Navratri: Keep it Healthy with these Unusual Fast-Friendly Dishes

This Navratri, try healthy fasting-friendly foods you wouldn't usually eat.

4 min read

The slanting rays of the sun speak of the change in the season. It marks the end of the rains and speaks of the forthcoming winter.

This change somehow unconsciously communicates that Durga Puja (Navratri), Dussehra, and Diwali are around the corner.

Navratri is a Hindu festival of nine nights. The ritual is followed twice a year. First in March and the second in September or October.

The Navratri in Autumn is celebrated to honour the Goddess Durga. These nine days are about 'fasting'. According to Ayurveda, it marks the changing season and advocates a change in the diet.

In the past, while fasting, only fruits, roots, tubers, and special grains were allowed.

The whole idea was to give rest to the digestive system and the body, and prepare it for either autumn or summer. However, over time, we have lost the real reason for observing these fasts.


Commercialisation transformed fasting into a business opportunity. Today, it is more of feasting than fasting, more indulgence than restrain.

We consume varied food options specially created for fasts. The heavy, rich, and empty calorie food lacks nutritional value. Additionally, wrong cooking methods deplete it further.

Planning your meals judiciously by including a healthy assortment of food products is beneficial to maintain good health.

Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar shares that the food we eat during fasting should be diversified to help us eat those foods we normally don't consume.

This ensures diversity in our diets, which has sadly been lacking at present.

Tips For Eating Healthy During Navratri

These simple tips will help you while fasting, keeping you healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally.

  • Include grains/flours of Singhada (water Chestnut), Kuttu (Buckwheat), Rajgira (Amaranth), and Sama (Barnyard Millet)

  • Eat colocasia, cucumber, pumpkin and its leaves, raw papaya, raw plantain,

  • sweet potato, and yam

  • Include fresh fruits and dry fruits

  • Avoid fried, sugary stuff, and tea /coffee

  • Drink buttermilk and lemonade

  • Avoid eating chips, namkeens, and sweets

  • Alter the methods of cooking. Try boiling, grilling, and steaming

Here are some recipes you should try this season.

Arvi (colocasia) Tikki

This is a good alternative to the potato tikki.


  • 250 grams arvi boiled

  • ¼ cup rajgira atta

  • ¼ cup singhada atta

  • 2 chopped green chillies

  • ½ cup chopped finely fresh coriander

  • ¼ tsp roasted cumin seed powder

  • 1/2 cup coarse groundnut powder

  • Salt to taste

  • Ghee or oil according to your preference


  1. Mash the arvi. Mix all the ingredients except the groundnut powder and oil.

  2. Make lemon-sized or bigger balls and flatten them (make tikkis).

  3. Coat the tikkis with groundnut powder.

  4. Heat a skillet and brush with oil/ghee.

  5. Place the tikkis and cook on slow to medium flame.

  6. Flip after they are completely cooked on one side.

  7. Keep adding oil/ghee as required.

  8. Remove when the tikkis are golden brown.

  9. Serve with green chutney.

Green Singhada (Water Chestnut) Sabzi


  • 250 gm green Singhada

  • 2 green chillies chopped

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder

  • ½ tsp grated ginger

  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander

  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash and peel the singhada and cut them into 4 pieces.

  2. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds green chillies and ginger.

  3. Add the chopped singhadas, pepper powder, and salt.

  4. Cover and cook for ten minutes.

  5. Stir and add chopped coriander. Cover and cook till done.

  6. This can be a meal or can be served with kuttu roti.

Sabudana Tawa Paratha


  • 1 cup sabudana

  • 2 boiled potatoes

  • ¼ cup singhada flour

  • 3/4th cup roasted groundnut powder

  • 3 green chillies finally chopped

  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • ½ tsp red chilli powder

  • Salt to taste

  • Oil as required



  1. Soak sabudana overnight.

  2. Grate boiled potatoes.

  3. Add all the ingredients to the sabudana except oil and knead a firm dough by adding water only if required.

  4. Make 4 -5 balls and shape them into thick paratha on a butter paper.

  5. Heat an iron tawa and brush it with oil.

  6. Place one paratha on the tawa.

  7. Make 5 holes in the paratha.

  8. Add a little oil in the holes and on the side and let it cook.

  9. Flip to the other side. Repeat the process.

  10. Remove when golden from both sides.

  11. Serve with green chutney.

Rajgira (Amaranth) Kadhi


  • ½ cup rajgira flour

  • ½ cup thick curd

  • 2 green chilies chopped

  • ¼ tsp chilli powder

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander

  • 1 tsp grated ginger

  • 2 cloves

  • ½ tsp rock salt

  • 2 tsp ghee


  1. Mix rajgira flour with curd and whisk for a few minutes.

  2. Add water slowly to make a smooth paste.

  3. Then add chilli powder and salt. Mix well. Add about 2.5 – 3 cups of water.

  4. Heat a pan and add ghee.

  5. Add cumin, green chillies, ginger, and cloves. Let it crackle.

  6. Pour it into the flour mixture.

  7. Stir and cook while stirring continuously until it comes to a boil.

  8. Slow the heat and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes.

  9. Add chopped coriander and remove from heat.

  10. Serve hot with Sama chawal (Cooked Barnyard Millet)

You can try making raw papaya and raw plantain sabzi as the green singhada sabzi.


Asautéed vegetable made from fresh pumpkin leaves tempered with green chilies and salt is also a good option.

Coriander, coconut and groundnut chutneys and cucumber, steamed pumpkin, and roasted green chilli raitas can be great accompaniments.

Hung curd mixed with green chilli paste and roasted cumin seeds powder can be a tasty dip to go with salads of cucumber, steamed potato, and pumpkin.

Using natural sweeteners such as dates, dry dates powder or coconut sugar can cater the sweet tooth.

Finally, festivals are for bonding with family, following traditions, and creating memories. However, it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle even during festivals.

Instead of getting influenced by advertisements and commercials, taking wise, and conscious decisions based on research would help.

Religious practices should be followed mindfully without losing their significance. Our sages based the traditions on sound scientific principles that we need to remember and respect.

(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting, and travel.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
Read More