How are you starting your day?
How you start your day is absolutely crucial. As they say, breakfast is the most important part of your day. There is an old adage which states you should “Eat breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper” to maintain a healthy lifestyle. What’s interesting is that our very own do that in hot countries like India and Africa yet we seem to rely on our evening meal being the heaviest.
Well, this part 2 is all about delicious recipes that you can use during your fast. Of course, these are just guidelines and if you have additions you’d like to make, then please do and don’t forget to comment below on what you have done or indeed what you think about the ones you tried below
Banana and Date Smoothie:
This refreshing smoothie will keep you energised for a good few hours, the protein from the yogurt teamed together with the all the natural sugars from the Banana, Dates and Honey will keep you feeling satisfied and ready for the day ahead
- 1/2 ripe medium banana
- 1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt – you don’t have to choose fat free but prefer it so I can use my allowance of fat on healthy oils from nuts etc and I also prefer to use Total Greek Yogurt as it has a higher protein content as well as being think and creamy
- 1/2 Cup of milk or almond milk
- 1 – 2 Dates chopped
- 1/2 tbsp. of honey
- Pinch of Chai Masala or Cinnamon – Optional
- Ice – optional
Add all these ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth, you can use a hand blender too!!
Farar ‘Bircher’ Muesli:
Bircher muesli traditionally is oats soaked overnight in yogurt and a dash of milk together with variety of fruit and nuts. I have created this delicious Farar ‘Bircher’ Muesli packed full of goodness and nutrition that will keep you going till lunch. This is a recipe you can really play around with, you can swap the pomegranate for mixed berries, almonds for pistachios, the apple for any other fruit such as peach, mango, banana whatever you prefer! In fact I am confident that with a little imagination you can create a different muesli for each one of the 9 days!!
- 1/2 Cup of Thick Fat Free Greek Yogurt
- 1 Apple
- 1 Tablespoon of desiccated coconut toasted
- 10 Almonds chopped
- Pomegranate seeds
Grate the apple with its skin directly into the Greek Yogurt, mix in the chopped almonds and desiccated coconut and top with Pomegranate seeds. You can prepare this the night before and store in the fridge, by the morning all the juices from your apple will have infused into the yogurt giving you a wonderful creamy consistency so good it doesn’t taste like it’s healthy. If you prefer a sweeter taste feel free to drizzle some honey on top. Once you have stopped fasting you can enjoy this same breakfast by replacing the coconut with 1/4 cup of oats and 1/4 cup of milk or almond milk .
Other than being low in fat and high in carbs sabudana doesn’t hail many other nutrients yet it’s a firm favourate for fasting. Make this classic dish more nutrient dense by filling it out with roasted nuts, and peppers. If you like the comfort of potatoes in your khichdi you can add come cubed boil potatoes to it but be sure to leave the skin on!! Its where all the fibre is!!
- 1 Cup Sabudana – wash and soak for a few hours
- 1/4 cup mixed nuts any of your choice dry roast in a hot pan bash them up a bit to break them up and keep aside
- 1/2 Cup of mixed chopped peppers
- Green Chillies finely chopped
- Medium Potato chopped and boiled
- Ghee/Oil 1 tablespoon
- Curry leaves – Few
- Cumin Seeds 1 tsp
- Salt & Lemon to taste
- Coconut – 2 tablespoon of unsweetened desiccated
- Handful of Fresh Coriander
In hot pan heat your choice of ghee or oil, add cumin and curry leaves. Add potato and saute till edges of the potato are golden. Add peppers and saute for another few minutes till the peppers have softened, add the soaked sabudan, mixed nuts, salt lemon sprinkle a dash of hot wanter if it appears dry and cover for a few more minutes till the sabudana turns transparent. Remove from heat and add coriander and chillies just before serving. Don’t like sabudana? Don’t add it!! Follow the same recipe and add a mix of normal and sweet potato or add boiled and cubed mogo instead!
Tip: Did you know that adding chillies to food at the start of cooking makes your food hotter? As the chillies cook into your food it increases in heat! So if you love your chillies but don’t want to feel like your burning up from it add them at the end for a fresh kick without too much heat!
Zesty Raita on Baked Potatoes:This is one of my personal favourates! Hearty foil wrapped baked potato topped with a cool refreshing lemon and coriander Raita!! I do like to add a sprinkle of farar chevdo or plain ready salted crisps for the added crunch!! You can use normal potatoes but personally baked sweet potato is a sure fire winner for me!!
- 1 cup of thick Greek Yogurt
- Finely chopped Cucumber, Tomato and Yellow Pepper
- Coriander – finely chopped
- Zest from a Lemon – careful to grate only the zest and not grate as far as the white flesh of the skin or it will turn your food bitter.
- Salt to taste
- Green Chillies to taste
Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate. This will last a couple of days in the fridge I like to make it the night before work the next day so by the morning all the flavours have infused the yogurt giving you a cool creamy topping. Bake your potatoes, top and enjoy!
Tips: Cook your potatoes in the oven the night before so all you have to do is pack in the morning for lunch and give your potatoes a whirl in the microwave when you’re ready to eat. And if you enjoy cold potato salads simply add boiled salad potatoes to the Raita for a fabulous farar potato salad!!
Cut into fingers – Mogo, sweet potato and potato in skin and spread out into a baking tray.
In a small pan, heat a table spoon of oil, crackle and cumin seed, cracked black pepper and curry leaves and pour over your wedges. Season with salt to taste, red chilli powder and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Mix well and bake till all the wedges are soft and golden . The brown sugar helps to crisp up caramelise the potatoes.
A healthier version of the ever popular rajigra puri which absorbs A LOT of oil when fried.
- 1 Cup of Rajigra flour
- 1 Tbsp. of yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. Oil plus a little to brush on while they cook
- Salt to taste
- Finely chopped Chillies and Coriander
- Sesame seeds – dry roast in a hot pan and set aside
- Lemon juice to taste
Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the flour. Add the oil and mix well to a bread crumb consistency. Add lemon juice. Add a yogurt a spoon at a time and mix. If its still dry add warm water a little at a time till you have a dough consistency. Roll out and cook like normal thepla.
Tips: Use a silicon brush to lightly brush oil over your thepla, this will mean you use less!!
Creamy Coconut Paneer Curry
You may be surprised to see Paneer on the list, yes it’s high in fat, however it’s also high in protein and calcium!! So where we have cut down on harmful trans fats from by not frying our food we can now afford to treat ourselves to a bit yummy Paneer. We won’t be adding more unnecessary fats to this delicate dish by frying the Paneer, we will be boiling it instead so it retains its soft texture and its form.
- 1 block of Paneer cut into small cubes.
- 2 or 3 Fresh Tomatoes
- 1 large Red or Yellow Pepper
- 1 Tsp of oil – we don’t need much for this recipe
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- Few curry leaves
- 1/2 can of coconut milk
- Handful of Coriander
- Salt to taste
- Fresh Chilles
Place cubed paneer in a pan and pour boiling water from the kettle into it. Simmer on a low heat for a few minutes. In the meantime, roughly chop the tomatoes and pepper into chunks. Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin and curry leaves till they crackle. Add the peppers and tomatoes along with salt and some hot water from the kettle just to give it enough moisture to cook in. Cover and cook till your tomatoes and peppers are soft. Transfer to a blender, add your coconut and coriander and blend till smooth and transfer back to your pan. Drain your paneer from the boiling water, add to your sauce and simmer for a few more minutes. Enjoy as it is with the crispy Rajigra thepla.
Sanwa (Samo) Idli and Tomato and coconut water Sambhar Perfect dish for a cold Sunday afternoon!! This dish brings out all the amazing flavours of the south. Your family will want to enjoy this dish with you so you wont need to cook twice either!!! These idli’s aren’t quite as spongy as the ones we are traditionally used to having but no less delicious!!
For the Idli:
- 1 Cup of Sanwa (Samo)
- 1/2 Cup of Sabudana
- Up to 1 cup of Yogurt
- 1 meduim potato grated
- 1 tsp roasted and powdered cumin
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of sugar
- Chillies to taste
Wash the Sabudana and samo. And rinse away as much water as possible. Add the salt, pinch of sugar and yogurt to make a Dhokra style consistency. Set aside and leave to soak for 6 hours or overnight. Lightly grease your idli maker and grate the potatoes raw. Add the raw potatoes to the idli mix, spoon into the idli moulds and steam for 20 mins.
For the Sambhar:
- 1 Tin of peeled or chopped tomatoes
- 1 Cup of Coconut water – I use vitacoco but you can use any you like.
- Curry Leaves
- Cumin seeds
- Salt to taste
- Chillies to taste
- 1 tsp of oil
Add oil to a hot pan, crackle the cumin and curry leaves and add the tin of tomatoes – don’t worry about the tomatoes being whole at this stage. Add salt to taste and bring to boil. Transfer to a blender, add the cup of coconut water and coriander and blend well till you have a smooth sambhar style consistency.
Pour back into your pan and simmer for a few more minutes and enjoy with your steaming hot idlis!
Tips: Add extra crunch with roasted chopped nuts or some farar chevdo, add an extra tang with finely chopped raw mango. Make a cool topping with toasted coconut, yogurt salt and black pepper.
DESSERTS TO DIE FOR…
Sweets Treats and Refreshers:
Being healthy and indeed fasting doesn’t have to be boring! You can enjoy anything you want as long as it’s in moderation. So here’s some farar friendly sweets and treats to get you through till the end of Navratri.
Who doesn’t love a cookie with their morning chai?? When I made these my house smelt like I was making apple crumble!! So delicious so indulgent and not a grain of refined sugar in sight!!
- 1 pink lady apple – because these are naturally sweeter but you can use which ever ones you want
- 1/2 teaspoon of chai masala or powdered cinnamon – optional
- 1 and half cups of almond flour
- Honey to taste if you like it sweeter
- One tablespoon of coconut oil or unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt.
Peel and chop your apple and place in a saucepan with chai masala/cinnamon and boiling water enough to cover. Cover and cook till the apples are soft enough to mash. Once cooked discard any remaining water and you can either puree the apples in a blender or push it through a sieve. Mix together the almond flour and coconut oil/unsalted butter first, then mix in the apple sauce. The should be fairly gooey. You can press the mix down with a spoon onto grease proof paper alternatively you can spoon the mix into cupcake cases. Bake on Gas mark 6 for 20 – 30 mins till they are golden. I challenge you not to eat them all at once!!!
Tip: Want to make them more interesting? Take out the honey and replace with chopped dates, mixed dried fruit of your choice and finely chopped nuts!
Exotic Sweet Potato Barfi:
I bet you never expected to see sweet potato and barfi in the same sentence did you! This healthy treat is another winner all round!! Remember that half a tin of coconut milk? Now’s the time to use it up.
- 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil or ghee
- 1 medium sized sweet potato – peeled and grated
- 1/2 can of Coconut milk
- 1/4 pack of Khoya/Mawo (the one you use for Penda) Grated if you don’t have this you can use a couple of spoons of milk powder too.
- Honey to Taste
- Few Strands of Saffron
- Powdered Cardamom
- 1/4 Cup Cashew Nuts – plus some extra chopped for garnish
- 1/4 Dried Cranberries or you can use raisins too – Soak in hot water
This cooking method is similar to that of Gajar no halwo. So start by soaking the saffron in some coconut milk, soak the cranberries or raisins in hot water and chop up ur cashew nuts. Heat Ghee or oil in a hot pan and add your grated sweet potato. Sweet Potato cooks quicker than carrots so be sure to keep an eye on it, stirring and ensuring it doesn’t burn. Add the coconut milk, honey, cardamom and soaked saffron and keep on stirring till the moisture from the Coconut Milk starts to evaporate. Add the Khoya, cashew nuts and add the drained Cranberries or Raisins keep on stirring till you can see that the Khoya is fully melted into the sweet potato and it should start to come away from the sides of the pan. Transfer into a tray and press down with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle some chopped nuts on top and press them in so they stick to the barfi. Cool and cut into squares. Or don’t, spoon it into a dessert bowl and enjoy it hot!!
I recommend you make these before you go to Garba and keep them in the fridge for when you return back home
The Kiwi Coconut:
- 200mls or good glassful of cocovita coconut water
- 1 Kiwi
Place in Blender and blend till smooth
Did you know Kiwi has more vitamin C than oranges? Blended together with Coconut water this refreshing drink will replace all the lost electrolytes from playing garba and the vitamin C will help keep all the nasty cold and flu bugs at bay!
Very Berry Lassi
Berries are rich in Vitamin C too along with anti oxidants. The yogurt and apple juice will help fill you up before bed time without making you feel too full up.
- Handful of any Berries you like, my favourites are raspberries and blueberries and strawberries
- 1/4 cup of Yogurt
- 1 Glass of Coconut Water or Apple Juice
Blend till smooth and enjoy
My mum makes these on hot days but this is good either as a snack or as a meal accompaniment.
- 1/4 cup of yogurt
- 5cm piece of cucumber
- Handful of Coriander
- Roasted and coarsely ground cumin
- Salt to taste
- Add all the ingredients to a blender, blend till smooth and enjoy.
I hope you feel inspired by these recipes and I look forward to your feedback on how they all tasted too.
Some of you may feel that the recipes I have listed are a little high in fats; that’s true they are but they are packed full of good fats and essential oils that help us to maintain a healthy nervous system and blood vessels.
Healthier blood vessels mean better absorption of other essential vitamins and minerals needed to keep us fit and healthy. These fats also contribute to skin elasticity keeping you looking young and vibrant along with strong nails and glossy hair.
The recipes are all balanced with carbohydrates together with proteins and healthy fats. In case after all that cooking you still feel hungry you still have the option to eat fruit and nuts too!
So let’s ditch the Kadai this year and have a happy healthy Navratri I look forward to seeing you all at Garba.