Navratri Recipes | 85 Navratri Fast Recipes
Chaitra Navratri 2023 will begin on 22 March and ends on 30 March 2023. Also the Sharad Navratri begins on 15 October and ends on 23 October 2023. Literally translating to ‘nine nights’ (nava + ratri), Navratri is observed to honor Goddess Durga or Ambe Maa, and is one of the most cherished Hindu festivals. In this post, I have shared a signature collection of Navratri Recipes. The list features both the most popular Navratri Fast Recipes or Vrat Recipes as well as lesser known or unusual ones too.
There are many ways this pious festival is celebrated throughout the vast expanse of the Indian subcontinent. There’s a unique way dedicated to each region. There are also 4 types of Navratri, resulting from the seasonal variations. Sharada Navratri that falls after monsoon is the most important and grand one.
About Navratri Festival
Navratri is one of the most celebrated festivals at my home as well. As a devi bhakt myself, I not only spend these 9 days and nights offering my prayers in the worship of Maa Durga, but also observe the ritual of fasting. And it is not just during these 9 days, for me, not a single day goes without remembering the Mother Goddess.
Navratri festival is celebrated with the same joy, enthusiasm and adoration all over India. Although, people belonging to different parts of the country have their own special way of paying homage to the divine powers of Goddess Durga.
Another important feature of Navratri festival are the fasts or vrats that comes along. The Navratri Recipes that I have shared in this post are definitely a must try. If fasting, this complied list of Navratri Fast Recipes will be of great help to you.
People in North and West India religiously keep these fasts, whereas festivities of Durga Puja may not necessarily mean fasting for the people of Bengal and other parts of Eastern India.
The same goes for South Indians, who may not strictly observe fasting. But definitely prepare food without the addition of onion and garlic during this time. People in South India also worship deities and make sundals or sweets to offer as prasadam. Golu, a lovely display of deities’ idols, dolls and animal figures is set up in many homes during Navratri festival.
Navratri Festival in India
From North to South and East to West, here’s how Navratri festival is celebrated pan India:
- West Bengal, Orissa, Assam: The most popular festival, Durga Puja (celebrating victory of Durga over demon Mahishasura) officially begins on the 6th day of Navratri and is observed with full fervour in the last 4 days in these regions. Glittering pandals, dhunuchi naach by the dhakis and delicious bhog are some of the common sightings during these days. Shindur khaila by married women on the day of idol immersion marks the end.
- Maharashtra: Navratri signifies ‘new beginnings’ for Maharashtrians. So, this is the time when property is purchased and business deals are made. Married women apply haldi and kumkum on the foreheads of their female friends in a ceremony called ‘saumangalyam’ and gift them betel nuts, betel leaves and coconut.
- Gujarat: Devotees worship Maa Ambe and fast for these 9 days. Evenings are marked by an aarti with a garbi (an earthen pot with diyas signifying source of life), following which traditional dance forms like dandiya and garba are performed by men and women.
- Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar: Fasting for first 7 days with jagrans or singing religious songs every night. Fasts are broken on the 8th or 9th day in a ceremony called ‘kanjika’ where 9 young girls (representing Goddess Durga’s 9 forms) and a boy (representing Bhairav God) are worshipped. They are honoured with gifts, food – halwa, chana, puri and money.
- Himachal Pradesh: Here, the 10th day as ‘Kullu Dussehra’ marks the beginning of the celebration, when the festival ends in other states. This day signifies the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya. Nati (a form of dance), food and music mark the festivities.
- Karnataka: Known as ‘nadahabba,’ Navratri in Karnataka till today is celebrated in the same way it used to be, back in 1610 in the Vijayanagara dynasty. The final day is marked by rituals that include procession of elephants on streets, fairs and exhibitions all over the state.
- Tamil Nadu: Goddesses Durga, Saraswati and Laxmi are worshipped during these 9 days. Evenings are reserved for friends and family with exchange of gifts. The exciting ritual is that of Bomma Golu/Bommai Kolu – a temporary staircase of 9 stairs representing 9 nights which is decorated with dolls/idols of goddesses, that are passed on from generation to generation!
- Andhra Pradesh: Here, the 9 days are celebrated as ‘Bathukamma Panduga,’ dedicated to Maa Gauri, the goddess of womanhood. Women adorning new sarees and jewellery make a flower stack with seasonal flowers and perform a puja. This stack is then immersed on the last day.
- Kerala: Navratri in Kerala is dedicated to education and new beginnings. Books and musical instruments are placed in front of Maa Saraswati during the last 3 days and are worshipped.
About Navratri Fasting
In India, fasting rules varies from community to community. It is always better to check with your family members and elders before deciding the menu. If you plan to keep fast during Navratri festival, then do check this list of Navratri Fasting Food and Rules.
Here, I have shared some basic and some Navratri Special Recipes that are usually consumed during this festival. These Navratri Fast Recipes are usually quick and easy to make.
Even if you feel that some of the recipes have long procedures, you just have to follow them properly which makes the making of the dish quite simple. As onions, garlic and many other spices and herbs are not allowed during these fasting days, you really don’t have to get yourself to chopping and prepping these.
Keeping all these things in mind, I will also repeat once again that you must skip or alter the ingredients according the traditions followed in your own family. Most of the Navratri Fast Recipes in this curation are without onion and garlic, but some may have cereal flours.
In such cases, you can substitute cornflour or gram flour with special vrat flours like water chestnut flour (singhare ka atta), buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta), arrowroot flour or potato starch. Also, remember to use edible rock salt (sendha namak) in recipes where I have not added it.
More on Navratri Fasting
Navratri Recipes, especially the Navratri Fast Recipes are not only quick to prepare, but also easy to digest. Hence, this festival is a good time to purify or detoxify your body and mind, and get connected to Durga Maa and your inner conscience, through the route of divinity.
A thing particular to North India is that people in that side of the country only consume certain ingredients comprising of flours and grains during these 9 days of fasting. These are:
- Flours and grains: Kuttu ka atta (buckwheat flour), rajgira atta (amaranth flour) and rajgira (amaranth grains), sama ke chawal ka atta (barnyard millet flour) and vrat ke chawal (barnyard millet), singhare ka atta (water chestnut flour) and arrowroot flour
- Sabudana (sago)
- Nuts and dry fruits
- Rock salt (sendha namak)
- Spice and herbs may vary. Some that are generally used are black pepper, green chilies and ginger.
My list of Navratri Recipes or Navratri Fast Recipes has North Indian as well as South Indian recipes in it. It is divided course wise with the mention of flours, cereals or grains as well. I am sure that with this list, you can easily prep and plan your fasting menu for the Navratri festival season.
Listed below are 104 of my top Navratri Fast Recipes, ranging from meals that can be served for lunch or dinner to snacks and sweets. Some of these snacks can also be made for breakfast. Do eat light if possible and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. If possible, also include fruits or fruit juices in your fasting diet.
Lunch & Dinner
I have categorized the lunch and dinner meals into various breads or grain-based dishes as well as curries, gravies and sides. The breads’ list consists both of flatbreads and fried breads.
Grains & Breads
Breakfast or Snacks
Here I have listed recipes that you can make for breakfast or snacks. Some of them are fried. For healthier versions, use an appe (paniyaram) pan to make these or air-fry or bake these.
5 hrs 30 mins
Sabudana Vada is a popular savory deep fried snack made during Hindu fasting days, featuring tapioca pearls (sago), potatoes, peanuts and herbs. They are naturally gluten-free and vegan. This fool proof sabudana vada recipe gives you a super delicious crispy vada with a soft and light interior.
Chutney & Raita
These chutneys and raitas not only act as the perfect accompaniment with the main course or snacks, but also suffice as topping or dipping sauces. Listed below are such Navratri Fast Recipes.
Sweets & Desserts
Can an Indian meal be ever complete without a sweet? Not really. So, in this section, you will find some easy-peasy sweets and desserts that can be made during Navratri festival, and can also be offered to Goddess Durga. This list is categorized into kheer, halwa, ladoo and fruit-based recipes.
Lauki halwa is also called as dudhi halwa. It is a rich Indian sweet made with bottle gourd (opo squash), milk, sugar and ghee. The method of making lauki halwa is similar to making gajar halwa. Making lauki halwa is easy but takes some time. This is a slow cooked halwa and what you get after minutes of slow cooking is super deliciousness.
Apple halwa recipe made with apples, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Apple halwa is a delicious halwa that is easy to make. This apple halwa does not use sooji (rava), milk, khoya or milk powder. Just apples, sugar (optional) and ghee. Flavorings and nuts of your choice can be added to the halwa.
All fruits can be consumed during fasting in Navratri festival. So, use any fruit or a combination of fruits to prepare juices, smoothies or shakes. Milk and milk products can also be considered as Navratri Recipes.
Bright and refreshing mango smoothies are easy to make as a healthy breakfast or sweet snack. Here I share with you 5 unique mango smoothie recipes. There are versions with yogurt, oats, additional fresh fruits, and even almonds – give them all a try and discover your favorite and healthy mango smoothie recipe.
If you love the idea of making your own homemade juices but don’t have a juicer, this is a post for you! Here I’ll show you how to make healthy apple juice in a blender. As an added bonus, I’ve included two easy recipes – simple, everyday classic apple juice and a vibrant, tangy pomegranate apple juice.
South Indian Navratri Recipes
When compared to North Indian Navratri Fast Recipes, fasting food that is made in South India is quite different. Usually all grains, vegetables and cereals are used to make it. But they still don’t have any onion or garlic in them.
Listed below are some no onion, no garlic recipes which are popular during Navratri festival in southern parts of India. However, a crucial point to remember here is, you should not consider these as true vrat or fasting recipes. Avoid making these if you want to observe a North Indian style of fast.
Lemon Rice also referred to as Chitranna or Nimmakaya Pulihora is a crunchy, flavorful and tangy rice dish that is easy to make and tastes so good. Fresh lemon juice, fried nuts, fragrant herbs and spices combine perfectly to give this steamed rice an amazing spicy, tangy and nutty flavor.
South Indian sundals are dry preparations made with a variety of legumes, lentils or pulses like moong beans, Bengal gram, black eyed beans, peanuts, sweet corn, etc.
Both common during Navratri as well as Ganesh Chaturthi. Each type of sundal is more or less prepared in the same way. They might just have some minor variations in the recipes.
This Navratri Recipes post from the archives first published in October 2013 has been republished and updated on 3 March 2023.