Nine Street Food we tried during Navratri
Since this is the last post of Blogtober, there has to be something special to offer!
We started this daily blog session just when Navratri finished and wrote about this nine nights festival. I am glad I could post each day and reach until the last day peacefully. So why not we all celebrate this success and by none other than a post on awesome food India has to offer.
Navratri the nine-night festival of India is also famous for the foods. Though fasting is important during the Navratri that also leads to special foods during the festival.
As mentioned in guest blog previously from Foodtrawler – Rohit on Fusion Thali from Gwalior, India has a lot to offer in terms of various dishes. The food options multiply further during the various festivals.
GUEST POST BY FOODTRAWLER
“Hi, friends, good to be back! From pakora to patisapta — the puja has a lot to offer. In fact, during the Navratris (Usually on the sixth day), a special day is celebrated which is called Ananda Mela, where all the locals present their home-cooked delicacies and even a special prize is reserved for the top food items.I suggest pandal hopping during the Durga Puja to experience this day dedicated to food.
Though it is primarily a fasting festival, special food preparations are done for everyone including the ones who fast. I will share below nine veg food options I tried and recommend from this festival.
Explained in clockwise direction
PAKORA / FRITTERS –Who don’t love deep fried snacks? I do! ( of course on the special occasion lol) . The first dish we tried was the pakora or fritters. It is made up of various vegetables dipped in gram flour and then deep fried. Taste to be believed only once you eat it!
PATISHAPTA – It is a Bengali sweet delicacy which is nothing but a roll made of refined flour and filled in with a mixture of jaggery, coconut, and some dry fruits. I have tasted a very similar dish while visiting SriLanka couple of years back when our hotel owner got them for us courtesy his wife who was a great cook.
ALU TIKKI – It’s a quintessential Indian snack which has a countrywide fan following except south India. It’s a patty made of boiled potatoes which are then shallow fried on a big griddle and served with two types of chutneys – sweet red and a sour green one. A slightly modified way to consume is to top it with cholas (Spicy curry of whole chickpeas) and add some chaat masala (blended spice of black slat, chill powder, dry mango, cumin seeds and asafetida. It’s not hard to find a street vendor selling these in the markets and streets of India – an experience which should not be missed.
SABUDANA PREPARATIONS – during the puja times, it’s auspicious to use sabudana (Sago) based preparations to break the fast or to have a light meal. Subudana replaces the other cereals and it can be eaten as a snack ( deep fried version similar to Alu Tikki) or a more elaborate version of it – a khichadi ( typically made by mixing rice and lentils) where it is soaked in the water and then fried with cumin seeds, green & red chillies, some salt and boiled potatoes. It’s a dish of choice during any religious festivals but in some part of the country like west; it is also eaten as an evening snack.
VARIOUS PURIS (Bread) – Along with sabudana, puris ( deep fried bread) made of Kuttu ka atta ( buckwheat flour) is very popular during Navratris. All the special Navratris thalis (platters) have the puris made of kuttu. It’s usually green once fried and quite heavy to eat.
CHEELAS – Cheelas are the Indian pancakes and a popular breakfast and snack item. The two most popular versions are made of Besan ( Gram flour) and Moong Dal ( a type of lentils). They are light to eat and easy to prepare. You can see large food counters only selling them and chillas with paneer toppings are one of the hottest selling items during puja. They go fantastically well with green and red chutneys.
PANEER IN KULLAHD – One unique item which I could not find except in the bylanes of Old Delhi is Kulhaad Paneer Chawal. It’s a meal on the go which is served in a kulhaad ( a small earthen pot). A thick curry of Palak Paneer ( Cottage cheese cooked in spinach) is ladled on top of fried rice and served with some pickles and raw onions. These bowls are considered good for the cooking and serving because of their health benefits and are, still, used in the villages of India – roughly, this tradition of using such earthen pots dates all the way back some 5000 years during the Indus Valley Civilization.
JALEBI – I have fond memories of our childhood days when we would order jalebis on the special occasion (Independence day, republic day or any other public holidays) and share with our neighbors – a ritual which is still followed. Mostly prepared on a special occasion, this Indian sweet has a long fan following. Made of thick batter of Maida ( wheat flour), Jalebis is fried in ghee ( clarified butter) and soaked in sugar syrup before serving hot. In Some parts of India like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, Jalebi is paired with hot milk or Poha ( a snack made of flat rice) and are the part of the breakfast menu.
ADRAK CHAI ( Ginger Tea ) – No food outing can be completed without having the mandatory cups of after meals tea. Tea stalls are ubiquitous and scattered across the puja Pandals ( community halls). Endless cups of tea can be sipped over a piece of gossip. Though a gift of China to the world, we, Indians, have accepted tea wholeheartedly. A popular version is a milk tea which is generously boiled with chunks of Adrak ( Ginger) in order to bring out the right flavors. An old-fashioned way of serving it is in vogue nowadays – A tea served in kulhars (pots) which not only makes it easy to sip but also gives it an earthy aroma.
So that sums up my nine food choices from this Navratri festival and since options are a lot I plan to try another nine options in the next Navratri.
If you like my post on food then follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/foodtrawler and leave your comments. I plan to be more regular there and share some more authentic dishes from around the world real soon.”
THANK YOU FOOD TRAWLER FOR GIVING US INSIGHT ON THE YUMMY FOOD OPTIONS, I AM ALREADY WAITING FOR YOUR NEXT FOOD POST!
I SUM UP THE BLOGTOBER WITH THIS POST AND A SIP OF CHAI (TEA)
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