To the Hindus, Ekadashi is the eleventh lunar day of every fortnight. There are about 24 Ekadashis in a year. The most important of the all the Ekadashis is Vaikunta Ekadashi. It is believed that on these days, if one fasts and prays, then one would be delivered off one's sins. Many people who strictly observe the fast do not prepare special Ekadashi recipes, but just sustain themselves on milk and water. If one chooses to eat during the Ekadashi, care must be taken to prepare the right Ekadashi food items because certain food stuffs are to be strictly avoided.
Traditional Ekadashi Food
It is a religious custom to avoid all food grains (wheat, corn, oats, rice, etc), pulses, beans and all types of meat. Cooking ingredients that might have traces of the grains or could have come in contact with the grains must be avoided. Seeds from seedy fruits and vegetables have to be discarded before cooking Ekadashi food. Ekadashi recipes must not contain any spice or flavoring substances, except pepper.
All kinds or fruits, nuts, root tubers and dairy products can be consumed along with salt. Some of the traditional Ekadashi recipes include Sabudana (sago) Vada, Aavial, Sabudana Khichidi, Alurdam, and Korela Bhaja.
Significance of Ekadashi Food
As per the Hindu mysticism, devotees were asked to refrain themselves from certain foods in order to get closer to their spiritual self. On a more scientific level, the specially made Ekadashi recipes work as a detox diet. If care is taken by avoiding the starchy vegetables, which are a part of the Ekadashi food, one might even lose weight.
Modern Ekadashi Recipes and Their Variations
As people are becoming more nutritionally aware, many recipes from the east and west have been adopted and introduced into the Ekadashi recipes list. Dishes like the Scottish Crispy Potatoes, Apple Cheddar Salad, Baked Sweet Potato Custard, Peanut Butter Fudge and Aubergine Fold and Feta Rolls are now deemed as acceptable Ekadashi recipes.
Ekadashi Recipes Trivia
Traditionally, the Ekadashi fast is broken by first eating the Indian Gooseberry, which is believed to jump start the numbed digestive system.