Navratri Recipes: How to Turn the 5 Grains of Navratri into Healthy Food
Let's fancy up the five main grains eaten during Navratri to make this fasting season both healthy and tasty.
Vrat ka khana or Navratri food is very logically designed not just to give our body and taste buds a break from the regular fare, but to also help us rotate our grains and go gluten free for this changing season. This helps the body detox and cleanse from inside. But new grains do take some getting used to. So why don’t we fancy up the five main grains eaten during Navratri to make this fasting season both healthy and tasty.
Try these easy to cook Navratri dishes.
Kuttu ka Atta (buckwheat flour)
Buckwheat flour is packed with high quality protein and offers more of the amino acid lysine that is missing from most of our regular/preferred staples wheat and rice. That’s a big plus, specially for vegetarians. It is loaded with fibre too which help to keep hunger pangs at bay and cravings in check.
Skip the kuttu pakora and try noodles instead!
Recipe: Buckwheat noodles
Boil buckwheat noodles in water. Add some vegetables, season according to taste, add a squeeze of lemon and some nuts and dig in. This tases nice chilled as well.
Sabudana (Sago pearls)
Sabudana is a good source of carbohydrates and delivers the much needed energy boost while fasting. Plus it is easy to digest as well.
Skip the sabudana khichri and try the sabudana kheer instead.
Recipe: Sabudana kheer
Wash and soak 1/2 cup sabudana in about 1/2 cup of water for 2-3 hours till it becomes light and fluffy.
Boil 2 cups milk on sim for about 10 minutes, stir constantly.
Now add the sabudana and cook for about 5 minutes till it becomes translucent.
Now add 2 tbsp sugar, a pinch of cardamom powder, chopped pistachios, and a few strands of saffron (optional) and boil for another 2 minutes.
Let the kheer thicken as it cools. Chill it and eat after some time.
Rajrira (Amaranth) atta
This underrated grain is a fantastic source of protein that you must try out during fasting (and then continue eating).
Skip the amaranth rotis, try this pancake instead.
Recipe: Amaranth pancake
Add 30 gm amaranth flour, 200 ml milk, 30 gm desiccated coconut, a pinch of salt and baking powder and water (if needed) and mix well.
Add 1 tbsp honey and a pinch of cinnamon powder.
Now heat a non stick fry pan, smear some oil and add and spread evenly a dollop of the mixture into a round pancake shape.
Cook from both sides on slow heat.
Drizzle some honey on top. It is delicious.
Sama rice (Vrat rice or Barnyard millet)
These are lighter to digest, gluten free and are from the millets family so they have higher protein too compared to regular rice.
Skip the regular pulao and have Sama rice dhokla instead.
Recipe: Sama rice dhokla
Soak 1 cup sama rice and half cup sabudana in water for 3 hours.
Drain and grind well.
Stir in about 1/2 cup sour yogurt in the ground batter.
Leave to ferment overnight.
Before preparing, add 1 tsp eno, and vrat salt to taste and steam the batter to make dhokla
Singhare ka atta (water chestnut flour)
This flour is made by peeling, drying and powdering water chestnuts and is not just gluten free but very has very low calories. It is a cooling food (unlike kuttu atta which is warming).
Skip singhara roti and pakoras, have singhara sheer instead
Recipe: Singhara sheera
Roast 1/2 cup singhara atta in ghee, till it turns light brown in colour (about 5-7 minutes).
Now add 1 cup boiled, extremely hot water and keep stirring to avoid lumps.
When the water gets absorbed in about 2-3 minutes, add 1/3 rd cup sugar and stir again till ghee starts to leave from the halwa.
Now put the gas off, add a pinch of cardamom powder and some chopped almonds on top and eat warm.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of The Don't Diet Plan: A no-nonsense guide to weight loss, Fix it with Food, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, and Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People)
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