As the month of Shravan heralds rain, showers, and thunder, so too does it bring with it the season of fasting or abstinence from certain foods. Many choose to stop eating onions and garlic during the period of Chaturmas that begins with Shravan. But this does not have to take away the taste of the meals consumed during the fasting period. Here are some foods that can be made without onions and garlic but are delicious and light on the stomach.
The monsoon month of Shravan, or Saawan, heralds bountiful showers and cool, gusty winds that sweep away all the blistering heat of summer. Temperatures drop after the scorching heat subsides, and there is a rise in humidity and moist weather. Rains in Shravan come bearing down upon cities and fields alike, and as the season changes, the body adjusts to these lowering climes by lowering its own cravings.
Perhaps to remain attuned to these shifts, Shravan has become the month of abstinence. It marks the beginning of Chaturmas, a four-month period in which individuals refrain from eating certain kinds of foods. This is fasting as much for the body as for the mind, to achieve control over food cravings and dietary impulses. During this time, onions and garlic are avoided, and foods are prepared without these two ingredients, which grow underground. This could be because onions and garlic quickly attract microbes in humid weather, which can lead to infection and stomach trouble. There are many foods made without onions and garlic that can be enjoyed during this period that are nourishing, nutritious, and healthy. Read on to know more about no-onion, no-garlic food ideas for Shravan:
For those who are abstaining only from onion and garlic in Shravan, fermented foods like idli and dosa are a good alternative. Made with rice flour, they are good sources of energy and can be simply enjoyed with ghee or a coconut chutney made without garlic.
Sabudana, or tapioca vada, and khichdi are clear favourites as much on regular days as on vrat days. Both dishes are designed to be made without onions and garlic. Flavour is extracted from ghee, cumin, and green chillies, which add a bit of a kick to an otherwise bland repast.
Jeera Aloo Or Aloo Ki Kadhi
Both of these recipes, which use potatoes as a core ingredient, can be enjoyed on vrat days as a way to enjoy a meal that will boost energy. Potatoes tossed in ghee and cumin or packed with chillies and spices in the kadhi are delicious fasting recipes. Eat in measured proportions to maintain the abstinence of the mind!
Boiled pumpkin mixed in crushed groundnut and curd with a hint of green chilli makes for a bharta, which is rich in nutrient content and a good dish for a fasting day. Pumpkin can also be made into a subzi tossed in ghee, cumin, and coconut, all of which can be eaten on vrat days. This no onion, no garlic recipe is ideal for those looking to burn some extra calories.
Lemon Rice/Tamarind Rice
Rice varieties are a good one-dish dinner hack on fasting days. They are easy to digest, light on the stomach, and give a good energy boost. Warm rice lightly flavoured with lemony notes, curry leaves or tamarind, and some peanuts is a wonderfully light dish to enjoy on damp monsoon evenings.
Rava, or suji dhokla, is a favourite across age groups. It can be enjoyed with ghee and some dry powdered chutney like sesame or til making it a good option for the 4 p.m. hunger pang. Rava dhokla is made by fermenting semolina and requires only the most meagre ingredients for the chauka, including mustard seeds, some curry leaves, and red chillies for a bit of spice.
Raw Banana Tikki/Subzi
Bananas are an 'all-season' fruit, and raw bananas have a distinct flavour of their own, which works well in savoury recipes. Raw banana tikki or just a simple raw banana subzi made in ghee are crowd pleasers on fast days. They are good for the stomach and are a source of nourishment, especially during fasting periods when one abstains from multiple food groups.
Sweet Potato Chops/Kees/Chips
Sweet potato chops and grated sweet potatoes are very healthy alternatives, even on non-fast days. Potatoes can be replaced with sweet potatoes in everyday cooking for their added nutrient content. Sweet potatoes can be used to make sweet chops or savoury chips that can be relished without onions and garlic, particularly at teatime.
Along with sweet potatoes, beetroots can also be added to daily meal plans during vrat days because they are a rich source of vitamins that promote good heart health. Made into cutlets or simply boiled and eaten as a warm salad, beetroot is an important food to make up for the nutrients lost during the Chaturmas diet.
While dal tadka made from tur dal requires a good quantity of onions and tomatoes to imbue it with flavour, moong dal can be made without onions and will taste just as good. It can be had with warm rice and ghee as a nourishing and comforting meal. Make sure the moong dal is cooked well because uncooked legumes and dals can lead to stomach trouble.