The auspicious festival of Navarathri has begun, with this grand religious Hindu celebration being observed from October 7 to 15 this time around in 2021. With devotional events extending throughout the period termed in Sanskrit as the “Nava Rathris”, which literally translates to nine nights in English, Navarathri is an important occasion for the Hindu community in India and around the world, falling in the holy month of Ashvin, as per the Hindu lunisolar calendar.
Elaborate and lavish pujas are conducted in households and temples, involving chanting prayers and invoking the blessings of Goddess Saraswathi for knowledge, Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and Goddess Durga for strength. Various cultural events based on the unique local customs and diverse traditions of the different states are also held, such as “Garba” and “Dandiya Raas” dancing, vivid and artistic “Golu Exhibitions” with beautifully handcrafted dolls and ornate “Durga Puja Pandal” podiums. A variety of customary Indian meals are cooked with wholly vegetarian ingredients of plant and dairy produce during the nine-day-long festivities, besides specific saatvik foods sans onion and garlic eaten after prayers and fasting. And of course, an array of delectable sweets are prepared during Navarathri with wholesome elements, which are packed with irresistible taste and good health.
Mouth-Watering Indian Sweets For Navaratri:
So harness the inner chef in you this Navarathri and get set prepping these yummy recipes of Khajur Barfi with dates, nuts and Gulab Jamun with milk powder, rose essence. Granted, these traditional Indian sweets will earn you heaps of compliments from family and friends alike and leave one and all asking for more.
3 cups dates, soft variant, with seeds removed
4 tbsp shredded coconut
1 cup mixed nuts – almonds, cashews, walnuts
3 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp pistachios
Cut the dates into small chunks and chop the nuts, dry fruits – almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, raisins into thin slivers.
Dry roast the shredded coconut in a pan on low flame for 2 minutes, then mildly roast the nuts and dry fruits as well and set aside.
Heat ghee in a kadai, add the cut dates, cook for 3 – 5 minutes on medium flame until they become soft and form pliable lumps.
Transfer the lightly roasted dry fruits and nuts and stir well into the dates mixture.
Turn off the stovetop, allow the blend to cool down for 5 – 7 minutes, then mould it into even-sized rectangular blocks.
Let it set by keeping it in the fridge for 30 minutes, then garnish with pistachios and enjoy this tantalizing Khajur Barfi chilled.
This delicious Khajur Barfi is prepared without adding any sugar, making it ideal for both healthy individuals and those with diabetes. Dates are laden with dietary fibres that facilitate easy digestion, bowel movement and also satiate the hunger pangs, thereby controlling appetite and preventing untimely cravings. Almonds, walnuts and cashews are a storehouse of B vitamins for optimal metabolism and instant energy needs. Ghee is rich in healthy unsaturated fats, besides vitamins A, E for better heart function and eye health.
1 cup milk powder
4 tbsp maida/all-purpose flour
2 tbsp ghee
A pinch of baking soda
3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp yoghurt
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
4 – 5 pods of elaichi/cardamom
2 tsp rose water
Crush the elaichi pods to a fine powder, then add it to water and sugar in a large vessel.
Boil this mixture on medium-high flame for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring continuously, until a slightly thick and sticky syrup forms.
Switch off the stove, pour in the rose water, mix well and set aside.
Combine the milk powder, maida, baking soda, ghee, milk and yoghurt and beat it into a soft firm dough.
Grease fingers with a bit of ghee and shape the dough into uniform round balls, without any gaps in between.
Heat oil in a deep vessel, fry the round balls of dough on medium flame until they become golden brown all around.
Carefully transfer them to the hot sugar syrup infused with elaichi powder and rose water extracts.
Allow them to soak the flavours for about 2 – 3 hours and then relish the lip-smacking Gulab Jamun warm.
Milk powder being the solidified and grounded form of milk, provides ample nutrition equivalent to liquid milk, delivering essential amino acids, calcium, vitamin B12, proteins for tough, robust bones, muscles and enhanced blood flow within the body. Yoghurt is a natural probiotic that enriches gut flora and eases indigestion, bloating, stomach infections. Elaichi is imbued with decongestant constituents that promote lung power and combat respiratory problems of cough, cold, fever, while rose water cleanses the system of toxins and improves kidney and liver functions.