Festivals have great significance and a purposeful story behind them. These festivals always give us a virtuous message and with that in mind, we celebrate them with lots of happiness, joy, enthusiasm, pomp and love. India is blessed with diverse cultures, incredibly rich heritage and innumerable festivals. All the festivals play a very close and significant role in our lives. Festivals like Diwali, Navratri, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Rakshabandhan, Onam, Janmashtami, Baisakhi, Pongal and many others are of great importance and are celebrated with full joy, enthusiasm and pomp, keeping all the culture and tradition in mind.
When you find the city is bustling with colourful embroidered ghagra cholis, bandhani dupattas dazzling with mirror work, heavy jewellery, kedias, loud traditional music with a lot of drum beats, the Raas Garba, the sparkling dandiyas, the sashay of the skirt, the excitement of shopping for a nine days extravaganza. Yes, we are talking about ‘NAVRATRI’, a nine-day festival celebrated in honour of Goddess Durga. Navratri is a festival during which devotees observe fast for 9 days to show their devotion & love to Goddess Durga. Navratri festival is the symbol of the victory of good over evil. The nine-day festival culminates on the tenth day which is the day of victory and success celebrated as Dussehra (also called Vijayadashami). This festival also marks the symbolic journey from humanness to divinity thereby reminding people of the real goal of human life.
Importance of fasting:
When we talk of celebration then how can we miss the feast, the food and yummy delicacy which comes along with the festival celebrations. But Navratri is a bit different as here it’s a time of fasting and abstinence, so is feasting possible? Fasting is a part of its celebration. Usually, people keep fast for religious reasons. Fast is observed by people for eight to nine days. It is believed that by fasting or upvaas, one can purify their body, mind and soul. Sacrificing your personal interest during these nine days is another form of pleasing God and yet another form of devotion to goddess Durga.
Stories of Maa Durga revealing these rules for fasting in-person to her ardent devotees are also heard of. There are yet some others who find an auspicious way to detoxify their body. Some people find it a good way to lose weight but end up eating the wrong things in the wrong way and the entire calculation fails. During the days of fast normally people avoid eating meat, grains, alcohol, onion, garlic etc. In fact, this is the time they get back to foods like roots, fruits easy to digest food like kuttu atta, singhara atta, fresh vegetables, milk, yoghurt and makhanas as they are light. Also, rock salt is preferred over normal salt. All these traditions are not only to please the divine but have great scientific significance too.
According to Ayurveda fasting is an effective way to kindle the digestive fire and burn away accumulated toxins from the body and mind. It also eliminates gas, lightens the body, improves mental clarity, and preserves overall health. Therefore we can say fasting is indirectly a good feast for the Body, Mind, and Soul.
From fasting to feasting:
But with proper planning and smart & healthy thinking, you can cook your meals and convert your fasting to a nine-day feasting time. Yes, there are restrictions as to what to eat and what to avoid but with the numerous options available you can definitely have a healthy, enjoyable nine-day fasting to feasting celebration.
Going Back to your roots:
Indians are blessed with an incredibly rich food heritage. Each region and culture has different delicacies for fasting. These delicacies are not only delicious but are immensely healthy too. Let's explore some of the food and its health benefits to help you through this nine-day fast.
Loaded with starch and high in carbs this is the most opted item in eating as it gives you the energy, keeps you feeling full to pull on the day. A mild snack with peanuts and spices can just make your day. Some interesting dishes you can try are sabudana khichdi, sabudana vada, sabudana kheer or sabudana thalipeeth. You can also prepare Sabudana namkeen with big sabudana that is available especially for namkeen, peanuts, cashew, and almonds. It’s a very good mid-meal snack option. You can find some really easy & tasty recipes made with sabudana here - Sabudana Recipes For Fast (Vrat).
Potato is the king of fasting food. It is the most experimented root in the kitchen. You fry it, roast it, boil it, cook it, steam it in any form and it is just so yummy and tasty. Simple jeera aloo, aloo tamatar sabzi, aloo paneer kofta, dahi aloo, aloo makhana, sun-dried potato chips, farali potato chiwda, Farali batata vada, aloo chaat, farali pattice using either water chestnut flour(singhara atta) or buckwheat flour(kuttu ka atta) for binding. Aloo sabzi or curry can also be complemented with puri or bhakri made with flours like rajgira flour, sabudana flour, or readymade farali flour as well. If you are looking for some super quick filling snack then Aloo tuk is a great option. Aloo tuk is a traditional sindhi dish prepared with potatoes. Here Sindhi aloo tuk recipe for your reference.
Loaded with nine essential amino acids, fibre, antioxidants, and magnesium kuttu atta is one of the healthiest atta to include in our diet during fasting. Some interesting dishes you can try are crispy kutta dosa, pakora, kuttu aloo paratha, puri, roti, bhakri, or kuttu ki barfi. Also, kuttu atta can be used as a binding agent for preparing aloo tikkis, thalipeeth, etc. Have a look at some of the interesting recipes you can prepare with Kuttu Atta here - Kuttu dishes (Buckwheat recipes) for Navratri fast.
Singhara atta is made from dried water chestnut fruits. It has numerous health benefits. It’s rich in protein, antioxidants, iron, magnesium and is also cholesterol and fat-free. These nutritional values as well as extraordinary taste makes Singhara atta a super healthy option during fasting. You can prepare several dishes with singhara atta like poori, kheer, halwa, pakora, sabzi etc. Singhara halwa is one of the most delicious recipes you can make with Singhara atta. Here is the Singhare Ka Halwa recipe.
Arbi is again one of the most popular fasting foods. Delicious snacks like arbi fry, dahi arbi, arbi tikkis, patties or cutlets, arbi curry or arbi masala can brighten any dull moments of fasting. Also, Arbi is an excellent source of dietary fibre that can help you keep full for a long period of time. Here is a special Phalahari tari arbi sabzi recipe, for you to try this Navratri.
Sweet potato is an excellent source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also rich in beta-carotene which helps in strengthening our immune system and gut health. During fasting, if you still crave for a sweet flavour, then you definitely need to add sweet potato in the menu like sweet potato kheer, shakarkandi sabzi, halwa, ladoo, chaat, etc. You can also prepare simple sweet potato soup or sweet potato salad. If you crave for tasty chaat, then Shakarkandi chaat is perfect for you. Here is the recipe of Shakarkandi chaat.
Jimikand, also known as Suran is one of the healthy vegetables to have while fasting. Elephant foot yam is a great source of potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, phosphorous and calcium. It’s very much helpful in boosting the immunity as well as it’s a good detoxifier. You can try various recipes like Suran fry, sabzi, kadhi, chips, cutlets, etc.. You can also try the Suran khichdi recipe, it’s simple yet delicious.
Makhanas, also called lotus seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients. Makhanas are gluten-free, protein-rich, high in carbohydrates, low in cholesterol, fat and sodium. They are perfect for those in-between meal hunger pangs during fasting. You can roast the seeds or fry them in a little ghee along with some nuts like cashew, almonds, peanuts and have it like namkeen. If you are looking for some mouth-watering dessert, then makhana kheer is a superb option. Here is the recipe of Makhana kheer.
Dry fruits like almonds, walnuts, cashews, dates, raisins are an exemplary combination of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. Even health experts recommend eating walnuts, apricots, and pistachios to lead a healthy lifestyle. They are perfect healthy snacks during fasting. You can also add dry fruits to your namkeens and sweets to enhance the flavour. Read more details regarding dry fruits benefits here - Health Benefits of Eating Dry Fruits in Winter.
Peanuts are an excellent source of healthful fats, protein, and fibre. Also, they are rich in potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and B vitamins and low in carbohydrates. Not only are peanuts healthy but they have good taste too. You can add peanuts to your namkeens, sabzi, curry, sabudana vada, cutlets and much more. You can also roast them and have it as a snack. Also, try peanut coconut ladoo, it's like a healthy energy bar. Here is the peanuts coconut laddoo recipe. Do try it!
Fresh fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. All the fruits are highly rich in fibre. Fresh fruits are best to include in diet as they help us feel full, are low in calories, are super healthy and tasty too. During Navratri fasting, you can have fresh fruits for your breakfast and also as a mid-meal. Fruits like apples, bananas, pear, guava are good options for fasting days. You can also prepare different smoothies with fresh fruits, milk, nuts and sugar.
Coconut is one of the healthiest nuts that is packed with numerous essential nutrients. Enriched with fibre and MCTs (Medium-chain triglycerides) coconut is believed to be beneficial for heart health, weight loss, and digestion. You can have fresh coconut water or fresh shredded coconut or dry coconut while observing Navratri fast. People in India also prepare special coconut ladoo or barfi for Navratri prasad. You can use coconut in both sweet as well as savoury dishes.
Ready to eat snacks just for you:
And for all those who want to simply feast on ready to eat fasting snacks we have them available to you at our store. We at JustHaat the Best Online Indian Grocery Supermarket London, UK, know our customers and value their needs. We have loaded our shelves with a wide variety of fasting items arranged especially for all of you here in the UK on this festive and auspicious occasion of Navratri. We try to offer the best Asian and Indian grocery online shopping UK, experience to our customers. Place your order right now and we assure you of our best services and that too at reasonable prices. So don't let the festival drain your energy rather let your fast turn to feasting with all the right, healthy products available to you at our online grocery store just a click away. Listed below are a few of the lip-smacking ready to eat snacks available at JustHaat.com.
- Farali Khakhra
- Banana Chips
- Potato Chips
- Sesame Chikki Bar
- Dry Fruit Chikki
- Rajgira Roll
- Sweet Farali Chevda
- Spicy Farali Chevda
- Roasted Makhana
Sweets are an integral part of any Indian festival. So to complete your Navratri celebration, we are here with a wide range of sweets made only for you. Have a look!
- Dairy Valley Kaju Katli
- Dairy Valley Milk Cake
- Dairy Valley Kesar Peda
- Dairy Valley Khoya Barfi
- Dairy Valley Mix Mithai
- Dairy Valley Rasgulla
- Dairy Valley Gajar Halwa
- Fudco Sweet Makhana
We also have a wide range of pooja samagri required for Navratri pooja. Here is the quick list for your convenience.
- Kanku powder
- Pooja Sopari (Betelnut)
- Fragrance Sticks
- Haldi and Kumkum Leaf Set
- Gulal Puja Powder
- Sindoor Powder
- Abil Pooja Powder
- Betel leaves
- Sabudana poha
- Farali atta
- Singoda flour
- Rajagro flour
- Dry fruits
- Elephant foot yam
- Sweet potato
Until next time Happy Fasting, Happy Feasting, Happy Grocery Shopping from all of us at JustHaat!