The biannual Navratri season is here again, and it’s quite evident in the soaring rates of fast-specific ingredients. Even with a sharp increase for ingredients such as oil going up from Rs 50 per kilogram to Rs 80, the most-sought after potatoes from Rs 20 to 30, and kuttu atta available for Rs 50-60 per kilogram, the zest for the feasting season has not dipped by an ounce.
Head chef Dheeraj Mathur at Radisson Blu says, “We have tried considering the incorporation of all essential multi-nutrients to form the most appropriate and elaborate fare on a fasting day. From tandoori charra aloo to lauki ki kheer, the restaurant has an enticing fare for the customers.” While restaurants in the City are offering an array of dishes, the traditional home-based fare is a hit amongst families who choose not to eat outside during these nine days of fast.
A homemaker, Bodhita Bali keeps navaratri fasts for all the seven days, “In these fasts, we only eat once a day and choose to do it at home. But that doesn’t mean we keep it bland and monotonous. I have been throwing navratri lunch parties for family and friends which includes a full-fledged menu.” With that she effusively starts talking about her ‘falahaar’ diet in this fest which is based upon flour made of kuttu, singaadha (water chestnet) and sawang rice. Bodhita’s menu includes an expansive list – from starters such as sabudana and potato deep fried dumplings served with coriander chutney to kashifal and aloo ki sabzi in mains leading into makhane ki kheer garnished with dry fruits in dessert.
“We only use sendha namak (rock salt) in our preparations during fasts. That’s also one reason, why we do not eat out. We usually prefer seedless vegetables during this time,” says Deepa Sharma, another homemaker. Interestingly, even doctors suggest the usage of rock salt instead of normal salt as it is good for hyper-sensitive people during these fasts.
As fried delicacies, be it kuttu ki poori or pakoras, top the charts during navratri fasts, a senior clinical nutritionist at Fortis La Femme, Shipra Saklani Mishra suggests a healthy diet, “One should incorporate all the five nutrients into their one time meal. Get carbs from buckwheat flour, sago, potatoes, water chestnut, colocasia (arbi). Proteins can be covered from milk and milk products, nuts. Fat can be covered from vegetable oil, clarified butter, nuts etc. Vitamins and minerals one can get from the tomatoes, nuts, seasonal fruits and vegetables like pumpkin etc.” She advises kickstarting a fasting day by hydrating the body with coconut or lime water and drinking fruit juices at regular intervals.