Recipes for Auspicious Fasting Days are usually different from other fasting day recipes. For example if one fasts every Monday or say every Thursday, rather than omitting certain groups of food, only one meal is consumed. Generally, many communities in India abstain from grains, cereals, pulses and certain vegetables during the Ekadashi, Navratri, Shivratri and Adhik Maas Fasting Days.
Eating meat, fish or any non vegetarian food is strictly prohibited during the fasting days. Also people refrain from cooking with onion and garlic during this time.
However, there are some communities in India that don’t follow this gluten free, no beans, pulses, and certain vegetables rule. Nevertheless, on those days they will not cook meat, fish, eggs, onion, garlic. In other words a Satvic Meal is prepared.
What is Ekadashi Fasting?
Also known as Agheeyaras, Ekadashi in Sanskrit is 11. Hence, the fasting occurs every 11th day of the lunar calendar.As a result, in a month there would be two 11th days. Therefore, on the first 11th the moon is waxing or growing. Meanwhile, the second half the moon is waning or shrinking. Therefore, these two days are considered spiritually important by the Hindus. Subsequently these days are observed by full or partial fasting.
If one is able to fast without any intake of food, they should. If not, many fast by consuming only fruit and milk/yogurt. But many people have one meal that does not comprise of any grains, pulses, cereals and certain vegetables.
Did you know that Navratri is celebrated 5 times in a year? I didn’t know that.
The first is Vasanta/Chaitra Navratri (around March or April),
Ashad Navratri (around June or July),
Sharad Navratri (around Sept or Oct), this is the one I celebrate.
Pausha Navratri (around Dec or Jan) and
Magha Navratri (around Jan or Feb).
In short, Nav means nine and Ratri means nights. Therefore, Nine nights are celebrated in the name of Goddess Durga. During these 9 nines and 10 days many devotees of Durga Ma observe fasting.
Different Communities or People Observe Navratri Fasting In Different Ways:
Some consume one meal of fruits and milk only
A few consume normal vegetarian meals but without any salt, onion and garlic.
Many fast by not consuming grains,pulses, beans, cereals and certain vegetables.
Quite a few follow the tradition of having only one meal during Navratri.
Maha Shivratri Fasting
Maha Shivratri is a Hindu Festival celebrated annually in honour of Lord Shiva. It also is refers to the night that Shivji performed the Tandava dance. Besides the chanting of mantra, pooja and bhajan, many fast to observe this solemn day. Same rules of food that can be eaten apply here.
Adhik Maas Fasting
Adhik Maas is an extra month in the Hindu Calendar that is inserted to keep the lunar and solar calendars aligned. The lunar year comprises 354 days, compared to the 365¼ of the solar calendar. Therefore every 3 years an extra month is added in the lunar calendar. Also known as Purushottam Month, it is believed that whoever fasts, performs japa, pooja, and devotes time to Purushottam during this month can be awarded all the necessities of life, and after death can ascend to the abode of Lord Krishna.
During this month the fasting rules are the same as those of Ekadashi/ Navratri/ Shivratri.
What Foods can be eaten during Ekadashi / Navratri Fasting?
Barnyard millet (samo),
tapioca pearls (sabudana),
water chestnut (singada),
milk, yogurt, ghee, paneer, fresh cream
spices like chili powder, coriander powder, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, saffron, ginger, coriander
oil – only nut or seed oils. Do not use canola, maize,corn, vegetable, mustard oils. Instead use sunflower, peanut, olive oil.
Some religious sects allow fresh turmeric. But once must avoid turmeric powder during fasting as it can be ground in mills where grains have been processed.
Avoid consuming tea or coffee as they contain caffeine. Best to enjoy fresh herbal tea.
Advantages of Fasting
Fasting has recently become a fad in the health and weight loss world, but fasting actually existed centuries ago and is a part of many religions and cultures. One such tradition is followed by many Hindus world over and that is fasting every fortnight, also known as Ekadashi. The other most observed fasting period is during Navratri.
So what are the advantages of fasting besides the religious aspect?
Promotes control of sugar in the blood as it decrease insulin resistance
Promotes better health and decreases levels of inflammation
Reduces bad cholesterol therefore promotes good heart health
Aids weight loss
Helps to purify the mind and body
Fasting on particular religious days or months helps one to follow and practice the religious rituals
CHUTNEY & PANEER THALIPEETH
Chutney & Paneer Thalipeeth is a delicious, gluten free, protein rich flatbread that can be enjoyed for breakfast or served with a curry as part of a main meal.
Rajgira Thalipeeth is a delish gluten free, vegan and healthy flatbread made from amaranth flour, potato and spices. As no grain flour, onion, garlic is used, makes it an ideal flatbread to enjoy during Navaratri or Ekadashi Fasting.
Farali Rotli/Gluten Free Roti is unbelievably soft and easy to roll. Perfect for fasting days like Ekadashi or Navratri. Or include it in your daily diet especially if you cannot consume any gluten products.
BUCKWHEAT SAVOURY PANCAKES |FARALI KUTTU KA CHEELA
Buckwheat Savoury Pancakes or Farali Kuttu Ka Cheela is healthy, easy to make and delicious. Usually enjoyed as a hot breakfast options, these gluten free pancakes are loaded with vegetables. Ideal for fasting days like Ekadashi, Navratri, Shivratri.
Beetroot Vada is a delicious, crunchy, spicy take on the traditional Sabudana Vada. Vada is fritters and in this case roasted or boiled beetroot is added to the traditional mashed potatoes, spices and soaked tapioca pearls mixture. Ideal as a starter or a snack.
Apple Avocado Quinoa Salad is a filling, refreshing, protein rich, gluten free and vegan salad. Nuttiness from th quinoa and nuts, creaminess from the avocado and the crunch from the apple, its a perfect light meal option.
Muhogo Na Bhajia/ Cassava Fritters is a fried snack made from boiled cassava, grated cassava and soaked tapioca pearls. Usually prepared on Ekadashi Fasting days, it is gluten free and vegan. Enjoy these bhajias or fritters as tea time snack, as an appetizer or as a part of a main meal.
Aam Panna/ Kairi Panha also known as aam jhora is a sweet, tangy, cooling summer drink made from raw mangoes. Especially enjoyed during the hot summer months as raw mango has cooling effect on the body. It prevents heat exhaustion as its loaded with sugar and is rich in pectin, Vitamin B and C.
Maple Roasted Peaches, healthy, flavourful, so easy to make and best part - has no refined sugar. Served with some greek yogurt it makes a fruity summery light dessert. Sprinkle granola and it becomes a delightful fun breakfast.
Badam Kesar Pista Kulfi is a creamy, delicious frozen treat flavored with almonds, saffron, pistachio and cardamom. Easy to make, it never fails to impress my family and friends. Homemade kulfi is the best as it has no artificial flavorings or colors.
Baked Apples - apples are baked with a stuffing. Easy to make, absolutely delicious with a tangy caramel sauce that develops when butter and brown sugar melts into the fresh orange juice. Best enjoyed warm.
Fig and Amaranth Cookies are gluten free, delicious, melt in the mouth kind of cookies that can be enjoyed on Fasting Days. Amaranth flour, a bit of butter and sugar with chopped dried figs, these cookies are so easy to make.
Quinoa Lapsi is a gluten free version of the traditional Gujarati sweet dish, lapsi. It is not only rich in protein but healthy with the addition of nuts, dried fruits and jaggery. This lapsi is totally suitable for those who follow a gluten free diet
Gajar Halwa With Orange & Saffron is a fusion recipe whereby I've prepared the traditional gajar or carrot halwa but have added fresh orange juice too. Absolutely delicious and pure indulgence with flavours of orange and saffron to celebrate any occasion like India's Independence Day.
Mango Kulfi is an Indian frozen dessert which is a bit more dense and less creamier than an ice cream. Addition of cardamom and fresh mango pulp makes it a must have dessert during the mango season or summer.
Beetroot Halwa is a colourful, tasty and easy to make halwa using fresh beetroot, milk, cream, spices and nuts. It can be served hot or cold. We prefer to have it hot. Go on if you still haven't planned anything for Janmashtami, make this halwa as it gets ready with 30 minutes.