The beauty of living in a country like ours, is that many religions, regions, cultures and languages co-exist in perfect harmony. Each diaspora brings with it a myriad of festivals and food. Many Indians observe fasts on a particular day of the week or important days. During the month of October/November, the eastern part of India gears up for Durga Puja and rest of India celebrates the festivals of Navratri and Dussehra. In east India, Durga Puja is a grand event, where people would get new clothes and visit relatives and friends.
Although the ingredients are almost same across the country, the recipes change with different regions, adapting to the local palate.
Listed below are some of the ingredients which are generally consumed during fasts. Vrat food items, given region-wise:
Kuttu ka atta (Buckwheat Flour)
Singhade ka atta (water chestnut flour)
Roasted Makhana(fox nut)
Sama ke chawal
Shakarkandi (sweet potato)
Condiments that are generally allowed during fasts are cumin, sendha namak(rock salt), ginger, green chillies, coriander and mint. Also, dairy products like ghee, curd, buttermilk and some sweets like rasgulla and kalakand are allowed.
Try these easy to prepare upvaas dishes at home:
Sabudaana ki khichdi and vadi:
Sabudana can be used to make kheer. The procedure is same as that of rice-kheer. Mashed potatoes can be added to soaked sabudana to make vadis.
Lauki/Doodhi (bottle gourd) barfi and kheer:
Grated bottled gourd is lightly sauteed in ghee and then made into kheer or barfi.
The batter is made with sama ke chawal, rajgira and buttermilk.
This thalipeeth is made with rajgira flour.
The misal is made up of boiled peanuts and then spicy condiments are added.
But here are a few outlets you can try, if you wish to have Upvaas food:
This restaurant is known for serving Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine. They also serve Navrati/ Upvaas thali.
This place is known for its iconic Maharashtrian dishes and Faraali snacks. Very famous for its Vada-Pav.
Patrons throng here for quick bites and Faraali items.
This place has been dishing out Maharastrian fare since many years. Their Farali Misal is highly recommended.
This place serves Gujarati quick bites and street food. The Farali platter is a must try.
We keep fasts but do we know the significance behind them? On religious grounds, fasting is equated to the purification of the soul. This abstinence is supposed to bring us closer to the almighty and also builds willpower and self discipline. The science behind fasting is also explained in Ayurveda. For e.g., Navratri falls during change of seasons. During this change, our bodies are low on immunity and thus, is more susceptible to falling sick. Abstaining from non-vegetarian food, alcohol, onion and garlic etc is a way of fortifying our immune system. The outlets listed above prove that upvas food need not be boring and tasteless.