Bored of the same fasting menu every Navratri? Try these vrat-friendly recipes
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While Navratri is the time to pray, fast and allow your body to detox naturally, it doesn’t mean you’ve got to eat the same boring and bland foods every day. A little indulgence won’t hurt. Give sabudana khichdi and vadas a break and up your Navratri fasting game by giving these yummy yet vrat-friendly recipes a try. We promise you won’t regret. 

Aloo Makhana
Aloo makhana makes for the perfect snack to binge on between meals during the fasting season and keeps hunger pangs at bay. When you’re short on time, you could give this recipe a try as it is made with ingredients that are easily found in the kitchen.
Ingredients:
1 cup potatoes
1 cup phool makhana
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
Senda namak, to taste
2 tbsp ghee
Method:
1. Heat one tablespoon ghee in a pan. Add the makhana and roast them on a medium to low heat until they turn crisp. Once done, remove from the pan and keep aside.
2. Add the remaining ghee in the same pan. Add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add the green chillies and sauté for about 20 seconds. Add the spice powders including salt and give it all a good stir.
3. Add boiled potatoes into the pan and toss well. Once all the potatoes are coated well with the spice mix, add the roasted makhana and toss again.
4. Lower the flame and keep tossing. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Dahi Arbi
This Dahi Arbi recipe makes for a great side dish to be relished alongside sabudana khichdi or parathas. Follow this step-by-step recipe and bring back the tasty to your fasting diet.
Ingredients:
300 gms, arbi
2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
Sendha namak, to taste
50 gms dahi
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
Method:
1. Peel, wash and slice the arbi lengthwise and keep aside.
2. Heat some ghee in a pan. Add cumin seeds and allow them to splutter. Add the green chillies and sliced arbi. Sauté over a medium flame for 4 to 5 minutes or until the arbi turns golden brown. Next, add curd and stir for a while
3. Add red chilli powder, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes over a medium flame until the arbi gets mashed. Keep stirring at regular intervals.
4. Add around 1½ to 2 cups of water and sendha namak as per taste. Bring it to a boil. Lower the flame, cover the pan and let it simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the arbi gets cooked.
5. Mix well and garnish with chopped coriander leaves before serving.

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Kuttu ka Paratha
If you are vegan and observing the Navratri fast, this paratha recipe is a healthy and vrat-friendly way to enjoy the goodness of parathas.
Ingredients:
1 cup kuttu ka aata
1 cup singhare ka aata
1/4 kg colocasia, boiled, peeled and mashed
1 tsp Sendha namak
Water, as required
Some dry flour, for dusting
Method:
1. Mix the two types of flour (kuttu and singhare) and the colacasia. Knead with water into a soft dough. Once ready, cover the dough and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
2. Divide the dough into small balls and proceed to make parathas as you normally do.
3. Opt for a non-stick pan, in case you prefer little or no ghee.

Recipes by Executive Sous Chef Rajinder Sareen, Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway

Sprouted Moong Khichdi
This khichdi recipe is another option for vegans following the Navratri fast. It is a no-fuss recipe and can be replicated even by kitchen first-timers.
Ingredients:
1½ cups moong beans or whole green moong, sprouted overnight
1 cup vrat ke chawal, soaked for 30 minutes
¾ cup fresh coconut, scraped
2½ cup water
2 tbsp non-dairy butter
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
¼ tsp hing (asafetida)
½ tbsp coriander powder 
1 tsp cumin powder, roasted
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tbsp Byadgi red chilli powder
½ tbsp sugar
¼ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Method:
1. Heat the butter in a pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds and hing and let it sizzle for a few seconds.
2. Add the moong bean or moong sprouts, half of the coriander leaves, scraped fresh coconut, salt (as per taste), sugar, roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix all the ingredients well and sauté for a minute on low heat.
3. Add in the rice and sauté it well before pouring in the water. You can adjust the water quantity depending on the type of rice and as per your pressure cooker's requirement. Don’t forget to stir well before turning the heat to high.
4. Close the lid and cook for 2 whistles. Then let it cook on low heat for the next 5 minutes before taking it off the heat. 
5. Once cooked, wait for 15 to 20 minutes before opening the cooker, to ensure that the khichdi does not turn out mushy.
6. Fluff up the khichdi with the back of a spoon. Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves.

Gulkand Gulab Jamun
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this Gulkand Gulab Jamun recipe is just the perfect way to satiate those cravings even when you're on a fast!
Ingredients:
200 gms khoya
10 gms white flour (maida)
500 ml ghee
20 gms kesar
20 gms pista
5 litres milk
100 gms gulkand
For the sugar syrup:
3 litres water
2 kg sugar
Method:
1. For the sugar syrup, take a large pan and add 3 cups of water, 4 tablespoons of sugar and bring to a boil. Let it boil for a minimum of 10 mins before taking off the heat. Keep aside.
2. To make the gulab jamun, start by soaking the kesar in some warm milk. Keep this kesar syrup aside.
3. In a bowl, mix together the grated khoya, white flour and ghee. Knead into a firm dough that isn’t sticky.
4. Take out about 2 to 4 tablespoons of this mixture in another pan. Add the kesar syrup and some pista. Knead well until the colour changes to yellow.
5. After you’ve greased your hand, divide the dough into equal-sized portions, add gulkand and roll into small balls. Make sure they are smooth and without any cracks. Keep them covered.
6. Take a large frying pan and add ghee. Once the ghee is hot enough, bring the heat to very low and begin adding the balls. Keep stirring for 5 to 7 minutes in a circular motion to let the jamuns cook evenly. Bring the heat to medium and let them cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until they turn golden brown. Remove and immediately dip them in the sugar syrup.
7. When ready to serve, take the gulab jamuns out of the sugar syrup.

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Recipes by Vicky Kumar, Chef de Partie, Indore Marriot Hotel


Image: Shutterstock

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