Divine treats

Ahead of Navaratri, TNIE looks at some delicious delicacies from around the country.
(Photo | Special arrangement)
(Photo | Special arrangement)

The Navaratri festival is a celebration of feminine cosmic energy, devoted to the goddess Durga, Saraswathi, the goddess of education, art, and culture; and Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity.

Celebrating the victory of good over evil, each of the nine days of the festival is dedicated to distinct avatars of Durga or Adi Parashakti. Devotees typically observe a fast for nine days, although some opt for a two-day fast.

During this period, fasting involves abstaining from common grains like wheat, but allows for the consumption of fruits, milk, tea, coffee, potatoes, and one meal of sago-based dishes. Furthermore, Navratri is celebrated in diverse ways across different communities of India. For Bengalis, it’s Durga Puja and pandal visits. Gujaratis kick-off their popular dance festival, Garba. Tamilians mark the occasion with the display of ‘Bomma Kollu’ and, in Kerala, it’s Vidyarambam and Ayudha Puja. Here, TNIE presents recipes of some popular Navrathri dishes of various regions of the country

Sweet Pongal

Recipe by Uma Iyer


  • Moong dal - 1/2 cup
  • Cup rice- 3/4
  • Milk- 1 cup
  • Grated jaggery- 1 cup
  • Cardamom powder- 1/2 tbsp
  • Ghee- 3-4 tbs
  • Dry fruits as per choice

Method of preparation

Add the moong dal into a pressure cooker and dry roast in medium flame till it turns slightly golden. Once it’s done, add rice. To this, add water and milk, and let it cook for three whistles on a medium flame. Cook till rice and dal turns soft. Now prepare jaggery syrup. Add half a cup of water and grated jaggery to a pan. Heat the mixture on a low flame till a syrup is formed. Once the rice and dal are cooked, smash the mixture. Pour in the jaggery syrup and mix well. Then add cardamom powder and cook on a medium flame till the jaggery blends with the rice and dal. In a pan, add ghee and roast the dry fruits. Pour this into the Pongal

Singhare Ka Paratha

Recipe by Ranjan Shah


  • Potatoes-- 4-5
  • Grated ginger-- 1 tbsp
  • Chopped green chilly-- 1 tablespoon
  • Water chestnut flour-- 250 gm  
  • Salt as per taste
  • Black Pepper powder as per taste
  • Cumin seeds-- 1/2 tbsp
  • Chopped coriander leaves-- 1 tbsp

Method of preparation
Peel raw potatoes and cut them into small pieces. Now grind chopped potatoes, 1 tsp of grated ginger and 1 tsp of finely chopped green chillies finely. In a bowl, add 1 cup of water, chestnut flour, potato paste, salt, ground black pepper, cumin and finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix them well, and knead the dough. Then add some ghee to it, mash the dough well and make it smooth. Cover it for 15 minutes. Take a small portion, wrap it in dry flour and roll it out.  Add some ghee and cook the paratha on low-medium flame and cook it till brown spots appear on sides.

Sabudana Khichadi

Recipe by Ranjan Shah


  • Sabudana (tapioca pearls)-- 1 cup
  • Ghee or oil-- 2-3tbsp
  •  Cumin seeds-- 1tsp
  •  green chilly-- 1/2 chopped
  •   Water
  • Medium-sized boiled potatoes--2
  •  Roasted peanuts-- 1/2 cup
  • Rock salt as per taste
  • Sugar as per taste

Method of preparation

Rinse the sabudana in water to remove excess starch and soak them overnight or at least for 3 to 4 hours before cooking. In a frying pan heat oil, add cumin seeds and fry a little. Add curry leaves, chopped green chillies and boiled potatoes cut into small pieces. To this add the soaked sabudana, roasted peanut, salt and sugar. Mix well and let it cook for 2-3 minutes with closed lid. Add some water if it’s a little dry.

Ney Payasam

Recipe by Sathiabhama Nair


  • Matta raw rice-- 1 cup
  •  coconut milk(optional)-- 1/2 cup
  •  Grated jaggery-- 1 cup
  •  Cardamom powder-- 1/2 tablespoon
  •  Ghee-- 3-4tbsp
  • Dry Fruits as per choice
  • Finely chopped coconut pieces

Method of preparation
Add 1.5 cup of water and pressure cook rice for 3 to 4 whistles. Then mash the rice. Take a pan and add water, brown jaggery cook till it melts. To the jaggery syrup, add the cooked rice and mix well for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup ghee and cardamom powder. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the gas and add coconut milk(optional). Heat a pan, add ghee and roast dry fruits and chopped coconuts. Add this to the rice mixture, mix it well and it’s ready to serve. Garnish with a small banana cut into pieces and serve (optional)

Ambya Humman

Recipe by Chef Sreelakhmi Niranjan Prabhu


  • Ripe mangoes--  1-2
  • Jaggery-- 500 gm (both white and brown)
  • Sugar-- 50 gm
  • Salt as per taste
  • Curry leaves
  • Mustard seeds-- 1 tbsp
  • Dried red chilly-- 2-3
  • Cooking oil-- 30 ml
  • Water

Method of preparation

Add the ripe mango cut into pieces without peeling its skin into the water and let it cook. Meanwhile, take a pan and make jaggery syrup. Once it is done, strain the syrup add it to the mango and cook for 5-6 minutes on low flame. Add a pinch of salt to keep the taste balance. Prepare the tempering of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, powdered pepper, dried chillies and curry leaves. Heat the oil in a pan and add these ingredients. Add it to the mango mix, stir well and enjoy the Ambya Humman. It can be served as a side dish with rice.

Naroo Ladu

Recipe by Promita Das


  • Fresh grated coconut-- 2 cups
  •  organic jaggery powder or chopped or grated jaggery-- 1 cup
  •  green cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ghee for greasing palms, you can also use coconut oil

Method of preparation
Add fresh grated coconut to a kadai. Reduce the flame to low. Stir the grated coconut on low to medium flame for 4 to 5 minutes. Make sure the coconut doesn’t turn brown. Then add the grated jaggery and mix well for about 6 to 7 minutes on a low to medium flame. Once the mixture turns slightly thick, add cardamom powder, mix well turn off the stove and let it cool. Once it cools, apply some ghee and make small laddoos. 

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