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During this Navratri, feast your senses on these Navratri recipes from around the Indian subcontinent that reflect the diversity of our culinary traditions.
Festivals are a perfect excuse to huddle around heaps of food, lovingly cooked and ladled by the young and the old.
Navratri marks the triumphant celebrations of the win of good over evil, as proven by nature every single time. Termed differently across India, it is called the ‘Golu’ in South India, the ‘Garba’ in West India, the ‘Ramlila’ in North India and the most famous of the lot, ‘Durga Puja’ in East India.
Divinity marries joy in a 9 day colourful celebration typically beginning from the first day of the lunar month of Ashwin. During the 9 days, 9 forms of Goddess Durga (Nav-Durga) are worshipped, and on the 10th day, the demon Mahishasura is killed. Legend also has it that Lord Ram prays to the Goddess for 9 days in order to seek her blessings to kill Ravana and slays the demon on the 10th day, marking Dussehra. Symbolic of the victory of good over evil.
A sense of festivity fills the air, with fasts galore. With fasting, comes feasting, with a large variety of sweetmeats and savories prepared in most households. The diversity of India is beautifully reflected in the breadth of vegetarian food items prepared across the country on this occasion. Do try out the Navratri recipes listed below.
Sundal is one of the delicious Navratri recipes prepared in South India. Protein packed, sundal is easy to make and can be matched with legumes, grams, peas and the like. This recipe is a classic Navratri recipe and is used as an offering to the gods on the 9th day of the festival.
Padhu, a well renowned blogger in the culinary space who writes at Padhuskitchen, whips up a tasty Navadhanya Sundal. In the wake of Navratri, South Indian or not, feed your loved ones with this super healthy mix of sprouts and legumes.
Kuttu or Buckwheat is a regular gluten free Navratri ingredient in Northern India. Buckwheat is available in the form of triangulated groats – soft inside and jelly like when soaked, they can be sauted or cooked in a rice like form.
Check out the easy peasy Kuttu ki Khichdi here. Buckwheat is also available in a flour like form, making Kuttu Paranthas and Kuttu Puris a regular during the 9 day Navratri festival.
Ellu, or sesame is a core ingredient of several festive dishes. A great way to spice up a staid rice dish is to use some ellu powder (can be refrigerated well in advance) in a spluttering mixture of sesame oil, sesame seeds, mustard and grated coconut, and of course rice. You can have sesame rice just by itself, or you can match it up with some pumpkin raita.
In most parts of Southern India, this Navratri recipe is used during Navratri, in addition to the lemon rice or the tamarind variant.
Plantains or Raw Bananas are used during fasts, by either deep frying, or by using a red/green curry base. This Navratri recipe for Plaintain Curry is a South Indian delicacy, made during the Navratri. Raw banana is power packed in protein, extremely nutritious and filling.
Sabudana Khichdi is a light and airy dish, and makes for a perfect Navratri recipe. Maharashtrians swear by it and it is very popular in other parts of Western India during the 9 day fast as well. It is simple, traditional and definitely a go to option when you are exhausted with the expansive 9 day fast.
This Navratri recipe is a festival staple in Eastern India. Some households use lauki in multiple preparations through the 9 days, especially in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand. Lauki ranks high on water content and gives you the feeling of fullness, while cooling the stomach as well.
I love how Sweta, the author of this Navratra recipe of doodhi ka halwa adds condensed milk and saffron strands to the ingredients and notches it up wonderfully.
Kala Channa is typically used as a prasad in North India during the Kanya Puja/Kanjak on Ashtami, the 8th day of the Navratri, with Sooji Halwa and Puri. The Kanya Puja denotes the ceremonious worshipping of young girls below 9 years. High in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, this dish is spicy, lemony and zesty. Make sure you try out this Navratri recipe.
This concoction of Husked Green Lentil or Moong Dal and almonds slow cooked in Indian clarified butter/ghee is famous in Eastern India during Navratra, Dussehra and Diwali.
Lapetitchef brings to you an 8 ingredient Navratri recipe of the Moong Dal Halwa, clearly making you an offer you cannot and must not refuse. The blogger goes out of her way to weave a beautiful story around her memories with the recipe.
Durga Puja in Bengal is synonymous with the preparation of Muri Ghonto, a traditional Bengali dish (also called Macha Munda Ghanta in Odisha), cooked with fish heads, vegetables and in some cases, rice. Very mustardy, this dish weaves together a mix of colours and flavours, which almost burst in your mouth in the very first bite itself.
Like Buckwheat, Rajgira or Amaranth is very typical to the Navratri festival, and fasts at large. The Rajgira flour is used to roll out puris, paranthas and pakodas, and is also used to make sweetmeats in the form of Sheeras and Halwas. Try out this Navratri recipe here.
We hope you have a fantastic Navratri. Let us know in the comments below if you enjoyed experimenting with the Navratri recipes listed in this post.
Image source: By Vivek3dartist (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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