The Art of Preparing Navratri PrasadOctober 27, 2023
Navratri is an eagerly awaited Hindu festival in many parts of India. It is a colorful and joyous 9-day festival dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga. During Navratri, Hindus worship 9 forms of the Goddess. Each day is dedicated to a particular form of Durga. The festival commemorates Durga’s victory over the demon Mahishasura.
On the occasion of Navratri, people make and offer special Prasad (offering) to the Goddess. This article delves into the art of preparing the Navratri Prasad, including the recipes, rituals, and the significance of the sacred offering.
Navratri: A Celebration of the Divine Feminine
Navratri means “9 nights” in Sanskrit. It celebrates Shakti, or the divine feminine energy and the victory of good over evil. Usually, it falls in the months of September or October. Devotees worship the 9 forms of Goddess Durga and invoke her blessings for health, prosperity, and protection.
The ritual of offering Prasad has a special place in Hindu religious practice. It is a blessing that comes from the deity, and along with spiritual and material benefits. Preparing Prasad during the Navratri festival is not a mere culinary exercise but a sacred ritual that demonstrates devotion, purity, and love of tradition.
Many things have to be kept in mind by those who have the task of preparing the Prasad. There can be no compromises on anything, as it is meant for the Goddess.
Let us see what are the rules one has to follow:
1. Purity and Cleanliness: Before preparing the Prasad, ensure cleanliness and purity. The place where the cooking is to be done, and the vessels should be clean and spotless. Also, the person making the Prasad should be someone who has a pure heart and mind.
2. Do it With Utmost Devotion: As the Prasad is offered to the deity, one should make it with utmost devotion. You can recite Mantras and Slokas dedicated to Goddess Durga when you cook.
3. Usage of Ingredients: The ingredients for Navratri Prasad must be carefully chosen. Items like rock salt (sendha namak), water chestnut flour (singhare ka atta), and certain vegetables are fasting-friendly.
4. Offering to the Goddess: After making the Prasad, offer it to the Goddess at home or in a temple. This offering should be made with reverence and devotion.
5. Distribution: After offering the Prasad to the deity, give it to family members, friends, and others, as well. This conveys the Goddess’ blessings to everyone who takes part.
Navratri Special Prasad Recipes
Here are some Navratri Prasad recipes that are not only delicious but also follow the fasting guidelines of the festival.
Sabudana Khichdi:· Ingredients: Sabudana (tapioca pearls), potatoes, peanuts, cumin seeds, green chilies, and rock salt.
Method: Soak the sabudana, then sauté it with potatoes, peanuts, and spices. Serve hot.
Kuttu Ki Puri:
Ingredients: Buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta), mashed potatoes, sendha namak, and water.
Method: Knead these ingredients into a dough, roll out puris, and deep-fry until it is golden brown.
Singhare Ka Halwa:
Ingredients: Water chestnut flour (singhare ka atta), sugar, ghee, cardamom, and water.
Method: Roast the flour in some ghee, add sugar syrup, and cook until it becomes thick. Garnish with some crushed cardamom seeds.
Ingredients: Potatoes, green chilies, cumin seeds, ghee, and rock salt.
Method: Sauté potatoes with green chilies, cumin seeds, and rock salt in ghee until they become tender and golden.
Ingredients: Foxnuts (makhana), sugar, milk, cardamom, and nuts.
Method: Roast the makhana in ghee, add some milk and sugar, and simmer until it thickens. Garnish it with nuts and cardamom.
Ingredients: Various seasonal fruits, rock salt, and a dash of lemon juice.
Method: Cut the fruits into bite-sized pieces, and sprinkle some rock salt and lemon juice to make a refreshing treat.
Tips for Making Navratri Prasad
Fasting Rules: The fasting rules of Navratri include avoiding grains, onion, garlic, and non-vegetarian items.
Hygiene: Maintain cleanliness and hygiene strictly in your kitchen while making the Prasad to ensure its purity.
Make the Offering with Love: Make the Prasad with feelings of love and devotion, for the energy you put into it will be transferred to the offering.
Share with Others: Share the Prasad with family and friends to spread the blessings of the Goddess.
Making the Navratri special Prasad is a way to express love and devotion to Goddess Durga. The rituals and recipes of Navratri Prasad have been passed down for generations and are also an integral part of the festival. The art of making Prasad adds great meaning to the worship of the Goddess.
Hindus offer food to a deity and later consume it as Prasad– a gift from the deity. The offering to the deity is Naivedyam. When it returns to us, it becomes Prasada, meaning ‘a gracious gift’. The deity’s blessing resides within the Prasad. The real meaning of Prasad is “purity, cheerfulness, bliss, peace, joy”. The real Prasad is the peace that fills our hearts while viewing the idol of the deity after we have performed the Pooja. Food cooked for a deity is spiritual. When we eat the Prasad after offering it to the Goddess, it enables our purification and spiritual development.