As with every other festival, my memories of navratri are mainly about food. Turns out I was a glutton then as well 😉
My dad has always been a religious kind of guy, specially around a few customs he sticks to. Like everyday morning, he gives water to the sun and then lights that diya in the small portable temple we have at home. Like come what may, he will buy that boondi prasad every Tuesday, put bhog (a symbolism for making God taste the prasad) and distribute it to kids. A lot of times I have wondered if these are more habits than the real feeing of devotion and religion but to him they seem to bring calm.
Similarly, one thing he follows every year is the Navratri customs. For those 9 days, no garlic and onion would be used in anything made at home. He would even give up his beloved scotch a day. Though now he doesn’t fast while growing up he used to fast on all nine days and if work was very busy he would at least keep the fast on the first and last day. Me and my sisters won’t fast but would still look forward to those 9 days cause dad fasting meant delicious and different food. He was a terrible faster and needed to eat something every hour, far more than he would eat on a normal day 🙂
There would be vrat walli patti which were essentially rajigira (amaranath bars), there would be sabudana vada and namkeen. There would be kuttu ke pakore (buckwheat fritters) and makhane ki kheer (foxnut & milk pudding) and there would be tons of aloo, dahi walle aloo, dry roasted aloo, fried aloo, aloo chaat and more.
Among this all there was this swaang ke chawal or sama or Samavat Rice, which both me and dad used to love. Mum would make khichdi out of it or kheer and on the last day of Navratra without a fail she would make pooris of sama atta and serve it along with aloo ki sabji and curd. I think I started keeping the fast at one point only for eating this food. I don’t fast anymore (and I am fast turning into an atheist I feel, of course I can never give up festivals because they mean food) but this is one food I still make every year.
Upon a little research, I figured that sama ke chawal is a strain of Barnyard millet and extremely healthy gluten free millet, it did made me wonder if traditionally these nine days were actually a way to cleanse your gut. Essentially a lot of food that was eaten was clean, high calorie yes but clean local food be it amaranth or buckwheat or the Barnyard millet.
And of if you are really worried about the deep frying and making poori’s out of it, the paranthas come out pretty nice as well
Also coming up next : How did my navratri memories changed once I married into a south Indian household 🙂