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  • Food delights of Navratri

    With the festival of Navratri upon us, among the colourful garba dancing, the prayers and the fun there is also the delicious food treats! There are endless recipes for foods from all over the world and healthy ways of fasting.

    Navratri Festival

    For the nine nights, the dance of Gujarat called Garba is performed in circles.

    Navratri is a nine day festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights.

    Every night during these celebrations, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or Dussehra.

    Navratri is one of the major festivals in the western states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. For the nine nights, the dance of Gujarat called Garba is performed in circles around the deities.

    Navratri in IndiaNavratri is celebrated with great enthusiasm in North India, including Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and the northern state of Punjab.

    The fast happens from the first day throughout to the ninth, some people fast differently depending on their preference.

    Some people keep only to milk and fruits, many devotees have one meal a day and most people completely avoid non-vegetarian food. Some also prefer to avoid onion and garlic.

    During the first three days, the goddess is separated into a spiritual force called Durga, also known as Kali in order to destroy all our evil and grant benefits and good wishes.

    On the second three days, the Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is respected to have the power of bestowing on her devotees wealth, as she is the goddess of wealth.

    The final set of three days is spent in worshiping the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati, to ensure people have an all-round successful life. Believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship.

    But alongside the fasting, Navratri has numerous special food delicacies that people and families all love to enjoy. Some popular food delights include; Makhane Ki Sabzi, Aloo Raita, Ram Ladoo, Malaiwale Kofte, Bhindi Sabzi, Sabudana Khir, Shakarkandi Ki Chaat, Sawank Ke Chawal and many more.

    Aloo Raita

    aloo raitaIngredients:

    • 500ml yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 500 g potatoes
    • Chopped fresh chives
    • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

    Method:

    1. Blend together the yogurt, cumin, salt, pepper and chili powder.
    2. Chill in fridge.
    3. Cook potatoes in boiling water, when cooled, peel and chop.
    4. Mix with the yoghurt.
    5. Serve garnished with chopped chives and cumin seeds.

    Bhindi Sabzi

    bhindi sabziIngredients:

    • 1/2 kg lady’s fingers (okra/bhindi)
    • 1 big onion
    • 4-5 red chillies
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 lemon
    • 2 tsp jeera
    • 1 tomato
    • 1/2 tsp haldi powder
    • 1 tsp dhania powder
    • salt according to taste
    • cooking oil

    Method:

    1. Wash and cut okra (bhindi) in 4-5 pieces each. Don’t wash it after cutting, it will make the preparation very gooey.
    2. Heat the oil in a pan and add jeera on it until it browns. Then add chopped onion and fry until light brown.
    3. Add diced okra and fry for some time, then add lemon. Then add haldi powder and dhania powder.
    4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
    5. Make a chutney of red chillies, garlic, tomatoes and salt.
    6. Now add chutney and mix well.
    7. Cook for another 10 minutes on a low flame with a cover on it, then it is ready to serve.

    Ram Ladoo

    ram ladduIngredients:

    • 130 g split green gram skinless (dhuli moong dal), soaked
    • 60 g split black gram skinless (dhuli urad dal), soaked
    • Oil to deep fry
    • 1/4 tsp asafetida
    • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1/2 tsp ginger, chopped
    • 1/2 tsp green chillies, chopped
    • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
    • 1/2 tsp crushed red chillies
    • Salt to taste
    • Fresh coriander leaves a few sprigs
    • 2 medium radish
    • 2 tsp green chutney
    • 1/2 tsp amchur powder

    Method:

    1. Heat oil in a kadai. Drain and grind moong dal with a little water. Add urad dal and grind again until smooth. Transfer the mixture into a bowl.
    2. Add asafetida, cumin seeds, ginger, green chillies, red chilli powder, crushed red chillies and salt.
    3. Chop coriander leaves and whisk well until the batter becomes light.
    4. Keep a bowl of water. With damp fingers, take little portions of the batter and drop into hot oil and deep fry until golden.
    5. Grate radish coarsely. Add green chutney and mix.
    6. Drain the dal balls and dip in water for a few minutes. Lift them out and squeeze to remove excess water and dip kanji. (To make kanji grind mustard seeds, red chilli powder and salt and mix it with water. Keep it for 3 days.)
    7. Let them soak for ½ hour.
    8. To serve, put the dal balls or ram laddoos into individual serving bowls.
    9. Add amchur to radish-green chutney mixture and mix well. Place some of this mixture over the ram laddoos in each bowl and serve.

    DESIblitz wishes you all a very happy Navratri and we hope you enjoy all the celebrations that take place!

    Meera grew up surrounded with desi culture, music, and Bollywood. She’s a classical dancer and mehndi artist who loves everything connected with the Indian film and television industry and the British Asian scene. Her life motto is “do what makes you happy."


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