Cooking With Grandma: Why Do We Fast and Feast During Navratri?

Addy discovers Navratri food is based on ancient wisdom.

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3 min read

Nani knows best. Over a cooking lesson, Addy chats with his grandmother to understand why we fast during Navratri.

Food stalls burst on the scene, at home puja, bhog and cooking. You would mistake Navratri fasting with feasting. But ancient wisdom is based in Ayurveda and science of nutrition as Addy finds out from his Grandma!

Nani informs him that Navratri falls four times in a year, each with a change of season. While the seers observe a fast on all four Navratris, most households fast twice a year during Chaitra Navratri (April May) and Sharad Navratri (Sept, Oct). And while we pray for purification of our mind, we fast for detoxification of our body. During change of season our immunity is at it’s lowest. Fasting and then eating non-grain, fruit-based diet is just what the doctor orders!

During Navratri we eat once a day, and how we eat has immense nutritive value if eaten right!

Benefits of Saboodana (Pearl Tapiocca)

Addy discovers Navratri food is based on ancient wisdom.
Saboodana is a good source of protein, loaded with Iron & Calcium, rich in carbs, folic acid and Vitamin B.

Nani suggests Addy first makes Saboodana ki tikki or cutlets.


  • Saboodana
  • Boiled Potatoes
  • Coriander
  • Ginger
  • Salt
  • Peanut Paste
  • Nani Ka Danda!

Saboodana is a healthy weight gain food. So if you are planning on a diet to lose weight, stay far away from this! It’s a good source of protein, loaded with Iron & Calcium, rich in carbs, folic acid and Vitamin B. Saboodana helps control blood pressure.

Tapioca is known to prevent gas, indigestion and constipation problems and is good for your metabolism and digestive system. What else can you make with it? Saboodana khichdi is very popular!


Benefits of Kuttu (Buckwheat)

Nani gets Addy to make Kuttu (Buckwheat) flour pooris that will be had with aloo ki sabzi. As Nani informs Addy, Kuttu is a fruit and not a grain and is very warm in its potency. Not an ideal meal for everyday, but it’s best had with something cold to balance its heat. It’s rich in fiber that that helps in cleansing of the digestive tract in the body, rich in Vitamin B, helps lower blood pressure and manage diabetes.

What makes it over all a champ for fasting is that it is the best detox a body can have as it helps flush out toxins!


Benefits of Makhanas (The Indian Superfood!)

Addy discovers Navratri food is based on ancient wisdom.
Makhane are the Indian superfood the world is waking up to!
(Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Makhanas or Foxnuts are the Indian superfoods that are just being discovered by the West! Nani suggests Addy make Makhane ki Kheer. Of course, if you are serious about your diet, you can always have them plain roasted!


  • Ghee
  • Makhane
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Chirongi seeds
  • Dry Fruits
  • Cardamom

Makhanas are low in cholesterol, fat and sodium and that makes it a great snack in between meals. They help control high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity because of the high content of magnesium. They are great for diabetics due to their low glycemic index. They have anti-aging benefits and Ayurveda believes their astringent properties are good for the the kidneys. They are gluten free, protein rich and low in calories. Ayurvedic and Unani medicine believe they have aphrodisiac properties. What else could you ask for!

Camera: Athar Rather, Abhishek Ranjan

Editor: Puneet Bhatia

Producer: Vaishali Sood, Abhishek Ranjan

(This article was first published on 24 September 2017 and has been reposted from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of Navratri)

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