Navarathri is one of the most important, as well as grand, large-scale traditional festivals for the Hindu community in India. It is a rather significant and truly pan-Indian holy event observed over nine days, as indicated by the name Navarathri, where “Nava” means “nine” and “Rathri” translates to “nights” in Sanskrit. It is observed in the Hindu month of Ashvin, falling between October 17 to 25 this year. The final devotional occasion, termed as Dussehra, Dasara, Vijayadashami, marks the tenth day of the Ashvin month, comprising family get-togethers, sumptuous banquets of traditional food and lavish concluding celebrations.

Rituals include family members taking a head bath at dawn, dressing up in new clothes and offering prayers to the Hindu deities  – Goddess Saraswathi for intelligence, knowledge, Goddess Lakshmi for good fortune, wealth and Goddess Durga for strength, courage. Besides all the regional sacred and cultural revelries of “Garba”, “Dandiya Raas” dancing, colourful, creative “Golu” doll displays and ornamental “Durga Puja Pandal” set-ups, people eagerly await to indulge in the mouth-watering food items cooked throughout the nine days.

Also Read: Protein Power: Treat Your Guests To These Healthy Dasara Recipes

Thanks to the flourishing diversity across the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent, a plethora of tasty and wholesome delicacies are whipped up amid all the merriment. The customary dishes make use of fresh vegetables, pulses, whole grains, spices that supply all the essential nutrients of carbs, proteins, fibers, fats, vitamins and minerals, to augment overall wellness.

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So this year, no matter if the celebrations are turned down a notch owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you can still don on your chef’s hats and prep various appetizing dishes loaded with nutrition right at home. We bring two time-tested festival desi recipes – Handvo, an immensely scrumptious savoury cake stuffed with bottle gourd, from the Western Indian state of Gujarat and Ariselu, a delectable crunchy sweet made with jaggery syrup, from the Southern Indian region of Andhra Pradesh. Granted, these mouth-watering, nourishing dishes will entice your taste buds and improve the health of you and your family amid all the festivities.

Handvo Recipe for Navarathri


1 cup parboiled rice

¼ cup moong dal

¼ cup toor dal

2 tbsp urad dal

1 medium bottle gourd, finely cut

A bunch of coriander leaves

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

Salt, as needed

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp curd

1 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp groundnut oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 red chillies

A pinch of hing

Few curry leaves


In a bowl, wash and soak the parboiled rice, channa dal, urad dal and tur dal for 5 – 6 hours.

Grind the dal and rice adding a bit of water, to obtain a smooth batter.

Allow it to ferment overnight.

To the fermented dal-rice batter, add the chopped bottle gourd pieces, with ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder, salt, sugar, curd and mix thoroughly.

Heat groundnut oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chillies, hing.

Once the mustard seeds begin to sputter, add curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds.

Add this tempering to the batter, along with baking soda and some water and mix well, to form the handvo batter.

Heat some oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

When the seeds crackle, add the handvo batter and spread it evenly. Cook on low flame for 5 minutes.

Once it starts to rise, carefully turn it over to the other side and cook well.

After both sides become slightly golden brown and are cooked completely, switch off the stove and remove the pan.

Allow the handvo to cool down a bit, then cut out slices of the veggie-stuffed handvo cake and savour it for lunch or as a snack, after the puja ceremonies.


The fermented rice-dal batter is rich in probiotics that aid in digestion, while pulses like toor dal, moong dal, urad dal abound in proteins, for strong muscles. Bottle gourd is a light, water vegetable that cools the body and accelerated weight loss. Ample amounts of dietary fibers in coriander leaves keep blood sugar levels in check and help manage diabetes.

Ariselu Recipe for Navarathri


1 cup sunflower oil

½ cup rice flour

2 tbsp desi ghee

¾ cup jaggery syrup

2 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder

3 tbsp sesame seeds


In a large bowl, mix the rice flour with jaggery syrup thoroughly using a sieve, to prevent lumps from forming.

Transfer the melted desi ghee and cardamom powder into this mixture and stir well, to obtain a hard dough.

Knead the dough and prepare uniform flattened circular moulds.

Heat the sunflower oil in a pan on medium flame.

Top off the round moulds with sesame seeds and slowly put them into the pan.

Deep fry on both sides until they turn dark brown, then turn off the stove.

Remove the excess oil on an absorbent tissue, sprinkle a few sesame seeds and relish the sweet Ariselu after the holy rituals.


Jaggery contains profuse quantities of the vital trace mineral iron, for healthy red blood cell synthesis and circulation in the body. Rice flour offers generous levels of carbs, fibers for optimal gut health, while desi ghee is high in healthy unsaturated fats, to regulate metabolism and promote heart functions. Elaichi or cardamom possesses vast reserves of antioxidants, to avert the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, dementia and kidney damage.

Also Read: Elaichi/Cardamom: Marvellous Health Benefits Of This Aromatic Spice

Netmeds.Com Wishes All Its Customers A Very Happy Dussehra And Vijayadashami!