As the Navratri fast approaches, many of us are left wondering what foods we can and cannot consume during this auspicious time.
While lentils and grains are strictly prohibited, there are some exceptions to the rule. One such exception is ragi flour, also known as nachni flour.
This versatile millet has gained popularity in recent years for its high fiber and protein content, making it a great addition to any fasting diet.
But can we really eat ragi flour during Navratri? Let’s dive deeper into this question and explore the benefits of incorporating ragi flour into our fasting meals.
Can We Eat Ragi Flour In Navratri Fast?
The short answer is yes, we can eat ragi flour during Navratri fast. Ragi is a millet that is not only permissible but also highly recommended during this time.
Ragi flour is gluten-free, making it a great alternative to wheat flour. It is also rich in fiber and protein, which helps keep us feeling full and satisfied for longer periods of time.
In fact, ragi flour has gained enough traction in the world of health for its numerous health benefits. It is known to aid in weight loss, boost bone health, and improve digestion due to its high dietary fiber content.
Understanding The Navratri Fast And Its Dietary Restrictions
Navratri is a nine-day long festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world. During this time, devotees observe fasts to seek blessings from Goddess Durga. The fast is believed to purify the body and mind and help the devotee focus on spiritual growth.
The Navratri fast has certain dietary restrictions that must be followed strictly. Regular grains like wheat and rice are not allowed during this time. Instead, devotees are encouraged to consume alternative flours like Kuttu ka Atta (buckwheat flour), Singhare ka Atta (water chestnut flour), or Rajgira ka Atta (amaranth flour). These flours are gluten-free and are easier to digest.
In addition to alternative flours, fruits and milk are also allowed during the Navratri fast. Some devotees even fast only on fruits and milk for all nine days. Spices like cumin, black pepper powder, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ajwain, black peppercorns, dry pomegranate seeds, kokum, tamarind, and nutmeg can be used for cooking during this time.
While vegetables like potatoes, sweet potato, arbi, kachalu, suran or yam, lemons, raw or semi-ripe pumpkin, raw pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes, bottle gourd, cucumber, and carrots are allowed during the Navratri fast, legumes and lentils should be avoided. Non-vegetarian food, eggs, alcohol, smoking and aerated drinks are also strictly prohibited.
It is important to note that there can be variations in the number of fasting days observed by individuals. While some observe the fasts for all nine days, there are some devotees who keep fast in jodas (couple) – the first two or the last two days of the Navratri. Some people take only water during these nine days while some eat fruits and some people eat one meal a day.
What Is Ragi Flour And Its Nutritional Value?
Ragi flour, also known as finger millet flour, is a type of flour made from the seeds of the ragi plant. This flour is a powerhouse of nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, and potassium. It has more nutritional value than wheat flour and plain white rice.
One of the significant benefits of ragi flour is its ability to help manage blood sugar levels. The fiber present in the bran of finger millet reduces the rate of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, causing slower gastric emptying. This helps to prevent a spike in blood sugar levels.
Ragi flour is also an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein. The high fiber content helps to keep us feeling full for longer periods, making it an ideal food for weight loss. The protein in ragi flour is also of high quality, making it an excellent source of plant-based protein for vegetarians and vegans.
The Exception To The Rule: Why Ragi Flour Is Allowed During Navratri
During Navratri, there are certain restrictions on what can be consumed as part of the fasting diet. Regular grains like wheat and rice are not allowed, and only certain flours like buckwheat, water chestnut, and amaranth are permitted. However, ragi flour is an exception to this rule.
Ragi is not a grain but a millet, which makes it a suitable ingredient for Navratri fasting. It is also a staple food in many parts of India, particularly in the southern states. Ragi flour is used to make a variety of dishes like dosas, idlis, and porridges.
Apart from being gluten-free and high in fiber and protein, ragi flour is also rich in various minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. These nutrients are essential for maintaining good health and well-being.
Another reason why ragi flour is allowed during Navratri fast is that it is considered a Satvik food. Satvik foods are those that are pure, light, and easy to digest. They are believed to promote mental clarity, spiritual growth, and overall well-being.
How To Incorporate Ragi Flour Into Your Navratri Fasting Meals
If you are looking to incorporate ragi flour into your Navratri fasting meals, here are some delicious and healthy options:
1. Ragi Paratha: Combine ragi flour with grated boiled potatoes, green chili, and coriander leaves to make a dough. Roll out the dough and cook on a non-stick pan with ghee or oil.
2. Ragi Thalipeeth: Mix ragi flour with grated bottle gourd, ginger, green chili, and coriander leaves. Add water to make a dough and cook on a non-stick pan with ghee or oil.
3. Ragi Kheer: Cook ragi flour in milk with cardamom powder and jaggery for a sweet treat.
4. Ragi Ladoo: Roast ragi flour with ghee and mix with grated coconut and jaggery to make delicious ladoos.
5. Ragi Idli: Mix ragi flour with urad dal and rice flour to make idli batter. Steam the batter in idli molds for a healthy breakfast option.
These dishes not only add variety to your Navratri fasting meals but also provide essential nutrients to keep you energized throughout the day. So go ahead, add ragi flour to your grocery list this Navratri season!
Delicious Ragi Flour Recipes For The Navratri Fast
Here are some delicious and easy ragi flour recipes that you can try during Navratri fast:
1. Ragi Dosa
Ragi dosa is a healthy and tasty option for breakfast or snack during the Navratri fast. To make this dosa, mix ragi flour with rice flour, chopped green chillies, curd, water, salt, chopped onion, and coriander leaves. Temper mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves in oil and add to the batter. Heat a dosa tawa or griddle, pour the batter on it, and cook until brown. Serve with coconut chutney.
2. Ragi Ladoo
Ragi peanut ladoo is a perfect energy ball that you can munch on during the Navratri fast. Mix ragi flour with roasted peanuts, jaggery or sugar, ghee, and cardamom powder. Shape them into small balls and enjoy.
3. Ragi Halwa
Ragi halwa is a wholesome and delicious dessert that you can make during the Navratri fast. Roast ragi flour in ghee until fragrant. Add hot water and sugar or jaggery and cook until thickened. Garnish with nuts and serve warm.
4. Ragi Idiyappam
Ragi idiyappam is a healthy twist to the traditional South Indian string hoppers. Mix ragi flour with hot water and salt to make a dough. Press it through an idiyappam maker onto a greased plate and steam until cooked. Serve with coconut chutney or sambar.
5. Ragi Porridge
Ragi porridge is a nutritious and filling breakfast that you can have during the Navratri fast. Boil ragi flour in water or milk with sugar or jaggery until thickened. Add cardamom powder and nuts for extra flavor.
Precautions To Take When Consuming Ragi Flour During Navratri
While ragi flour is a healthy and permissible option during Navratri fast, there are certain precautions that need to be taken when consuming it. Here are some important points to keep in mind:
1. Quality of the flour: Make sure to use high-quality ragi flour from a trusted source. Poor quality flour may contain impurities or additives that can harm your health.
2. Portion control: While ragi flour is healthy, it is still high in calories. So, make sure to consume it in moderation and keep an eye on your portion sizes.
3. Cooking method: Ragi flour lacks gluten, which means that it won’t have the same elasticity as wheat flour. Therefore, it is important to keep the dough moist until using it and cook it on lower temperatures to get the desired result.
4. Pairing with other ingredients: Ragi flour has a distinct taste that may not be appealing to everyone. Therefore, it is important to pair it with other ingredients that complement its taste and texture.
By following these precautions, you can safely consume ragi flour during Navratri fast and reap its numerous health benefits.