Friday, October 4, 2013

10 Recipes for Navratri

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Navtri- literally translated: nine nights.

Navratris come twice a year- a whole 8-days of fasting with a pretty rigid diet rules.  The one in the fall is especially important though. Bengalis celebrate it as Durga Puja, and Gujrati festivities include girls in pretty clothes dancing Garba all night. Punjabi community in our part of Delhi was known to set up community praying events known as Mata-ki-Chowki; was pretty fun, albeit a bit loud!  Traditionally meant to celebrate the power of Goddess of Durga, the win of good over evil- in my home it was celebrated by  7 days of all fruit and vegetable diet with a celebration of the girl child on the 8th day.  No real festivities for us - just the fasting and praying. As a child, the real incentive was being invited to all our neighbors houses for a meal; and a token gift. 

Although religion does play a major part; it isn't all that drives my fasting ritual. Growing up, my brother and I had a pretty dismissive view of religion and tradition. In our minds, if it was tradition, it was ambiguous and meant to be discarded. Till some one twisted religion into science for me. I fast- because it detoxifies. A gluten-free diet every 6 months can be extremely beneficial to overall health. ...and girls, in a patriarchal Indian society, are pretty precious. So no hard feelings for giving them a week of fun and festivities :-)

During fasting, I get asked ...but what DO you eat....a lot? And my answer is- there's plenty. I eat one meal a day; and it is a pretty elaborate one at that. Here's a sampling for you. And some other recipes can be found here and here.

Sabudana vada (Tapioca pearl cutlets)

Singoda Flour Pakora (Potato and chestnut flour fritters)

Kuttu-ke-parathe (Buckwheat-vegetable pancakes)

Sabudana Khichdi (Tapioca pearl pilaf)
Masala Aloo (Tangy potatoes)
Kheera-tamatar ka raita (cucumber-tomato raita)

Shakargandi ki chaat
(Pan-roasted sweet potato)

Ebinyebwa or Ugandan peanut stew.

Achaari Aloo (Spicy, tangy potatoes)

Yakhni Lauki (Bottle gourd in a uogurt gravy)

Til-gur ke ladoo (Sesame and jaggery sweet)

Gaundh (coconut- mixed nut brittle)

My two cents: I am ready for fasting this year- and looking for new recipes to try out. Leave me some suggestions; and I will definitely make them and thank you for the effort.

Happy Fasting....