Navratri 2023: 7 Delicious Vrat-Friendly Pumpkin Recipes
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The ripe orange pumpkin with its nursery sweet flavour is the ideal vegetable to cook with during the nine-day Navratri period. Given the dietary restrictions that are followed during a fast, a limited number of ingredients form the foundations of most recipes prepared while fasting. Amaranth, sago or tapioca, potatoes, milk and milk products aside, few other vegetables like tomatoes and pumpkins make it to a limited list of permitted foods. Hence, using these ingredients in various combinations can produce some delicious recipes that also abide by the rules of observing and consuming foods during a fast.

Pumpkin Halwa

Image Credits: Archana's Kitchen

A sweet preparation with earthy flavours from the pumpkin, combined with jaggery or sugar, ghee, dry fruits and cardamom powder – the pumpkin halwa is a commonly eaten preparation for fasting. Rich in fibre and vitamins, this buttery halwa is the perfect autumnal dessert for festive occasions. With a nutty taste from the ghee and nuts, as well as the caramel flavours from the sweetener, the halwa is best enjoyed warm for breakfast or a light snack.

Khatta-Meetha Kaddu Sabzi

A north-Indian preparation of tangy-sweet cubes of pumpkin cooked in a tomato gravy, this vegetable preparation is relished with puris or rotis. To make this recipe fasting-friendly, simply eliminate the onion and garlic from the gravy and pair it with rajgira puris or kuttu rotis. For an extra zing of flavour, add a teaspoon of Bengali five-spice mix or panch phoron to enliven all the flavours.

Vrat Ke Pakode

Thinly sliced half moons of pumpkin that are dipped in a batter made of rajgira flour, green chillies and cumin seeds – is the ideal evening snack for your pakoda cravings during a fast. For extra crispiness, add a spoon of samo flour to the batter and pair it with a freshly ground cilantro-green chilli chutney. The crunchy fried covering and fluffy soft pumpkin encased within, is one of the best ways to satiate your snack cravings.

Pumpkin-Samak Pulao

 Swap fragrant basmati rice for sama ke chawal, and throw in finely cubed pieces of pumpkin, boiled groundnuts and a carrot for a colourful and easy pulao. Pair this simple but satisfying main with a bowl of warm rajgira kadhi for a comforting and nourishing meal at the end of a fasting day. This nutrient-dense dish is also a great way to celebrate and incorporate more millets into your diet.

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Falahari Kaddu Tikki

Combine starchy boiled potatoes and grated or mashed pumpkin with crushed peanuts, green chillies and ginger. Shape it into patties and fry each one in ghee until golden-brown in colour. Get creative and make an upvaas lunch wrap by using these tikkis as a stuffing for buckwheat rotis and drizzle with some green chutney. You could also enjoy them on their own and eat it with a tangy homemade tomato chutney.

Pumpkin Raita

Image Credits: Archana's Kitchen

A simple preparation of sauteed pumpkin mixed with thick, freshly set yoghurt; tempered with mustard seeds and seasoned with cumin powder. A cooling accompaniment to sama khichdi or puris and sabzi, enjoy this raita during a hot afternoon when you need a light lunch. Add a pinch of chaat masala for some umami flavour that perfectly complements the sweet pumpkin.

Kumror Chokha

A Bengali-style, sweet-spicy dry preparation of pumpkin, this special festive recipe is a no-onion, no-garlic dish cooked with potatoes and whole, soaked kala chana. Meant to be eaten with luchi – a puri-like flatbread made with all-purpose flour, this deeply flavoured dish also has taste notes from coconut, mustard oil and a whiff of bhaja masala. Enjoy it warm with rotis or a portion of khichdi for dinner.