Nine days of Navratri means nine days of blessings, good health and good luck. Along with all the cheer and festivity—Navratri also means nine days of fasting. This does not mean that the people who fast go without any food at all; it just means that their diet is one that is purely vegetarian, with no onion, no garlic and no oil. Don’t cringe, ladies—some of this vrat ka khaana tastes even better than normal food, which means we’re going to be celebrating the festival in full swing. Here’s bringing you nine mouth-watering recipes so you too can join in the delicious fun this year.

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Moong Dal Halwa

A delicious sweet dish for the festive season is Moong Dal Halwa. To make the dish, you will need:

  • Skinless Split Green Gram (Dhuli Moong Dal) – Soaked and ground to a coarse paste: 1 cup
  • Ghee: 1 cup
  • Gram Flour (Besan): 1 tablespoon
  • Milk: 1½ cups
  • Saffron (Kesar): for garnish
  • Sugar: 1 cup
  • Mawa: ¾ cup
  • Green Cardamom Powder: A pinch
  • Almonds—cut into slivers: 10-12
  • Chandi ka Varq: 1 sheet
Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan, add in the gram flour and mix well. Add in the moong dal, lower the heat and mix well. Sauté the mixture continuously for around 20-25 minutes, until it turns a golden-brown. Heat ½ cup of milk in a non-stick pan and add in a pinch of saffron and mix well for one minute. Switch off heat. Now heat the sugar with one cup of water in another non-stick pan and cook until the sugar dissolves completely. Add the saffron milk to the moong dal and mix well. Add the remaining milk and keep stirring. Add the mawa to the saffron milk pan to heat the mixture and mix for two minutes. Now add the mawa to the moong dal mixture along with the cardamom powder, a few of the almond slivers and the sugar syrup. Mix well and cook on low heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure that the pan is covered. Remove the lid and mix once. Once you have cooked the mixture, transfer it into a serving dish. Serve hot with chandi ka varq, saffron and the remaining almond slivers.

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Kuttu Ka Paratha

While fasting for this festival, traditionally, people eat one meal in the day prior to sunset. Kuttu Ka Paratha is one easy to make, fast recipe.

  • Kuttu Atta (Horse Gram): 2 cups
  • Potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed): 2
  • Rock Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Ghee
Mix the kuttu ka atta with the mashed potatoes and a pinch of salt. Add water and knead the dough to make it smooth and flexible. Set it aside for 30 minutes. Once the dough is rested, make a small paratha ball and roll it up. Heat the tava and put the paratha on it. Apply a thin layer of ghee on the paratha, layering the outer edges of the paratha as well. Flip it once the paratha turns a little brown and apply a thin layer of ghee on the flip side as well. Flip one more time to cook the other side. Remove it from the tava once both sides are cooked. Serve hot.

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Khus Khus Aloo

A potato dish is the perfect Navratri fasting food as it tastes good and can easily fill you up too! Here is one delicious recipe that you must try out whether you’re fasting or not:

  • Potatoes (peeled and cubed): 5-6
  • Ghee: 3 tablespoons
  • Rock Salt: to taste
  • Green Chillies: 2-3
  • Dried Red Chillies: 3
  • Turmeric Powder: A pinch
  • Finely Chopped Coriander
  • Roasted Poppy Seeds or Khus Khus: 2 tablespoons
  • Lemon Juice: 1 teaspoon
Grind the roasted poppy seeds, green chillies and a teaspoon of lemon juice into a fine paste. Shallow fry the potatoes until they’re a golden brown. Next fry the red chillies with the turmeric powder and add it to the paste. Combine the golden fried potatoes into the masala and stir well with salt. Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes on a simmer—and your dish is ready to serve. Garnish with chopped coriander and ghee.

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Vrat Ka Halwa

To make a delicious bowl of Vrat Ka Halwa you will need:

  • Singhare Ka Atta (Water Chestnut Flour): ½ cup
  • Kutta Ka Atta: ½ cup
  • Ghee: 3 tablespoons
  • Pistachios (sliced): 6-7
  • Water: 2 cups
  • Sugar: ½ cup
  • Almonds (crushed): 2
  • Almonds (sliced): 5-6
Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan or any cooking vessel. Add in the flour and stir it till it starts leaving an aroma and forms into a fine texture. Meanwhile, add water to another pan and start to boil it. Add the cardamom powder, almonds and pistachios to the flour and stir it for two minutes. Add in the boiling sugar solution and continuously stir it so that lumps are not formed. Keep on stirring and cook the mixture till it thickens. Remove from the pan and your Vrat Ka Halwa is ready for serving.

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Matar Paneer

A family favourite—matar paneer is one of the most popular recipes for this time of the year. It makes for an excellent accompaniment for kuttu ka paratha—just make sure you cook it sans onion and garlic. Here is one finger-licking good recipe:

  • Paneer: 500 grams
  • Boiled Green Peas: 1 cup
  • Tomatoes (finely chopped): 2
  • Ginger and Green Chilli Paste
  • Turmeric: 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander: To garnish  
  • Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Kasturi Methi: 1 teaspoon
  • Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin Seeds: 1 teaspoon
  • Rock Salt: A pinch  
  • Malai: 1 cup  
Cut the paneer into small cubes. Heat ghee in a pan and fry them until they’re golden-brown. Keep them in a paper to remove the extra ghee. Heat 2-4 teaspoons of ghee in a pan and add in the cumin seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add in the ginger and chilli paste. Follow with rock salt and turmeric powder. Now add in the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Add in the red chilli powder, kasturi methi and garam masala. Add in a little water and then add the boiled green peas. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add in the paneer cubes. Add in malai and then cook for 2-3 minutes till the water thickens. Your Matar Paneer is ready to be devoured!

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Sabudana Kheer

A Navratri staple, here’s how you nail the perfect batch of Sabudana Kheer:

  • Sabudana: 1 cup
  • Milk: 2 cups
  • Jaggery: 1 cup
  • Cardamom Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Raisins: 10
  • Almonds: 10
  • Cashews: 10
  • Ghee: 1 tablespoon
  • Saffron: 1 pinch
Soak the sabudana for one hour before preparing this desert so that it is softened. This will quicken your cooking process. Boil the milk into a deep pan and let it come to a boil before you add in the jaggery. As you wait for the milk to boil, melt the jaggery in a pan with water form a thick solution. Add this to the milk and let it boil for two minutes. Then add in the sabudana and let it cook for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the ghee on a low flame and add in the cinnamon powder and dry fruits and let the mixture temper.  Heat for a couple of minutes and then add a pinch of saffron for garnishing and scent. Refrigerate for two hours before serving.

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Falhari Dosa

Here is a recipe of a South-Indian delicacy to tame your palate during the fasting season:

  • Sanwa Millet (Sama): ½ cup
  • Rajgira Flour: ½ cup
  • Sour Buttermilk: ½ cup
  • Ginger/Green Chilli Paste: 1 tablespoon
  • Rock Salt: to taste
  • Ghee: for cooking
Clean, wash and soak the Sanwa Millet for at least two hours. Drain and blend in a paste using two tablespoons of water and then transfer the mixture into a bowl, adding in the Rajgira flour, buttermilk, ginger-green chilli paste and rock salt and mix well. Cover and keep aside to ferment overnight. Heat a non-stick tava and pour a ladleful of the batter onto it and spread in a circular motion. Smear a little ghee along the sides and cook until both sides of the dosa turns golden-brown. Then fold over to make a semi-circle. Serve with hot chutney.

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Khaman Dhokla

Khaman Dhokla is a famous Gujarati recipe. To make, you will need:

  • Besan: 2 cups
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon
  • Lemon Juice: 2 tablespoons
  • Curd: 2 tablespoons
  • Green Chillies: 4
  • Mustard Seeds: ½ teaspoon
  • Sesame Seeds: ½ teaspoon
  • Shredded Coconut Powder: for garnish
  • Ghee: 6 teaspoons
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves
  • Soda: 1 pinch
Mix together the besan, ghee, sugar and salt. Add in the chilli powder, lemon juice, curd and boiled water to make a paste. Now add in the soda. Steam cook the paste in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes. Set it aside and let it cool. The khaman is ready. Now fry the mustard seeds, sesame seeds and green chillies in heated ghee. Cut the khaman into square pieces and spread the fried green chillies and seeds on to the pieces. Garnish with shredded coconut and coriander leaves.

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Vrat Ka Raita

This cooling recipe is perfect for the festive season:

  • Water Chestnuts (boiled, peeled and chopped): 5
  • Sweet Potato (boiled, peeled and chopped): 1
  • Peanuts (whole, roasted): 1tablespoon
  • Green Chilli (finely chopped): 1
  • Cumin Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin Seeds: ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander Leaves (finely chopped): 1 tablespoon
  • Cucumber (chopped): 1
  • Dahi: 1 cup
  • Sugar: to taste
  • Rock Salt: to taste
  • Ghee: 2 tablespoons
Whip the dahi in a mixing bowl and mix together the green chillis, cumin powder and salt. Add in all the vegetables and peanuts to the mix. Put the mixture in the refrigerator. Heat one teaspoon of ghee and add in the cumin seeds and sauté—add this to the raita. Garnish the raita with coriander leaves and serve.