Navarathri | 9 Nights for the Goddess | Devotion, Dolls and Food

Navaratri – 9 nights dedicated to the Goddess

Millions of Hindus consider Navaratri the year’s central festival, the one they most deeply connect to. These nine days dedicated to Shakti, the Goddess, in her incarnations as Durga, Lakshmi and Saravati, provide an opportunity to seek blessings and commune with their own divinity. It is a time for sacred gatherings, austerities, selfless acts and intimate prayers. It also includes joyous worship, festivities, plays, feasting and dance—all venerating God as the loving Mother Spirit that gives life to everything.

Dishes for Navarathri

Like all Hindu festivals, food plays a large part. See below for the list. Or browse all of our dishes for Navarathri here.

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Pepper Cumin Rice | Milagu Jeeraga Saadham

A warming rice combining the dark flavours of pepper and cumin

Pepper-Cumin rice is another great favourite of South India. Rice is flavoured with the warmth of black pepper and the earthiness of cumin. You can adjust the pepper levels to your individual taste preferences.

Similar recipes include Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon RicePepper Rice and Black Pepper and Cumin Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes. All of our Indian dishes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our  Mid Winter recipes.

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Sakkarai Pongal | Sweet Pongal from Jaffna (without milk)

A dish for Thai Pongal especially, but also wonderful at home.

Pongal is a creamy rice and mung dal dish from South India (and from the Tamil cuisine in Sri Lanka) which can be made savoury and sweet.  In many ways, pongal is similar to the kitchari dish of North India.

Sweet pongal is made at home, but also made as naivedyam and prasadam – gifts to the gods during the different festivals. It is the essential dish for Thai Pongal, a festival each January where families cook sweet pongal over an open fire (if possible).

I love it for breakfast, particularly in the coldness of Mid Winter.

You might like to browse other Pongals, and some Kitcharis. Have a look at our other Naivedyam and Prasadam dishes, and other Thai Pongal dishes. Read about Thai Pongal, or browse other Rice dishes.

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A Simple Bean Sprout Stir Fry with Spices | Bean Sprout Sundal

A quick dish, great for when you need to eat healthy but don’t have a lot of time.

Sometimes life throws us curveballs. In such times, it is great to stay intent on what keeps use healthy and focused. Simple and great food that is full of goodness is the best way to go.

Eat well at any time, and lift it to the next level when life is tough.

You might also like to try Black Gram Sprouts Sundal, Sweet Corn Sundal, Adzuki Bean Sundal, Sprouted Green Gram Sundal, and White Pea Sundal. Or you can make a Sundal with du Puy Lentils or some Mung Dal, equally as delicious.

Explore all of the Sundal Recipes, they are all quick and gorgeous. Sundals can also be used as prasadam and neivedyam for Navaratri or Ganesha Chaturthi and other Hindu Festivals. Click the links for other recipes for these festivals. Or explore our collection of Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here.

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Manga Kalan | Mambazha Pulissery | A Kerala Sweet and Sour Mango Curry

A sweet and sour yoghurt curry from the tropical lands of Kerala

Mambazha Kalan, or Mambazha Pulissery is a sweet and sour curry simmered in a yogurt and coconut sauce. It originates from Kerala, where mango curries are a real treat. It has the sweetness of the mango contrasted against the sourness of the yoghurt.

Mambazha Pulissery really is a signature Kerala dish, where ripe mangoes are plentiful and are cooked with tangy curd (yogurt) and coconut gravy. This sweet and slightly sour curry is also called Pazhamanga Pulissery in places in Kerala.

You might like to read How to Cook with Yoghurt.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Plain Pulissery, Pineapple Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery with Green Peppercorns.

You might also like to try Jicama and Green Mango Salad, Mango Lassi, or Mango and Lemon Rice.

Browse all of our Pulissery dishes, Mango recipes, and our Yoghurt dishes. Our Kerala recipes are here, all of our Indian dishes here and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply explore all of our Late Summer recipes.

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Brown Lentil Sprouts Sundal | An Indian Salad

Sundals are very easy to make once your base ingredient – usually a lentil or pulse – is cooked. They are often called “salads” but there isn’t really a Western equivalent.

I found some unidentified brown lentils in the pantry, as one does, and so sprouted them. They were difficult to sprout, taking their time indeed. Yet some days later I had a bowl of wonderful sprouts and crunchy lentil bases.

The sprouts were made into a Sundal.  Sundals are very easy to make once your base ingredient – usually a lentil or pulse – is cooked unless it is soft enough to use raw. These are quickly sauteed with spices – black mustard seeds, asafoetida, ginger, red and green chillies. Sundals are often called “salads”, and in an Indian context, that is true as they are much lighter dishes than many curries.

You can use any sprouts for this recipe.

You might also like to try Lentils and Eggplant with Pomegranate, Mung Sprouts Sundal, Sprouted White Pea Sundal, Sprouted Green Gram Sundal, and Masoor Dal Sprouts Sundal. Also explore Sweet Corn Sundal, Adzuki Bean Sundal, Sprouted Green Gram Sundal, and White Pea Sundal.

Or you can make a sundal with du Puy Lentils or some mung dal, equally as delicious.

Explore all of the Sundal Recipes, they are all quick and gorgeous.

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Hindu Festival: Maha Sivaratri | A Night of Fasting

Shivaratri, or Mahashivratri, is one of the most auspicious occasions for members of the Hindu community. The day holds special significance for pious Hindus all over the world, especially devotees of Lord Shiva. Many of whom observe a strict day-long fast or Upvaas in honour of Lord Siva. The fast is broken only in the early morning of the next day, with the consumption of some traditional food items and drinks. Continue reading “Hindu Festival: Maha Sivaratri | A Night of Fasting”

Avial | Aviyal | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce | From Kerala, India

Avial is a gentle dish from Kerala, made with vegetables and coconut.

Avial is a gentle dish from Kerala. It is a thick mixture of vegetables and coconut, seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. In essence, the vegetables are boiled or steamed and then dressed with the coconut-cumin-yoghurt sauce. Each family’s sauce is different from the next family’s. In our recipe today we are using cumin in the sauce.

Avial is considered an essential part of the Sadya, the Keralite vegetarian feast. It is commonly made with elephant yam, plantain, pumpkin, carrots, beans, Eggplant, cucumber, drumsticks and snake gourd. Carrots and beans are recent but delicious introduction. Bitter gourd can be included in some regions also.

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Sweet Pongal | Sakkarai Pongal without Milk

A beautiful sweet dish for Pongal, or any time. Enjoy!

A great dish at any time, sweet, nourishing and comforting, and especially good for the South Indian Thai Pongal Festival and similar festivals in other parts of India, in January. A mixture of rice and mung dal sweetened with jaggery, it is a warming and comforting dish.

You might be looking for other Pongal recipes. There are sweet versions (sakkarai), and you might like to try the others: Sakkarai Pongal from Jaffna; Sakkarai Pongal with Milk and Sakkaria Pongal without Milk.

And there is a savoury version, called Ven Pongal. You can see that one here.

Or browse all of our Kitchadi recipes here, and our Rice recipes here. Have a look at all of our Indian dishes. You might like to take some time and browse all of our Mid Summer recipes.

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Thengai Saadham | South Indian Coconut Rice

Try this coconut rice from Sth India with your next curry.

In Australia, rice as a savoury dish was rare until perhaps the 1990’s. We grew up rarely eating rice – in fact I can’t really remember my mother cooking it other than as a sweet dish. And as Australia adopted rice as an accompaniment to savoury dishes, it was always plain boiled rice to soak up sauces – the occasional curry, English stews, vegetable braises etc. Times have changed and we have been influenced by our Asian and Indian migrant populations, and many families would now own a rice cooker.

This is a South Indian Coconut rice dish from Tamil Nadu. There is a Balinese Coconut Rice also, Nasi Lemak, you can see it here. The Balinese one is made with coconut cream, while this recipe is made with fresh/frozen coconut.

Similar recipes include Kiribath – Sri Lankan Coconut Rice, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and Balinese Coconut Rice.

You might also like to try Urad Dal Garlic Rice, Peppered Rice, Tamarind Rice and Mango Rice.

There are several ways to cook rice – Absorption method, Steaming or Oven Finished Rice.

Check our different Coconut Rice Recipes. Or simply browse all of the Rice dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Late Summer recipes.

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