhara flour do not contain gluten and are low on the glycaemic index. Thus, they help in releasing slow energy when eaten during religious fasts. Both flours have high nutritional value and so are perfect for breaking fasts.

2015-20-3--17-10-09

Kuttu & Singhara Atta Roti

Ingredients ~

1 cup kuttu flour/atta
1/3 cup singhara flour/atta
2 medium potatoes
salt, red chilli powder to taste

Method ~

1. Boil the potatoes, peel and grate them.
2. Mix both the kuttu and the singhara flour
3. Add the salt and the red chilli powder.
4. With your hand, mix in the grated potatoes. Add just enough water to bind the atta into a dough.
5. Make small balls of the dough and roll out into round rotis.
6. Heat a tava. Place the roti on it and cook on both sides. Repeat the process, this time brushing a little oil on both sides. Cook till crisp.
7. Can be eaten hot or cold. Serve with Imli Chutney, Raita, Fruit Chaat, Khatte Aaloo ki Sabji, Khatti Arbi ki Sabji, Sukhi Arbi Ki Sabji, Kadoo ki Sabji, Singhare ki Sabji

 

Note ~

The rolled rotis can be fried in hot oil to make Kuttu & Singhara Atta pooris.