Navratri 2018 is here, and one look around is enough to tell, how eager we are to welcome the season of festivities. The word 'Navratri' translates into 'nine nights' in Sanskrit. These nine days are dedicated to Goddess Durga , who comes to take shelter in the homes of her loving devotees. During these nine auspicious days, devotees seek blessings and pray to the nine forms Goddess Durga also known as Navdurga. A common practice of keeping the ritualistic fasts also forms an essential part of the Navratri celebrations. People do so to please the deity with their devotion. During the fasts, devotees steer clear of certain food items like non-vegetarian foods, eggs, regular salt and alcohol. It is suggested to switch to a satvik diet and only some limited ingredients can be used to make the vrat ka khana. These Navratri special foods may include sabudana, sendha namak, kuttu ka atta, singhare ka atta and certain vegetables. However, that doesn't mean you are not allowed to experiment. There's a lot that you can do with these limited ingredients to make your Navratri food.
Here are some ideas with Navratri special foods for inspiration.
Loaded with good quality starch and carbohydrates, sabudana acts as the instant energy booster during these fasts Sabudana khichdi made of tapioca pearls, also known as sago khichdi in the Southern part of the country, is one of the most relished Vrat dish during Navratri fasting. You can spruce it up with peanuts, fresh coriander and mild spices.
Sabudana khichdi made of tapioca pearls, and is also known as sago khichdi. Photo Credit: Istock
The delicious festive dessert made with sabudana (tapioca pearls) is a vrat classic. Flavored with a hint of cardamom and saffron and topped with some chunky nuts, it is an absolute treat. This sabudana kheer recipe here is super easy and quick, made in just 30 minutes from soaked sabudana which is usually consumed during the fasting season like Navratri. Serve at a dinne rparty on special occasions or juts make it as a post dinner dessert.
The delicious festive dessert made with sabudana and is a vrat favourite. Photo Credit: Istock
These puris made with Kuttu ka Atta are the best accompaniments to Aloo Bhaji. These puris can also be savoured with a bowl of chilled curd. Kuttu is known to lift up your energy levels. It doesn't come from a grain and thus, is one of the favourite vrat ingredients used commonly.
Kuttu is known to lift up your energy levels. Photo Credit: Istock
4. Roasted Makhana or Phool Makhana
Makhanas or fox nuts are also quite high up on the popularity charts of Navratri special foods. You can add them to your kheer, or make Makhane ki Sabzi, but the most popularly enjoyed version of these bite sized seeds are when they are simply roasted makhanas or Phool Makhana and rubbed with some rock salt and pepper.
You can add makhanas to your kheer, or make Makhane ki Sabzi. Photo Credit: Istock
Here's a dish we love to savour all year round, but what makes it a Navratri special food is its main ingredient - potato and its preparation with mild spices. While fasting for Navratri, devotees avoid consuming legumes and lentils, while vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, arbi and suran are permissible. The soothing flavors of this lovely curry made with light spices will have you licking your fingers.
A soothing curry made with potatoes and yogurt. Photo Credit: Istock
6. Vrat Ke Chawal Ka Pulav
If you are observing the Navratri Fasts, you may know that regular rice is not permitted for consumption during the Vrat. Many devotees use Varat Ke Chawal or Samai ke chawal (barnyard millet) for their fast preparations. You use this Navratri special food to make a wholesome pulao that tastes best with aloo kadhi, kaddu ki sabzi or lauki ki sabzi.
Many devotees use Varat Ke Chawal or Samai ke chawal. Photo Credit: Istock
7. Sookhi arbi
A nice change from the usual leafy vegetables that we make for lunch! Arbi or 'Colocasia' is a great summer vegetable that is quite versatile. This Navratri special food goes well with all your puris and rotis. It is made with mild spices yet tastes delicious.
Singhara atta is another Navratri special ingredient that is used commonly in place of your regular grains or wheat. This dessert is made with the goodness of water chestnut flour, sugar and ghee and topped with heaps of dry fruits and nuts.
Singhara atta is another Navratri special ingredient. Photo Credit: Istock
9. Kacche Kele ki barfi
Raw bananas are used not just for savoury preparations, but they can be turned into these delicious barfis. Kacche kele ki barfi made with raw banana, sugar and milk is both wholesome and delicious. Kacche Kele ki Tikki is a well-known Awadhi dish, that can be savoured during the fasting season of Navratri. Raw banana, apart from potatoes and bottle gourd makes for a great fasting ingredient. This delicate dish can be served as a snack with a freshly made peanut chutney.
Raw bananas are great for savoury and sweet preparations. Photo Credit: Istock
10. Shakarkandi Chaat
Fruit chaats are big during Navratri, but have you tried the shakarkandi chaat? Yes, the same chatpata chaat you'll find on the streets. Made with boiled and peeled sweet potatoes and topped with lemon, rock salt and chaat masala, shakarkandi chaat is one of the most popular Navratri special foods.
Did we miss out on your favourite Navratri special food or recipe? Do let us know. Happy Navratri 2018!