Friday, October 16, 2015

Phalahaar fasting thali one

Thali Menu
Sesame potatoes (तिल वाले आलू )
Banana Flavored yogurt (केले का रायेता)
Buckwheat pancakes (कुट्टू के चीले)
Fruit and veggie salad/chaat
Carrot pudding (गाजर की खीर)

Fasting is a spiritual practice observed in many religions. In Hinduism fasting stands for denial of the physical needs of the body for the sake of spiritual gains. By this act of self discipline devotees starve their senses (since food means gratification of senses), strengthening their mind  as well as hardening their body for hardships. It helps establish a harmonious relationship between body and soul.
Fasting can be of several types. Complete abstinence is called upavaas, avoiding any cereal and only eating fruits and root vegetables is called phalahaar. During the Navratri festival a lot of Hindus observe eight days of fasting. For Navratri its mostly phalahaar. People eat only once in the evening and consume no cereal even in that meal. Meal itself consists of simply cooked ingredients without the use of onion and garlic. Palahaar is also the way to go when fasting for Janamashtami, Shivratri or every fortnight for Ekadashi.
Here is an example of a phalahaar meal.

Til wale aloo
My mom's recipe, this dish is from Nepal and is always a favored item in gatherings. This spicy vegan fare takes multiple steps but is well worth the effort. As the flavors blend it, taste enhances after 24 hours. So I always make a double batch to ensure left-overs for later. This dish is suitable for a fasting meal. Use the same recipe for cooking cauliflower. Find the sesame cauliflower recipe here.
8 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
4-6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white sesame seeds
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds (optional)
1 tbsp amchoor powder (dehydrated raw mango powder)
2 inch fresh ginger root
8-10 green chilies
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
For recipe click here.


Banana Raita
2 cups yogurt blended into a smooth consistency
1 large ripe banana mashed well
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
Pinch red chili powder.
Finely chopped fresh coriander
1-2 green chilies chopped fine (optional)
  1. In a small pan dry roast cumin seeds for a few minutes till they get darker in color and impart a roasted aroma. In a mortar and pestle coarsely grind these hot seeds.
  2. Mix all ingredients together and cool. Serve cold.
Kuttu ka cheela (Buckwheat pancakes)  
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 1/2 cups of kuttu flour (Buckwheat)
Water to make a thin batter
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Finely chopped fresh coriander and green chilies
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
  1. Make a thin batter of pouring consistency using the buckwheat flour and water. Add salt and pepper(if using) and coriander and chilies. Mix well.
  2. In a medium hot flat pan make small pancakes or cheelas with the batter. Serve hot and crisp.

Fruit and veggie Chaat (fruit salad) 
Banana, apple, pear, grapes, oranges, pineapple, any fruits you might want to add along with cucumber and potato. I have used apples, grapes, cucumber and pineapple.
Kala namak (black rock salt)
Black pepper
Cumin powder
Lime juice
  1. Cut fruits into bite size pieces and combine in a large bowl.
  2. Flavour with lime juice, kala namak , freshly ground black pepper and dry roasted cumin powder. Mix well and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Carrot payasam 
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup sugar
4 green cardamoms, crushed fine
Handful Pistachios and almonds
  1. Put grated carrots in a pressure cooker with 1/4 cup water and pressure cook on high till the first whistle. Simmer for 5 minutes. Keep aside.
  2. Meanwhile bring 2 cups of milk to boil. 
  3. When the carrots cool a bit use a hand blender to coarsely puree the cooked carrots. 
  4. Add the carrots to the milk and continue to cook on medium heat, stirring often. Make sure the milk doesn't burn at the bottom of the pan. 
  5. In about 15-20 minutes the milk will thicken and form a pudding like consistency. Add the sugar (Adjust the quantity as per your taste). Mix and cook again on high this time for a few minutes constantly stirring. Stirring is important here as the heat is high and both sugar and milk can caramelize really fast. 
  6. When sugar is fully incorporated, remove from heat and add crushed cardamoms and chopped nuts. 
  7. Chill before serving. 

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