Mahashivratri 2023: 5 Unusual Sattvik Kheers You Should Try
Image Credit: Did you know that you can make a Sattvik kheer with potatoes? Image Credits: Freepik

One of the most significant and widely celebrated festivals for Hindus, Mahashivratri—often known as just Shivratri—is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. Literally translated to ‘the great night of Lord Shiva’, the festival falls in the month of Phagun. To celebrate the day, people dedicate prayers to Lord Shiva. A key aspect of the festival is fasting, which, like most Hindu festivals that include a fasting ritual, only includes Sattvik or pure foods. 

For the most devout, this is the day for a ‘nirjala vrat’, where they don’t consume water or any food at all throughout the day. This fast is, however, difficult to keep—which is why most of the general public opts to keep a lighter fast. During this fast, Sattvik foods like fruits, milk, certain grains like buckwheat or kuttu and sago or sabudana, and most vegetables are consumed. Tamasic or impure foods, like onion, garlic and all non-vegetarian items are avoided. 

Legend says that on the night of Mahashivratri, Lord Shiva was deeply angered and performed the Tandav dance (which symbolises destruction and recreation of the world after it). To cool him down, certain foods are specifically offered to the deity to mark the festival. These foods include milk, thandai, bhang, dhatura and other white-coloured Sattvik dishes. If you are keeping the fast this year, or celebrating Mahashivratri, then cooking up a milk-based dessert that follows the theme of the festival is a good bet. 

Of course, you can totally whip up a delicious kheer as offering to Lord Shiva. But given that grains like rice are usually avoided during the festival, the usual rice-based kheers might not be a great idea for Mahashivratri. So, here are some unusual but Sattvik kheers you can try during the festival this year. 

Aloo Kheer 

Potatoes are a staple during all Sattvik fasts that fall during the Hindu calendar. Whether it’s Navratri or Mahashivratri, without an inclusion of potatoes during the fast, the ritual itself is considered incomplete by many. But if you’re surprised by the very name of potato kheer, then you should know that the starchy tuber is not just made for savoury dishes! In fact, because it absorbs flavours from other ingredients, potatoes are the perfect—if unusual—addition to sweet dishes like kheer and halwa. Just grate some potatoes, whip up a kheer with them, and give it a taste! 

Kuttu Kheer

Just like potatoes, buckwheat or kuttu is an integral part of the fasting ritual in Hindu families. In most cases, the dark-hued flour from the grain is transformed into rotis, puris and other savoury dishes during fasts. But did you know, that just like besan or gram flour, buckwheat flour can also be used to whip up some delectable, Sattvik sweet dishes during festivals? All you need is a good amount of ghee, full fat milk, dry fruits and just enough time to make a delicious bowl of kuttu kheer this Mahashivratri. 

Bel Kheer

In case you didn’t know, on the occasion of Mahashivratri, leaves from the bel tree are offered to Lord Shiva. What’s more, juices and drinks made from bel fruit are also consumed during the fast because not only is Lord Shiva fond of the fruit, but also because it is a Sattvik ingredient too. So, why not make a bel-infused kheer for the deity? The trick to making a thick bel kheer is to add khoya to the milk base, and to add bel fruit pulp at the very last moment, right after the kheer is off the stove. 

Doodhi Kheer 

Also known as lauki and bottle gourd, this humble veggie is apt for Mahashivratri not only because it is considered a Sattvik food. Doodhi, just like potatoes, is bland in its natural form and absorbs flavours from other ingredients it is cooked with. Naturally then, making a dessert out of doodhi is a great idea—and healthy too! To make doodhi kheer, you have to ensure that the veggie is grated. This will help cook the veggie faster and help absorb flavours better too.  

Matar Kheer

Have you ever tasted a fresh green pea right when the vegetable is in season? This one is naturally sweet when young, and yet, people use it to whip up savoury dishes only! You can remedy that by whipping up a yummy bowl of matar or green pea kheer this Mahashivratri. Don’t worry, fresh green peas are absolutely Sattvik! All you need to do is coarsely grind some green peas and add it to a kheer base made of milk. As the peas cook with the milk and sugar, they will also thicken the dessert naturally—so no need to add khoya to this no-rice kheer either.