Health experts believe it is good to fast during the nine days of Navratri to let the liver rest and rejuvenate but it is important to do it right. Since packed or processed food during Navratri are a big no, diet namkeens or chips are off the charts and also typical snack foods like fried items, food that has high-calorie content and even those with high sodium.
The festival of Navratri, celebrated by the Hindu community in India, symbolises the victory of Durga over demon Mahishasura, signifying the victory of good over evil. In the northern and western parts of India, Ram Leela (retelling of the Ramayan mythology) is held and the festivities end with Dusshera where effigies of Ravana are set on fire to signify Ram’s victory over Ravana.
All through these nine days, devotees worship nine avatars of Durga, namely Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. A fast is also kept by the devotees, either on all the nine days or in joda, the first two or the last two days of the Navratri, to please and seek blessings of Durga.
Observing a fast this Navratri? Check out these recipes of vrat-friendly sweet desserts that only only are mouthwatering enough to make you go weak in the knees but also promise to replenish your energy and are sure to keep lethargy at bay.
1. Sabudana Kheer
¼ cup sabudana/sago
½ cup water for soaking
3 cups milk full cream
¼ cup sugar (as per taste)
5 cashews cut
2 tbsp raisins/kishmish
2 tsp chironji
2 dates finely cut
4-5 almonds cut
2 cardamon crushed
In a small bowl soak sabudana in water for 30 minutes. Now in a thick bottomed pan add milk and soaked sabudana along with water. Boil the milk on medium flame. Stir occasionally making sure it doesn’t stick to bottom of the pan.
Boil for 5 minutes or till the sabunda turns translucent. Now add ¼ cup sugar. Add more sugar if you like kheer to be more sweet. Add cashews, raisins, dry dates, chironji, almonds and cardamom powder. Mix well.
Now simmer for another 20 minutes. Keep stirring in between till milk thickens. Ta-daa! Sabudana Kheer is ready. Now serve sabudana kheer hot or chilled.
(Recipe: Sarika Gupta, Instagram/sarikaguptaskitchen)
2. Aloo Aur Gulab Ka Halwa
Potato parboiled and peeled -02 Large
Clarified butter- 1 ½ tbsp.
Sugar- 1/2 cup
Mawa (khoya) -150 gm.
Full cream milk- ¾ cup
Gulkand- ½ tbsp.
Rose petals, edible, dried, finely chopped- 1 ½ tbsp.
Rose water-10 ml.
Green cardamom powder- ¼ th tsp.
Almonds blanched, peeled and slivered- 10 gm.
Pistachio nuts blanched, peeled and slivered- 05 gm.
Ingredients for garnish:
Almonds blanched, peeled and slivered- 05 gm
Pistachio nuts blanched, peeled and slivered- 05gm.
Rose petals, edible, dried- ½ tbsp.
Sunflower oil – 15 ml
Grate the parboiled potatoes. Keep aside. Heat the clarified butter in a heavy bottomed non-stick pan, add the potatoes, sauté for 05 minutes, stirring it continuously. Add the sugar and sauté for 03 minutes. Add grated mawa (khoya) and sauté till it mixes thoroughly for 02 minutes.
In a non stick pan, lightly saute almonds and pistachio in oil for garnishing and keep aside. Add the milk and cook till the milk is absorbed. Add Gulkand and chopped dried rose petals. Sprinkle rose water. Add the sauteed almonds, pistachio nuts and green cardamom powder and mix well.
Garnish with the dried rose petals slivered almonds, pistachio nuts and green cardamom powder and serve hot or warm as desired. Do not overcook the halwa as it will turn into brownish in colour. Parboiling helps in preventing enzymatic browning that occurs in raw peeled potatoes. You may apply Silver Leaf to the halwa, if desired.
(Recipe: Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji, Culinary Expert and Chef Consultant)
3. Kesari Potato Halwa with Silken Pistachio Rabdi
Ingredients for Halwa:
Coconut Milk 100ml
Cardamom Powder 2-3gms
Saffron 8-10 threads
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Rice bran oil 50 ml
Ingredients for Silken Pistachio Rabri:
Cardamom Powder 2gms
Condensed milk 15gms
Method for Silken Pistachio Rabdi:
Boil milk on slow flame till half. Keep on stirring it. Add condensed milk, sugar and cardamom. Reduce it to thick paste consistency.
It will take about 20 minutes for this stage. Add boiled pistachio paste. Cook for 5 minutes more and let it cool.
Soak saffron strands in coconut milk. Take the potatoes and wash it well and prick it through using a fork. Boil over the stove top till the potatoes get boiled and keep checking it.
Once done remove from heat, strain and cooldown potatoes properly. This will help in peeling the skin as the potatoes will be too hot to handle. The key is the potato should not contain any excess water.
Place the cooked and peeled potatoes in a large bowl and mash it well using a potato masher. At the end you might have to use fingers to knead it like dough and break the small lumps if any.
In a medium size frying pan, heat about half the oil and sauté the mashed potato in the pan for 10 minutes. Keep stirring it frequently on medium heat otherwise the potatoes will stick to the pan.
Add the saffron soaked coconut milk and keep stirring. Now add the sugar. The sugar will start to melt and you will get a tomato soup like consistency mixture.
Stir in the cardamom powder and keep adding the remaining oil slowly and keep mixing the halwa until the ghee separates and the halwa thickens. This might take another 10 minutes.
Transfer it to a greased mould and de-mould it onto a plate. Heat oil and lightly fry the cashew nuts, almond slivers and pistachios till light brown. Serve hot the Kesari potato halwa with silken pistachio rabdi and garnish with slivers of almond, cashew, pistachios and raisins.
(Recipe: Chef Chetan)