Ashadi Ekadashi: 5 Fasting Delights To Feast On This Festival

Ekadashi marks the 11th day in the lunar Hindu calendar, and while it is meant to be a fasting day, the end of the pilgrimage in fact echoes the old Marathi adage, 'Ekadashi, duppat khashi' (on fasting, eat twice as much as usual). For while some pilgrims on the route and yet others in countless Maharashtrain households maintain a strict fast comprising fruits, milk, and water, still others feast upon some delectable recipes to present offerings to Lord Vithoba and celebrate the end of a hard walk. The fast is strictly followed throughout the day, breaking only the next morning upon sunrise.

The annual pilgrimage from Alandi to Pandharpur undertaken by the devotees of Lord Vithoba is the high point in the calendar of thousands of warkaris across Maharashtra who make this 250-kilometre-long journey on foot every year. Palkhis (palanquins) carrying the paduka (footwear) of saints Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram take off from Alandi and, after 21 days of arduous walks, reach the banks of the Chandrabhaga river in Pandharpur. The palkhi is especially significant for sustaining the spiritual legacy of the Warkari Sampradaya, rooted in the worship of Vitthal, or Vithoba, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. A tradition that goes back at least 700–800 years, the wari traces the footsteps of Saint Dnyaneshwar. He is said to have embarked upon this journey beginning in Alandi, crossing through Pune, Saswad, Jejuri, and numerous small villages and towns before reaching Pandharpur on the auspicious occasion of Ashadi Ekadashi.

Read on below to find out some of the must-have dishes on Ashadi Ekadashi:

Sama rice and peanut amti

Sama rice, or varyache tandul, also known as barnyard millet, is a concoction of a sticky rice-like steamed dish to be savoured with peanut amti (curry). Fast days mean avoiding onions, garlic, whole wheat, and pulses. Yet the flavour of cumin and ghee infused into the amti, along with freshly ground coconut and dried kokum poured into the sama rice, makes for a lip-smacking lunch.

Sabudana Papad

This fried delicacy, crushed into the sama rice and peanut amti, adds a layer of delectable crunchiness to the meal. In most homes, grandmothers have retained the practise of making sabudana chikodi (a round papad) during the summer by mixing tapioca clusters in warm water with a dash of salt and putting them out to dry in the sunlight. The saltiness, coupled with the flavour of the tapioca deep-fried to perfection, earnestly completes the Ekadashi meal.

Ratalyacha kees

This sweet potato savoury dish is a favourite Ekadashi snack that can also serve as a side dish during lunch. Rich in nutrient content and full of flavour, the grated sweet potatoes mixed with crushed groundnuts and stir-fried in ghee make for a great addition to the festive feast. When served hot, the sweet potato melts in the mouth, while some cut-up green chillies added to the pan make for just the right amount of spice, nicely complementing the earthiness of the groundnuts.

Peanut ladoos

While dessert options abound on fasting days, peanut ladoos deserve a special mention for their sheer simplicity and deliciousness. Made of only the most meagre ingredients, including groundnuts, ghee, and gud, the ladoos are nonetheless packed with lots of comfort and great taste. A sought-after sweet treat by kids and adults alike, peanut ladoos work as a hearty dessert or even an afternoon snack on fasting days.

Sabudana khichdi

Is there anything better to eat for breakfast on a fasting day other than the signature sabudana khichdi? Tapioca tossed in ghee, cumin, and just the right amount of boiled, chopped potatoes relished with fresh curd is nothing short of a heavenly delight on this auspicious occasion. To start the feast on a fasting day with sabudana khichdi is to revel in a culinary delight that is indulgent and delicious.