Spring marks the arrival of 'Chaitra Navaratri', a significant Hindu festival that begins during the lunar month of Chaitra (post-winter). It is a nine-day long festival dedicated to the special worship of Goddess Durga. As believers observe a fast during these nine auspicious days (from March 18 to 26 in 2018), Bawarchi presents recipes that help you create light, tasty meals during a vrat.
From Singhara atta to Sabudana, ingredients that are used during a vrat star in these healthy recipes.
1. Gujarati Kadhi
Gujarati Kadhi for Vrat is a tangy curry with a buttermilk/yoghurt base.This version of the kadhi uses Singhare ka Atta or Waterchestnut Flour instead of besan. Sour curd works best for Gujarati Kadhi. Gujarati Kadhi goes well with steamed rice or khichdi.
2. Sabudana Khichadi
An easy-to-make Vrat recipe that is packed with nutrients like carbohydrates and vitamins that provides the needed energy to observe delightful fasting. Sabudana (sago), potato and peanuts are cooked well on low flame along with green chillies, ginger, cumin seeds, pepper powder for a wholesome savoury dish.
3. Dum Ke Aloo
Dum Aloo with baby potatoes coated with spices is a dish that has travelled wide from Kashmir to Bengal to Maharashtra.
This version of Dum ke Aloo has no onion or garlic. Rock salt or Sendha Namak, also known as Upvas ke Namak is preferred to regular salt during a vrat and ghee or peanut oil is mostly as the cooking medium instead of seed based oils. Use tomato only if you want a dash of extra tanginess in this dish.
4. Vrat Ke Chawal
This unique dish uses 'Samwat ke chaawal' - a key ingredient that is majorly relished during Navaratri festival. The recipe involves filling ingredients that keeps you full for long hours, making it the best for fasting season. Samwat ke chaawal is boiled along with potato, black pepper and cumin that imparts a lip-smacking taste.
5. Singhare Ka Halwa
Singhare Ka Halwa is halwa made from the flour of the seed of Indian Water Chestnut or Singhare. Singhare is a permitted ingredient during a vrat and this delicious halwa is cooked during spiritual fasts for festivals like Navratri or Maha Shivrathri.
To make Singhare Ka Halwa, stir fry Singhare atta in ghee and add it to a sugar solution with cardamom powder. The halwa can be served as a dessert, garnished with almonds.
As the name says, Vrat Dosa is a tasty and healthy breakfast option made with rajgiri flour (Vrat atta). The dosa batter consists of rajgiri flour mixed along with buttermilk, salt and pepper which is of a pouring consistency.
The mashed potatoes, chopped green chillies, cumin seeds and turmeric powder are blended to form a fine filling to be stuffed into the dosa. Vrat dosa can be best served with peanut chutney.
Sabudana Vada or sago vada is a deep fried snack from Maharashtra that is relished greatly during Upvas/Vrat. The vada is made of sabudana or sago that is soaked overnight or for a couple of hours. The potatoes have to be boiled, peeled and then mashed in advance for this recipe. Sabudana vada is often accompanied by a spicy green chutney made with coriander and mint.
8. Chawal Ka Dhokla
During a Navratri vrat or any spiritual fast where rice is prohibited, Samak Chaval or Samwat ke Chawal is a good option for those who seek healthy sources of carbohydrates and fibre.
Chawal ka Dhokla, a version of the Gujarati Dhokla uses Samvat ke Chawal instead of the traditional besan or rice flour. The dhokla is tempered with dry red chillies, curry leaves and cumin seeds. Experimental foodies could try sambhar as an accompaniment for some delicious food fusion.
9. Hari Tori
Hari Tori is a stir fry recipe that is often eaten during periods of vrat or spiritual fasting. This yummy curry is made with Ridge gourd (turai or tori in Hindi). This healthy vegetable is stir fried in ghee with cumin, ginger and spices.
It is rich in dietary fibre and high in water content, making it a good option for people who watch their weight.
10. Samak Chawal ki Kheer
Samak Chawal ki Kheer is the perfect dessert during a Navratri vrat. This recipe uses Samvat rice or Samak Chawal or Parsai ke Chaawal which are tiny, round grains belonging to the millet family. This variety of millet is permitted to be eaten during a vrat.
Samak Chawal is high in digestible fiber and is similar to rice in taste and texture.