Cookies, vegetarian 'mock duck', Parsi 'malai kulfi' and much more -- chefs have put together interesting recipes for those observing the nine-day Navratri fast. They have also brought "mouth-watering twists" to the traditional menu promising to turn the fast into a feast. Navratri starts Oct 16 and ends Oct 24.
Zing GourMET Shop at The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa has special cumin and candy pineapple cookies. Made of 'kuttu ka atta', the cookies, prepared for the first time, are available for Rs.400 for 700 gm.
"During Navratri, it is usual to have products made of 'kuttu/singhara' flour. But these have a limited appeal. So these cookies will be something unique to those fasting," Sandeep Panwar, Zing's executive chef, told IANS.
He said they offered a break from mundane and less appealing recipes. And if you miss having non-vegetarian food during the nine-day festival, Royal China has a solution. It has come up with vegetarian 'mock duck', a dish prepared by Chinese chef Eric Khoo.
Made with soya bean, mushrooms and plum sauce, it tastes like a duck. "On demand from guests fascinated with the duck concept, we decided to create a vegetarian mock duck for Navratri," Aashita Relan, director, Royal China, told IANS.
The 'duck' is available during lunch and dinner for Rs.525 plus taxes. Without compromising on traditional fasting norms, several eating joints are also offering 'vrat (fast) thalis'. Ignis Kitchen and Bar has put together a 'saatvik menu' with tempting options. It includes snacks and savouries such as 'kuttu poori' served with 'kaddu ki sabzi', 'aloo dahiwale', paneer makhani, 'aloo saboodana ki tikki', 'raita', salad and 'saboodana papad'.
Of course, Ignis has special offers for those with a sweet tooth. It serves 'parsi malai kulfi' and 'makhane ki kheer' for dessert. Available at Rs.269 per thali plus taxes, there is also an assorted 'papad' basket and potatoes served with the main course.
Besides, there are mouth-watering snacks for those odd hours, when one doesn't feel like having something heavy. So you can pick from 'aloo anardana chaat', 'aloo saboodana ki tikki' and 'paneer tawe wala', to name a few.
Mast Kalandar, a north Indian chain of restaurants, is hosting a Navratri food festival at all its 32 outlets in Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad. Its special thali includes 'aloo ki subzi', 'mooli lachcha', salad with 'kuttu ki pakodi' and 'kuttu ki poori' with rock salt and minimal spices. The meal also has banana 'chaat' and traditional milk desserts. All this is available for Rs.169 plus taxes.
To add more fun, Mast Kalandar has planned many activities at its outlets, such as lucky draws and prizes, while one waits for the food. "We are the only place serving exclusive vrat thali prepared considering all the religious norms," Vrinda Pandey, head of customer experience and marketing, Mast Kalandar, told IANS.
"We expect a 15-20 percent jump in footfalls," she said. "Since the food is 'satvik' (vegetarian food without onion and garlic), with minimal spices and specific ingredients, it is low on flavours. But we can assure that it is the best taste you can get, considering the authenticity," she said.
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