Festive feasting: The sattvik route
The quintessential Navratri food has a lot more to it than just potatoes and buckwheat fritters. Indulge in a bit of extravagance by giving your meals a modern tadka
Celebrations are incomplete without festive delicacies. Similarly, the nine-day festival of Navratri is only half-done without the delicious fasting food. Many of those celebrating the festival eat sattvik food. But does that mean you need to compromise on your feasting in the run up to Dussehra? Not really.
Eating sattvik food is done to get our body ready for the next season, to detoxify and restore our balance. This Navratri, give a gourmet spin to your sattvik food, with easily available ingredients. “Navratri fast has many variations. Some people consume only water during these nine days, some eat fruits while others stick to one sattvik meal a day. People who are fasting mainly avoid eating any non-vegetarian food, onion, garlic and certain grains,” says chef Vivek Rana from The Claridges, New Delhi, which has curated an oriental Navratri bento box. “This year, we have tried something new for those who are willing to experiment a bit. Our Navratri bento box includes dishes like samak fried rice, samak and cucumber sushi, stir-fried Asian greens and much more,” he adds
Sabudana (tapioca pearls), samak chawal (samak rice), kuttu (buckwheat), rajgira (amaranth), singhara (water chestnut), fruits, potatoes, pumpkin, dairy-based products and dry fruits are some of the ingredients one can use to make sattvik food.
“Amaranth laddoo, palak makhana (fox nuts in a spinach base), tapioca pearls yoghurt parfait, oats and peanuts laddoo and apple crumble with singhara ka atta, are definitely the dishes that should be tried this season. It’s a trip down memory lane, and will transport you to the days when our mums used to prepare elaborate festive meals at home. Packed with flavour, these dishes do not compromise on the health aspect at all,” says Kusha Mathur, senior sous chef at Welcomehotel Sheraton New Delhi. The hotel is offering a special Navratri thali at their restaurant, Delhi Pavilion. ”
You can also give a contemporary twist to you regular kuttu (buckwheat) or singhara ka atta (water chestnut flour) and whip up a roti pizza with toppings like tomato, sweet potato, sabudana (tapioca pearls), etc. Chef Vaibhav Bhargava, from CHÔ - Vietnamese Kitchen and Bar, New Delhi, has incorporated Asian flavours in the eatery’s Navratri menu. With buckwheat flour noodles, pumpkin curry and sago pudding (tapioca pudding), it’s a treat to the senses.
Khandani Rajdhani, in all its outlets including Mumbai and Bangalore is offering traditional Vrat Thali. The dishes include Sabudana Wada, Samo Rice and Tomato Dal, Shakarkand Halwa, Farali Pattice, Kuttu Ki Puri and much more. Likewise, Courtyard by Marriott Bengaluru ORR, Navratri food at the MoMo Cafe will include dishes such as Farali Dhokla, Farali Wada, Kaccha kella ke vada, Kuttu or Singhara ke Puri, Thepla and Roti, lauki halwa, singahre ka halwa, and much more.
Talking about the common mistakes that people make while cooking sattvik food at home, chef Ashish Singh, corporate chef at Dhansoo Café, Delhi and Gurugram, explains, “Using too many spices in any sattvik dish is not advisable at all, as it can lead to gastric issues. Don’t use too many clashing ingredients in one dish. For example, if you are making a dessert, try to retain the original essence of the star ingredient and do not complicate it with too many flavours. Reheating the same oil all day to fry your kuttu pakoras, potato chips and sabudana papads will lead to indigestion, heartburn and unwanted weight gain.”
When it comes to drinks, one can opt for the soothing flavours of dates and coconut. “Dates milkshake is one of the best drinks to consume while fasting. Rich in fibre and antioxidants, dates have many health benefits. They are also a natural sweetener. This milkshake is a great source of calcium and potassium. You will feel energised and full for a longer duration. Apart from this, you can always sip on coconut water during Navratri. It keeps you hydrated and makes for a nourishing beverage,” ends Mathur.
Sharing more options for the platter, Sarita Bazaz, founder of The Food Affairs, says, “Rose Sorbet, Sabudana Pops, Ghee roasted sweet potato (shakarkandi), Aloo Lacha Tikki, and Sitafal Basundi are a few dishes we’ve tried, giving traditional fast food staples a fresh spin. All these foods contain conventionally used components in fasting cuisines that are light and good for the digestive system.”
SHAKARKANDI AUR MOONGFALLI KE KEBAB
1 Cup sweet potato
1 Tbsp Roasted peanuts
1 Tsp green chilly
1 Tsp grated ginger
1 Tsp chopped coriander
1 tsp roasted Jeera powder
1 Tsp Pomegranate seeds
Sendha Namak to taste
1 cup ghee for shallow frying
Steamed sweet potato in steamer for 30mins and cool it off.
Peel the skin and smash with spoon.
Add chopped ginger, green chilli, chopped coriander, jeera powder and salt to taste.
Add crushed roasted peanuts and pomegranate seeds to the mixture and make small galettes of it.
Pre heat ghee in pan and shallow fry the kebab on each sides for 2 mins.
RECIPE BY – CHEF AMAN KHANNA – THE CONNAUGHT, NEW DELHI