Navratri 2023: 7 Ways To Turn Your Vrat Thali From Fast To Feast

We’re on the cusp of one of India’s most-loved festivals, Navratri. This year, the festival commences on the 15th of October and culminates with the celebration of Dussehra on the 24th of October. The nine-day Hindu festival is dedicated to honouring the divine feminine power of Shakti. Throughout this sacred period, devotees pay homage to various incarnations of Goddess Durga, seeking her divine blessings. 

During this time, people also celebrate with garba or dandiya dances, and a special fast in which they adhere to a Sattvic diet and avoid eating things like wheat flour, rice, onions, garlic, non-vegetarian fare, and other foods deemed tamsik. Instead, these staples are replaced by kuttu atta, sabudana, amaranth, singhare ka atta, rock salt, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. 

But just because you have to adhere to dietary restrictions, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious vrat meal. With a little creativity, you can turn your fast into a feast. Here are 7 yummy recipe ideas to try.

1. Singhare ke Atte ka Samosa:

Evening chai is never complete without some munchies, but during Navratri, it’s hard to find snacks that will satisfy you while also sticking to your fasting diet. But Singhare Atta Ka Samosa could be the perfect fix. This fasting version of the popular Indian snack is made from water chestnut flour, arrowroot powder and sendha namak with spices to replicate the textures of a samosa with a crispy exterior and a delightful, savoury filling.

2. Kheere Ka Pakoda:

Cucumbers can do so much more than sit on the table alongside tomatoes and onions as the quintessential ‘Indian salad’. But they also have a place in cooked dishes worth exploring. In this vratwale twist on the classic pakoda. Simply slice a fresh cucumber into thin slices, coat in a batter of singhare ke atta and deep fry or air fry until golden and crunchy. These pakodas have a perfectly crisp texture on the outside and a refreshing, mild flavour of cucumber on the inside.

3. Kuttu Mudde:

These very basic snacks made with Kuttu (buckwheat) atta, ghee and some sendha namak all made into a thick paste with water and then fried or steamed could seem underwhelming. But thanks to the natural flavours of the flour, these simple balls of kuttu can be transformed into a tasty snack. Just pair them with a favourite chutney or gravy and dip away for some healthy munchies

4. Samak Rice Pulao:

Millets are the ingredient of the hour (or rather the year) in India, but they’ve always been a staple of fasting recipes. Samak Rice aka Barnyard Millet is especially popular during festivals where traditional grains aren’t allowed. Though the cooking process is slightly different from rice, making a veggie packed pulao that’s perfect to pair with gravies or even as a meal on its own can add to any Vrat thali.

5. Chironji ki Daal:

Although this dish is generally referred to as a dal, the base ingredient Chironji (also called Charoli) is actually more like a nut. Known as Cuddapah almond in English, it’s in the same family as the cashew nut and can be slowly cooked down with fresh spices to result in a rich and creamy texture with a delightful nutty undertone. Perfect to serve with a side of Samak Rice.

6. Pista Lauj:

Missing some sweet treats? A simple Pista Lauj is the way to go, especially if you’re a fan of nuts. This simple barfi-like sweet is made from ground pistachios, sugar, and a touch of ghee. It's prepared by cooking these ingredients together to form a fudgy, nutty confection and you can even add a hint of cardamom flavour to spice things up.

7. Apple Halwa:

Harness the goodness of fruits on your Navratri platter this year. Apple Halwa is a simple but delicious dessert made from grated apples that are cooked with ghee, sugar, and cinnamon. The result is a delightful, sweet pudding with a rich apple flavour, almost like a spoonable apple pie. Garnish it with some crunchy nuts for the most satisfying dessert experience.