During the nine days of Chaitra or Vasanta Navratri, chefs across the country are busy offering Navratri specialty dishes that do not usually find a place on regular menus. While sticking to traditional dishes, they are also displaying their creativity by rustling up innovative dishes which are exotic and bursting with seasonal flavours.
The special menus thus ensure that diners do not get bored of the usual preparations and have something new to savour this festive season.
As the nine-day celebration comes close to an end yet another year, here are some unique recipes by chefs from all over India.
Chironji ki daal
- 250 gm chironji
- 30 gm desi ghee
- 5gm ginger, chopped
- 5gm green chillies, chopped
- 3 gm coriander, chopped
- 50 gm yogurt
- 5 gm coriander powder
- 8 nos black peppercorns
- 5 nos green cardamom
- 2 gm royal cumin seeds
- 5 gm red chilli powder
Chironji ki daal
- Soak chironji in lukewarm water for 20 minutes, drain water and rub chironji seeds till the husk comes off. Discard the husk.
- Grind half of the chironji seeds into a coarse paste and keep aside.
- Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan, add royal cumin and allow it to crackle, then put green cardamom and peppercorns and let them crackle too. Then add chopped ginger and green chilies and sauté for a minute.
- In a clean bowl, beat yogurt till smooth and add it to the pan a little at a time, stirring well to avoid curdling. When the fat separates, add coriander powder, sendha salt, red chilli powder, then add whole chironji as well the ground one and mix well using a wooden spoon.
- Add enough water to cover the dal and bring to a boil, then simmer till the chironji is cooked through.
- Serve hot and garnish with the chopped coriander.
NOTE: The consistency of the dal can be adjusted to taste by adding more or less water.
Chef Rajiv Malhotra, Corporate Chef, Chor Bizarre
Gulkhand Gulab Jamun
- 1 kg khoya (reduced milk)
- 200gms flour
- 5 gms cardamom powder
- 250 gms gulkhand
- 1 kg sugar syrup
- 850 ml water
- 2 ltr ghee (clarified butter)
Gulkhand Gulab Jamun
- Make dough with khoya, flour and cardamom powder and keep it aside.
- Take a small ball-sized dough and make balls stuffed with gulkhand (rose petal compote).
- Make sure there are no cracks on the balls, else the jamun may break while frying.
- Heat ghee on medium heat and slowly pour the balls in for frying.
- Fry the balls on low flame stirring continuously.
- Fry for 12-15 minutes until the balls turn golden brown.
- Drop the hot gulkhand gulab jamuns into the warm sugar syrup.
- Cover the lid and rest for 2 hours and then serve hot.
Mukesh Sharma, Executive Chef, Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort & Spa
- 100 gms cashewnut powder
- 100 gm sugar
- food colour (red, green and yellow)
- 50 ml water
- 2 tsp milk
- Mix sugar and water in a pan.
- Place over moderate heat and cook.
- Add 1 to 2 tsp of milk and remove any impurities that float to the surface.
- Drain and transfer to another pan.
- Place over moderate heat and cook till a one string consistency is reached.
- Add powdered cashews and keep stirring constantly.
- Continue to simmer till it achieves a dosa batter like consistency.
- Remove and keep aside to cool.
- Once it has reduced to a chapati dough like consistency, divide into 3 or more portions.
- To each portion, add one food colour and shape them into flowers.
- Arrange on a plate and serve.
Chef Kasiviswanathan, Executive Chef, Radisson Blu Atria Bengaluru
Pune Mango Mastani
- 200 gms, alphonso mango puree
- 1trs alphonso mango juice
- 120 gms malai (full fat cream, homemade)
- 30 gms ghee
- 10 gms almonds
- 10 gms pistachio
- 10 gms cashewnuts
- 10 gms, lonavala peanut chikki
- 4 scoops, home-made vanilla ice-cream
- 5 gms, orange marmalade
- Mix the mango juice and puree to attain desired consistency and taste, set in moulds and freeze overnight.
- Extract malai, keep aside.
- Roast dry fruits in ghee and keep aside.
- Break down the frozen mango mixture to that of a granita texture and set it in a glass.
- Spoon in a generous layer of malai, alternate with another layer of mango mixture.
- Place a scoop of home-made vanilla ice cream, sprinkle with roasted nuts, and peanut chikki.
- Finish with orange marmalade.
Chef Dhiraj Dargan, Executive Chef, Comorin
The writer is a food author.