Singhara, an all-time favourite during the fasting season, enjoys little preference otherwise in mainstream Indian cooking. The Indian diet emphasizes on dietary fiber that comes from grains, lentils and millets. These ingredients dominate the kitchen almost all across the country. But come the season of Navratri and we see a heavy usage of other ingredients like amaranth, buckwheat and singhara. This is because most of the day-to-day food items are forbidden. Not only do these ingredients compensate for their traditional counterparts but are actually healthier. Navratri is a great time to reap the benefits of singhara.
Singhara, also known as water caltrop or water chestnut, is a fruit that grows underwater. It is usually a winter fruit but its by-products - especially the flour - are available round the year. The humble singhara has many names because of its peculiar looks - devil pod, bat nut and buffalo nut to name a few. It is alternatively known as paaniphal in most parts of India. Water chestnuts are also a central cooking ingredient in Chinese cuisine and used as a part of offerings to God during various religious and traditional ceremonies. Water chestnuts are usually eaten raw and are also enjoyed boiled and stir fried.
Water chestnut fruits are dried and ground to make flour, which is extensively used in many Asian countries, especially India and Pakistan. Water chestnuts are extremely low on calories, but are energy dense. Hence you will feel full for longer after consuming them. The fruits have no cholesterol and are enriched with essential nutrients and vitamins.
Singhara flour contains manganese and iodine, which are helpful in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. It is also an excellent source of carbohydrates and nutrients like zinc, phosphorous, iron and calcium. "Essentially, if you notice, all chiefly used ingredients during navratri are carb based. They are an extremely good source of energy; however, what most of us tend to do is to make fried food items with them. Frying alters the composition of an ingredient, so a wise thing to do is to use it in a healthier manner. You can make rotis, cheelas and parathasrather than pooris," shared Dr. Anshul Jaibharat, nutritionist and weight management specialist
Singhara atta is gluten free, low in fat and sodium. It can be used as a base in creating panjiri and many other wheat flour or all-purpose flour based preparations. This Navratri, we urge you to go beyond the ordinary and get inspired. Singhara flour is so versatile and multipurpose that its culinary expanse will excite and surprise you. Fasting or not, we bring you ten sensational recipes where you can use singhara atta and arrive at something delectable.
A perfect meal for fasting. Here's a wholesome curry made of colocassia (arbi) cooked with water chestnut flour and aromatic spices.
2. Aloo ka Parantha (Vrat)For those who can't live without their parathas, replace your everyday flour with singhara and you're done.
7. Paneer MazedaarCurried cottage cheese with melon seeds, singhare ka atta, rock salt and fresh cream.