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Navratri

Navratri recipes are specially prepared to mark the nine day worship of ‘Devi’ (Indian goddess). ‘Navratri’ is a term that can break into two words ‘nava’ means nine in Sanskrit language and ‘ratri’ means night. In these nine days special Navratri foods that have religious values attached to them are prepared. Navratri is a festival of feasting as well as fasting. Many people keep fast as a custom of worshipping. Navratri recipes for fasting days include some special ingredients and foodstuffs including fruits, milk, curd, kuttu ka atta and sago. Potato is also a widely used vegetable in Navratri foods.
 

Traditional Navratri Recipes
Indian food culture includes several Navratri recipes that are almost same in all Indian cuisines. Some of them are as follows:

• Kuttu ki poori – Kuttu is special flour, somewhat similar to buckwheat flour. Special flat breads are made with this flour that are significantly eaten in Navratri fast.
• Sabudana ki tikki – Boiled potatoes are mashed and soaked sago is added as a binder to make these delectable cutlets.
• Cholai ke ladoo – This is one of the most special Navratri recipes that are eaten as a sweet snack. Jaggery and dry fruits are added to give flavor to this sweet dish.
• Kuttu pakori – Like poori, kuttu ka atta is used to make fried pakori. These special fritters are eaten as a snack in Navratri.
• Meva ki kheer – As rice is not allowed in Navratri foods as many fast, dry fruits (meva) are added to the reduced milk in order to provide flavor.
• Kaduu ki sabji – This pumpkin dish is made with slight sweet taste that is significant in Navratri recipes.
 

Significance of Navratri Recipes
Navratri foods mainly include fruits and dairy products. Cereals and spices are restricted in Navratri recipes made for consumption during the fasting period. After keeping fast for seven days, a special ‘ashtami’ puja is arranged by the devotees of ‘Devi’. On ashtami a grand feast that includes elaborated recipes comprising of sweet and savory dishes, is prepared. All the Navratri foods are offered as ‘prasad’ to the goddess, and small children especially girls are invited to be a part of this festivity. On ninth day Navratri puja is done by some people and “Dushera’ falls on the tenth day of the Navratri festival. At this time special dushera recipes are prepared in almost all Indian households. Dushera is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil.