‘Nava’ means nine and ‘ratri’ means nights hence, the festival of Navratri is a Hindu festival that spans nine nights and ten days where devotees worship nine avatars of Durga. It symbolises the victory of Durga over demon Mahishasura, signifying the victory of good over evil.
In the northern and western parts of India, Ram Leela (retelling of the Ramayan mythology) is held and the festivities end with Dusshera where effigies of Ravana are set on fire to signify Ram’s victory over Ravana. A fast is also kept by the devotees, either on all the nine days or in joda, the first two or the last two days of the Navratri, to please and seek blessings of Durga.
As you skip food made with onion, garlic, ginger, lemon and tomato during these days of Navratri, here are some easy recipes from mouthwatering sabudana or tapioca and pumpkin puddings to watermelon berries and pineapple mango smoothies along with lip smacking mix fruit mini tarts, to tame your dessert cravings.
1. Mix Fruit Mini Tarts (serves 10-12)
Fresh mint leaves
Sift flour and grate chilled butter in it and mix both with your hands to get a nice crumble texture. Gradually add chilled water and knead to make a soft dough, cling wrap it and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Mix fresh cream and diced fruits and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven at 180 degree C for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile take the fruit cream and dough out from the fridge. Pinch a small ball from the dough and roll out to a small disk.
Grease and dust the tart shell and place the rolled disk in it, take another tart shell and place over the disk and gently press so that the dough takes proper shape of the shell.
Remove the above shell, scrap out the extras from the sides. Bake for 15 mins or till they are golden and crisp.
Allow them to cool completely, remove baked shells from the moulds and add a spoonful of fruit cream in it and serve.
Enjoy your meal!
2. Jaggery Tapioca Pudding with Candied Pumpkin Seed Praline (makes 3 small bowls)
1/2 cup small Tapioca pearls (sabudana)
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
3/4 cup jaggery
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup water
Rose petals, to garnish
Soak tapioca pearls in 1 cup coconut milk for an hour to soften and bloom. In a saucepan, add the soaked tapioca pearls, remaining coconut milk and jaggery and heat over medium heat till it reaches a simmer.
Then reduce the heat and let it cook for 15 minutes until the pearls are cooked through and it has all thickened. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent the tapioca from sticking to the bottom.
If you wish to have it much thinner, add another cup of coconut milk. Pour into bowls or ramekins to the top and let cool in the refrigerator. Toast the pumpkin seeds on a pan for 3-4 minutes and place on a silicon mat.
Cook water and coconut sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring slowly with a metal fork, until melted and golden. Cook caramel without stirring, until deep golden.
Immediately stir it over pumpkin seeds placed on the silicon mat, spreading it all over so it hardens. Let it cool down and set at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Then break shards of the praline and add that over the tapioca pudding. Garnish with rose petals.
3. Watermelon Berries Smoothie (Serves 4-5)
Fresh watermelon chunks
Mix all the ingredients and blend until the mixture is smooth. Enjoy your meal!
4. Pineapple Mango Smoothie (serves 4-5)
1/2 cup pineapple slices (chopped)
1 cup fresh orange juice
3 cups ice cube
Lime slices for garnish
1/2 cup mango slices
Blend pineapple slices, orange juice, mango slices and ice until smooth and frothy. Pour the smoothie into a chilled glass.
Garnish with lime and serve. Enjoy your meal!
5. Tropical Sunshine Smoothie (serves 4-5)
Fresh sprig of mint
Roast almond flakes and keep aside. Blend the remaining ingredients to a smooth texture. Enjoy your meal!
Sabudana or sago pearls or tapioca promotes strong bones and muscles, improves digestion, reduces blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and prevents stomach-related problems. It is naturally gluten-free, is a rich source of carbohydrates which give an energy boost to the body and is a cooling food item which has a cooling effect inside our body that in turn has an impact on our metabolism.
The molasses content in jaggery makes it more nutrient since this nutritious by-product of the sugar making process is removed while making refined sugar. Jaggery is rich in vitamins and minerals, makes for a great immunity booster, builds a shield against health ailments like cough and cold and leads to improved digestive health, anemia prevention, liver detoxification and improved immune function.
Bananas, whether mashed or otherwise, help lower the level of stress as they are rich in potassium which is an essential mineral needed to regulate water balance, acidity level and blood pressure. They not only improve digestive health and aid in weight loss but also support heart health, improve insulin sensitivity and contain powerful antioxidants.
Mango consumption helps in making hair healthy courtesy its vitamin A and keratin content that encourages hair growth and health, helps protect cells from harmful radicals owing to its several antioxidants, helps in reducing facial wrinkles and avoiding loose skin and is also rich in nutrients like Vitamin K, potassium and magnesium.
Unless consumed excessively, there are no side effects of eating mangoes which are high in vitamin C, helps cleanse skin from deep inside, treat pores and gives a glow to the skin. Their Vitamin C content helps to produce skin protein – collagen.
Due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content, cranberries are considered superfood that not only lower the risk of urinary tract infection (UTI) but also help prevent certain types of cancer, improve immune function and decrease blood pressure. They are rich in vitamin C that helps boost collagen production which improves the elasticity of the skin and also makes it soft, glowing and firm.
Orange juice is an excellent source of Vitamin C which supports our immune system and may be effective in fighting against the common cold. It is nutritious and high in antioxidants and micronutrients like folate, potassium, magnesium, fibre, beta-carotene and flavonoids.
It keep the skin hydrated and its colourful plant pigments called carotenoids may help maintain a youthful glow apart from boosting hair growth and reducing hair loss. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and other antioxidants that can help reduce weight.
Almonds are packed with healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E and not only reduce hunger while promoting weight loss but also lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels along with reducing blood pressure. According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating almonds in place of typical snacks may reduce the drop in heart rate variability (HRV) that occurs during mental stress, thereby improving cardiac function.