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Navaratri is a special celebration that takes place in India when the goddess Durga is venerated and is accompanied by a special diet for 9 days. During this period a series of rituals are performed that include from fasting to special meals and those that should be avoided. For example during the Navratri people avoid meals with garlic, onion, rice, wheat flour, semolina, chickpea flour, corn starch, flax seeds, oats, legumes.

The truth is that there is a lot of food not allowed during the navratri. In addition to the meat and eggs there are many vegetables, and even then there are hundreds of recipes for dishes for those festivities. Well that's what catches my attention, that no matter how much you restrict there are always many more alternatives. Beyond Gulab Jamuns to Payasam, from the favorite nostalgic to modern avatars, we bring to you the most beloved Indian desserts.

In this fast-paced world where we look for everything to be done quick and easy, there is one thing that we are compromising on is our food habits. In this busy schedule, we look for fast foods that are junk and unhealthy, and can lead to a lot of health problems in the future. So why not change into a healthy alternative that is not only tasty, but also quick and easy to cook as well.

Why Jowar?

Jowar can definitely be called as the apt alternative. It has high-quality fiber that will help in easy digestion and other health benefits like weight loss, control sugar levels in the blood. It can also reduce high blood pressure and prevent heart strokes. Jowar is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. With so many beneficial factors, it is important to add this in our daily diet.

How to add Jowar in daily diet?

Jowar is not as popular as wheat flour, except in some regions of South India. At the outset, it will be little difficult to replace wheat with jowar. But one can bring about the change slowly. Here we introduce you to 6 simple jowar recipes which is easy to cook and makes a delicious dish. These easy to cook recipes will not only introduce you to jowar, but also makes you addictive. The habit can become long lasting and will impart many benefits. You just need to take the first leap in trying out jowar recipes.

Quick and Delicious Recipes

Tips for fasting during Navratri:

From day 1 to 3: You can go for a fruit diet and eat any sweet fruit, such as apple, watermelon, papaya, banana, grapes and drink coconut water.

From day 4 to 6: You can eat a specific day meal from Navratri, the rest of the day fruits, buttermilk (you can find the recipe on how to do it) and milk.

From day 7 to 9: You can follow the traditional meals of Navratri. A traditional meal from Navratri may contain rice, tapioca, sweet potatoes, ghee, milk and buttermilk. These last three have a refreshing effect on the body. To fulfil the liquid intake you can go for pumpkin, coconut water, fruit juices (better not combine sweet and acid fruits), and vegetable soups. These liquids apart from giving you energy helps in the detoxification process of the body. You can also have fruit salad of papaya, pear and apple.

Instead of rice or oats you can use barley, rye or millet. With millet, you can prepare sama chawal or samvat rice khichdi, a kind of millet porridge and spicy potato. Very similar but looser, like a pilaf, is the sama ki khichdi or moraiyo or mordhan khichdi, similar to bariis iyo bataato.

With the tapioca pearls women also make sabudana khichdi, a pilaf of tapioca pearls, sabudana thalipeeth, which are like potato rotis and tapioca pearls, sabudana pakora, a variant of the pakoras but without the dough that covers them. Very similar to the recipe of sabudana vada, sabudana tikki is also very similar but flatter and with different spices. Well, there are many more if we also add the sweets and the rest of the ingredients.

Embrace the joy of the Navratri festival with the best of our fasting recipes. From old favorites to newer ones, indulge in a lot more than the usual stuff.

1. Sabudana Khichdi


Sabudana is full of starch or carbohydrates which gives you the energy boost needed during the fast. Sabudana khichdi is made with sabudana, peanuts and sweet spices. Sometimes the peanut is added to add beauty to its taste. Rich in its nutritious content, Sabudana Khichdi serves as a sumptuous meal during fasting.

2. Kuttu Ka Dosa


This Navratri moves beyond the usual Puris Kuttu and raises something different. A crunchy dosa recipe made of kuttu ka atta (buckwheat flour) with potato filling.

One of the simplest and easiest recipes are dosas or pancakes. Make a batter out of the Jowar flour and cook some delicious Jowar dosas or pancakes and have it hot with a spicy chutney. You can mix chopped or grated vegetables into the batter to make uthappam or vegetable dosa or make plain dosa by mixing Jowar flour and curds. Onion and Coriander can be spread over the dosa to make a crispy onion dosa for a change.

Godhi dosa is prepared using wheat flour and little bit rice flour with coconut chutney and onion sabzi. It is best when you add jaggery to dosa. A good masala dosa has three broad elements:

A thin but crisp and firm dosai that holds its shape even with the filling inside. The batter should be made especially for dosai and it should be neither too fermented nor too fresh. But, it shouldn’t dry out in the AirCon air to become poppadom. And when you soak the dosai, use it to hold the potato filling and dip it into the sambar and or chutney, it should not become a gooey mess.

The individual elements should stand apart but in total alignment with one another. The onion has to be shredded thin, fried with minuscule bits of ginger (garlic is optional here), turmeric powder, a finely chopped green chilli, red chilli powder that is not too hot, some green peas along with the boiled and mashed potato. The peas should still be whole and not mashed in.

Potato should not be mashed totally. A couple of fried cashew nuts can up the game by several notches. Even shallots should be small because you can’t handle large vegetables and dosai and chutney and masala in one go. A smashed yellow pumpkin gives a great consistency and mild sweet aftertaste without jaggery. It should be thick enough to soak dosai.

Too thick? That’s for rice, not for dosai. The chutneys have to be fresh. Not more than two/three hours old. A good coconut chutney with fresh broken coconut. A green chutney with coriander, mint and coconut. A red chutney with tomato and onion. Groundnut chutney and gun powder are not for masala dosa.

3. Singhare ke Atte ka Samosa


Feast while you fast! Your favorite tea snack with fasting ingredients like water chestnut flour, Sendha Namak and a Chironji spice filling.

4. Jeera Aloo


Jeera aloo is a fasting dish that is easy and quick to prepare. It does not take much of your time and works brilliantly during fasting. When you're hungry and want something really fast, boil a few potatoes and then sauté. It is really very abundant. Jeera (cumin) is one of those spices that is an integral part of various Indian dishes. Taste the relaxing flavors of this light and delicious curry made with potatoes.

Kadi may be the favorite dish of all time. Kadhi can be a substitute for the simple and can be added with the pakoda to add it to the taste. Rajgira kadhi is good for fasting because it is easy to digest. Dahi (curd) is incredible to eat and lends itself to being a great appetizer and helps in digestion thanks to the good bacteria of Dahi.

5. Makhana Kheer


Desserts inspire applause, here is a low-fat kheer recipe made with Makhana and walnuts. Indulge without worrying about the scale!

6. Banana Milk


Take lukewarm milk in a bowl. Add sliced ripe banana and 1/2 teaspoon sugar to it. Charge with this nutritious lassi made with the goodness of yogurt, bananas, honey and walnuts. You can also add a pinch of cardamom powder and toasted and crushed almonds.

7. Arbi Kofta


Tired of eating potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner when you fast? Try the delicious Arbi Kofta which is a perfect snack for you. Fried Arbi is made with fried taro roots, very famous during the Navratri festival. Minimum in spices and rich in nutrients, Arbi serves as good food to rejuvenate your body with energy. The taro root contains a very significant amount of dietary fiber and carbohydrates, as well as high levels of vitamin.

8. Vrat Wale Chawal Ka Dhokla


A fresh recipe that gives you a break from the usual fried pakoras and puris. Steamed dhoklas made with samwat ke chawal. A healthy way to fast.

9. Kebab-e-Kela


Fasting should not be more boring! Spicy banana skewers that melt perfectly in your mouth and satisfy your soul.

10. Sonth ki Chutney


A perfect accompaniment to your regular pakodas or bhajis and also with your vrat-friendly snacks.

11. Kaddu ki sabzi


Pumpkin is a widely used vegetable during the Navratri fasting season. While people fast, light food becomes easy to digest and therefore, pumpkin is preferred among other vegetables. Pumpkin, which is a rich source of vitamin A, is a very nutritious, extremely nutritious food, full of vitamins and minerals but low in calories.

12. Sweet Potato Tikki


For an ideal food for the cold climate and rich in nutritional value, sweet potato tikki serves the purpose. Sweet potatoes give you a powerful nutritional punch.

13. Modak


Coming to sweets, this food which resembles momos contains stuffings of jaggery mixed with shredded coconut (called as gul-chun in Marathi). A famous Indian dessert prepared during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Steamed modaks are known as the favorite cuisine of Ganesha. It is a combination of desiccated coconut and jaggery which is mould together in rice flour, sago, nutmeg and saffron. Steamed to perfection.

So, you’ll find it cooked every Tuesday (staunch devotees) or every month or worst case, 5 days every year during Ganesh Chaturthi festival!

14. Veg Pakora


Take 1 potato, 1 onion, 1 cauliflower and chop it. Another side, take a bowl, put 1 cup gram flour (besan) into it with half cup water. Mix it well and make a batter. Wash the vegetables and put them in the batter. Then, take a pan with refined in it and heat it on a high flame. Now, fry the pakora on medium flame to make it more crispy. Put some chat masala over it and serve.

15. Bread Bhel Puri


Cut 4 slices of whole wheat bread into small pieces. Slightly toast them in a pan or microwave. Chop an onion, cucumber, tomato, green chilli, coriander. Toast fist full of peanuts. Mix all ingredients and add a pinch of salt and chat masala to it. Sprinkle little bhujia on it. Healthy bhel is ready.

16. Sabudana Vada


The vada are traditional fried snacks in several regions of India. The sabudana vada made with potato and tapioca pearls, are usually prepared during the navratri period. Women prepare alternative meals with the rest of foods that are allowed, such as sabudana vada.

For this recipe we must first make them soft, but if we cook them they will be too soft and then too hard. So we leave them to soak in cold water, avoiding the heat (if it is very hot leave it in the fridge). Mix them with the rest of the ingredients. Proceed to their cooking by adding in oil until the whole mass is golden. If we do not increase the heat it will also be when the tapioca pearls have softened enough to be able to eat the whole preparation without noticing hard balls.

When the dough has little potato it melts and breaks in the oil. The tapioca pearls, which already retain water, soften. If there is too much tapioca in the dough, it all comes together and forms a salsita that does not do well oil. If you make the first sabudana vada and break it, and they remain as translucent, it is that the dough needs more potatoes.

They can also be grilled, with little oil, in a non-stick pan, covered. In that case make them a little flatter and put the fire a little lower, since they will be in contact with the pan all the time. Cook both sides and leave a moment on absorbent kitchen paper. I have not tried the oven, but you can try it too.

With the base of the recipe (tapioca pearls hydrated + potato + peanuts) you can invent your own similar vada. And if we start to vary it with whatever we want, we can add hard tofu (shredded with hands), cooked quinoa (and drained), carrot cooked and cut into small pieces, fresh parsley, chopped shiitake mushrooms, and roasted pumpkin.

17. Parathas


Bread lovers can bake a healthy bread by replacing maida or all purpose flour with Jowar flour. This is easy to make and healthy recipe as jowar contains a lot of fiber. You can add some dry fruits to the bread dough if you are someone who does not fancy plain bread.

Paratha is one of the favorite dishes of the majority of Indian families, especially in Northern parts of India. This recipe, which is easy to cook and a staple food in many households is generally made from Wheat flour. Jowar flour can replace wheat flour to make it more healthy and taste different. Jowar can give a twist to your taste buds with the most familiar Parathas.

You can also add different vegetables or paneer to spice up the plain paratha. A special Chutney made from Groundnut, onion and garlic, is preferred by many as a side dish with Jowar Paratha. Any side dish that is usually cooked with parathas will taste great along with your jowar parathas.

They also make chapathi which is dry and crisp from Jowar flour which has a shelf life of 5-6 months! Khadak Roti is the local term for this and this Roti is good for consumption during travels, for supplying to places which are affected by floor, earthquake etc.

18. Idli


Idli is considered as one of the best breakfast by the WHO. Idli is a perfect combination of carbohydrates (rice) and protein (dal) with a good amount of fiber content. The batter is made by a fermentation process which makes it best for gut health. It is soft and fluffy which makes it suitable for all age groups.

Idli is light and easy to digest. It is cooked by a steaming method without adding oil and without direct contact with heat. All these make it a best breakfast option. One can eat 3-4 idlis per meal based on their health goals. Best time to eat idli is at breakfast. It can also be had at dinner. To enhance the protein content, have idli with sambhar.

This is for all those who want an easy way to grind idli batter. Soak 3 cups of idli rice (boiled rice), one cup dosa rice (raw rice) and half cup of good urad dhal with a little fenugreek seeds. Soak them all together after mixing and washing them in a big vessel in the morning. Grind after 6 hrs. Mix salt. Let ferment. At night it will be ready if the temperature is warm.

It may swell up faster in hot temperature. Keep in the fridge. Use next day to make soft idli. Have with sambar/chutney/idly spicy powder with sesame oil.

19. Poha


Moist it nicely. Soak Poha in water, drain the excess water and leave it for 4 to 5 minutes before cooking. Let the moisture get inside the Poha flakes. Always cook Poha in low flame. No matter how hungry you are, never cook Poha in high flame. After Mixing Poha with spices just cover the lid and cook it in low flame for 2 to 3 minutes (not more than that otherwise it will blow away the moisture).

After cooking for 2 minutes just turn off the heat and leave the lid ON for another 2 to 3 minutes. Let the Poha flakes cooked in its own steam. This will not only soften the flakes but also make it fluffy.

To prepare Dahi poha soak a cup of brown poha (brown rice flakes) in two cups of curd. Add a pinch of salt, chat masala, fresh chopped coriander, small green chilly chopped into tiny pieces and pomegranate seeds to it. Mix well and eat.

20. Rotis


Roti or rotti is a popular breakfast food in South India. Generally, rice flour is used to make roti and is called Akki Rotti. This soft and crispy dish is relished with chutney. But making this using Jowar flour is a good option as it will be crispier and healthier.

Vegetables like Carrot, Cabbage, Methi, cucumber etc. can be used along with onion. Just grate or cut any vegetable into small piece, cut some fresh coriander leaves and one green chili, mix it with Jowar flour and make delicious roti on tawa for a healthy and tasty breakfast.

Those who do not like Khadak Roti or Rotti can try soft roti. The procedure is simple, just boil 1½ cups of water, when water starts boiling, add little oil or ghee, salt and then add Jowar flour while stirring continuously. The mixture turns into solid dough. When this dough cools, knead it with little oil, make small balls, roll it into thin layers and bake it on tawa.

This can be served with dry vegetable curry or gravy one or with simple chutney. Makes a good breakfast recipe for elders also as it is soft and full of fiber.

21. Dal Makhani


Dal Makhani is a pure delight from Punjabi cuisine. It’s black lentils that have been simmered for hours in butter, spices, and cream. It’s so indulgent, so tasty, so comforting. You can eat it with rice, but my favourite thing is to eat it with plain naan. At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Dal Makhani is cooked for over 10 hours.

23. Thalipeeth


This is another common food found to be cooked by Marathi people. It is made up of flour of several grains like wheat, jowar, bajri, etc. with some vegetables and spices. It is enjoyed with ghee or chutney.

23. Panjiri


This is a nutrition snack savored in Punjab and Haryana. Panjiri contains rich ingredients like whole wheat flour, dry fruits, ghee and sugar. It is very tasty and prevent us from cold and cough.

24. Pathrode


The Pathrode refers to Colocasia leaves that are rolled and steamed or occasionally deep fried, using a batter made of basan and ground dal.

25. Chaman Kaliya


This is a cream based cottage cheese (paneer), cooked in a different ways to lend a finer quality to it's exquisitivness.

26. Kakara Pitha


It is a sweet dish from Odisha. They are made from cardamon flavored semolina (suji) and wheat flour. Chitau Pitha makes its appearance in the Odia homes on the occasion of Chitalagi Amabasya, also known as Chitau Amabasya. Basic ingredients are rice and coconut. Tastes nice if served with chutney or khir (khiri).

27. Chhena Poda


We can call it Indian Cheesecake. Chhena Poda is dish from Odisha. Chhena poda literally means Roasted Cheese in Odia. It uses homemade cottage cheese that is kneaded with dry fruits and sugar and finally baked in oven until it turn golden brown. Chhena poda is the only well known Indian dessert whose flavor is predominantly derived from the caramelization of sugar.

28. Aamras ki kadhi


Should I try the rasmalai or the aamras? So you end up eating 4–5 of those dessert cups. As you roll out of there, you vow never to go back. But you do. If you want give your regular kadhi a new taste, try Aamras ki Kadhi, which blend mango pulp with gram flour and is cooked in buttermilk gravy.

29. Biranji


Biranji rice with mulgai yengai (brinjal curry) is very famous in Ranebennur, Haveri and Hubli. Rice, cinnamon, garlic, dry red chillies, dried coconut, butter are used in making this. It’s best with brinjal/capsicum curry.

30. Bhatt Ki Dal


It is a daal prepared by black beans in the gravy of tomato, garlic, chili, bean, and other spices.

31. Dubuk


It is either prepared by grinding black beans or Gahat Ki Dal (a very special lentil) by tempering cumin seeds, asafoetida, chili, garlic cloves, and salt.

32. Bal Mithai


A very famous sweet made from caramelized sugar and milk.

33. Sambar


Cook the Toor Dal or Moong dal or mixture of both separately in a pressure cooker. Add small amount of ghee or oil while cooking which will give soft even cooking. Choose the vegetables for sambar wisely. Always choose vegetables in pair. Either local vegetables like brinjal, Drumstick, ladies finger or English vegetables like carrot, beans.

Always use the home ground red chilly powder and coriander seed powder or use the best tried commercial chilly powders. When making Tadka use mustard, cumin, fenugreek seeds, red chilly flakes and asafoetida. Shallots (small onions) are preferred over the big onions as shallots give more taste to sambar. Use country tomatoes rather than the salad one as the country tomatoes give more sourness and taste.

Make fresh Sambar powder which contains the roasted powdered grams like urad dal, channa dal, rice, till seeds, pepper corns, grated coconuts. Always add the Sambar powder at the end so that the flavour remains in the mixture. Add tamarind water extracted from a small sphere (goli gundu) size tamarind after the vegetables are added. That will complete the dish.

For breakfast sambar add small jaggery bits. Use generous amount of corriander leaves.

Challenge your creativity and come up with more great dishes. So what are you waiting for? Get into your kitchen, wear the chef's hat and apron and try one of the above dishes or invent something new to tingle your taste buds and still keep you fit and healthy.
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author

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