Ratalu to Roesti: Mumbai chefs share gluten-free Navratri fasting recipes

The much-awaited festive season is around the corner. For individuals planning to fast throughout Navratri, abstaining from wheat and rice, which are commonly restricted during this time, can be quite a task. Whether you`re observing a fast for religious reasons or simply seeking a healthier way to celebrate, embracing gluten-free options can add a delightful twist to your Navratri cuisine.

Midday spoke to Mumbai-based chefs to discover gluten-free food alternatives that are packed with protein, antioxidants, fibre and vitamins. In this guide, we delve into delectable recipes to amplify your fasting days with flavour and nutrition.

Chefs share gluten-free recipes for Navratri fasting:

Chestnut Flour Pancakes

Chestnut flour, 1 cup
Sugar, 2 tablespoons
Baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon
Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
Milk, 1 cup
Vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
Melted butter, 2 tablespoons
Fresh berries and sweetened yoghurt for topping

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the chestnut flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined.
2. In a separate bowl, add the milk and vanilla extract. Mix well.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a smooth batter forms. If the batter appears too thick, you can add a little more milk to reach your desired consistency.
4. Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly grease it with some melted butter or oil.
5. Pour a ladleful of the chestnut flour batter onto the skillet to form a pancake. You can make them as small or as large as you prefer.
6. Cook until you see bubbles forming on the surface of the pancake and the edges appear set, typically 2-3 minutes.
7. Flip the pancake and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side until it`s golden brown.
8. Remove the pancake from the skillet and keep it warm. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
9. Serve the chestnut flour pancakes warm with your choice of toppings, such as fresh berries and sweetened yoghurt.

Recipe by Home-chef Raashi Gurnani, Mumbai

Crispy Purple Yam (Ratalu) Skin

Purple Yam (Ratalu), 250 grams
Peri Peri seasoning, 15 grams
Salt, 5 grams
Black pepper, 5 grams
Chilly powder, 10 grams
Vegetable oil, 20 ml

1. Wash the purple yam thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities.
2. Place the whole purple yam in a large pot of boiling water.
3. Boil the yam for about 20-25 minutes or until it`s partially cooked. You should be able to insert a knife easily, but it should still be somewhat firm.
4. Remove the yam from the boiling water and let it cool.
5. Once the yam is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin using a knife or your fingers. The skin should come off easily.
6. Slice the peeled purple yam into thin strips or rounds. The thinner they are, the crispier they will become when fried.
7. In a mixing bowl, combine the peri peri seasoning, salt, freshly ground black pepper and chilly powder.
8. Toss the sliced purple yam in the spice mixture until the yam pieces are well coated.
9. Drizzle the vegetable oil over the coated yam and toss again to evenly distribute the oil.
10. Allow the marinated yam slices to sit for at least 1-2 hours. This will allow the flavours to penetrate the yam and enhance its taste.
11. Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
12. Carefully add the marinated purple yam slices to the hot oil in batches. Ensure not to overcrowd the pan; the yam slices should have space to fry evenly.
13. Fry until the slices turn golden brown and crispy, which should take about 3-5 minutes per batch.
14. Use a slotted spoon to remove the crispy yam slices and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
15. Ratalu skins are ready to be served.

Recipe by Chef Hiren Mistry, Millo – Lower Parel

Lotus Seed and Mango Salad

Roasted makhana (Lotus seeds), 40 grams
Finely chopped raw mango, 80 grams
Diced tomato, 40 grams
Peri Peri powder, 7 grams
Vegetable oil, 30 ml

Chopped coriander leaves, 10 grams
Lemon juice, 5 ml
Salt, to taste

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the finely chopped raw mango, diced tomato, and peri peri powder. Mix them well to coat the mango and tomato with the spice.
2. Gently add the roasted Makhana to the bowl with the mango and tomato mixture. Toss everything together, ensuring the Makhana is evenly distributed among the fruits and coated with the peri peri powder.
3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, lemon juice and salt to make a simple dressing.
4. Pour the dressing over the mango, tomato, and Makhana mixture. Toss everything gently to ensure that the dressing coats all the ingredients evenly.
5. Sprinkle the chopped fresh coriander leaves over the salad. The coriander adds a burst of fresh flavour and colour to the dish.
6. You can choose to chill the salad in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes if you prefer it cold or serve it immediately.
Recipe by Chef Megha Datwani, Cafe Isvara – Khar

Rajgira Paratha

Rajgira (Amaranth) flour, 1 cup
Medium-sized boiled and mashed potatoes, 2
Finely chopped green chilies, 1-2
Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon
Sendha namak
Ghee or vegetable oil for cooking

1 In a mixing bowl, combine the Rajgira flour, mashed potatoes, chopped green chilies, cumin seeds and rock salt.
2 Gradually add water little by little and knead the mixture into a smooth, soft dough. The mashed potatoes will help bind the dough.
3 Divide the dough into equal-sized portions to make small balls, similar to the size of a lemon.
4 Take one dough ball and flatten it slightly with your palms. Place it between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper to prevent sticking.
5 Gently roll out the dough ball into a circular paratha, about 6-7 inches in diametre. Use a rolling pin for this purpose.
6 Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
7 Once hot, carefully transfer the rolled-out paratha onto the skillet. Cook for about a minute or until small bubbles appear on the surface.
8 Flip the paratha using a spatula and cook the other side. Apply a small amount of ghee or vegetable oil on both sides to make it crisp and golden brown.
9 Repeat the rolling and cooking process for the remaining dough balls.
10 Serve the Rajgira parathas hot with your choice of fasting chutney or yoghurt.

Recipe by Chef Deepa Awchat, Diva Maharashtra


Red potatoes, 500 grams
Salt, 10 grams
Black pepper, 10 grams
Vegetable oil, 15 ml

1 Wash and peel the red potatoes.
2 Grate the potatoes using a fine grater. Ensure you remove as much excess water as possible from the grated potatoes by squeezing them gently in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
3 In a mixing bowl, combine the grated potatoes with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well to evenly distribute the seasoning.
4 Allow the seasoned potato mixture to rest for about an hour at room temperature. This will help the potatoes absorb the flavours and remove any excess moisture.
5 Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Make sure the oil is hot but not smoking.
6 Carefully transfer the potato mixture into the hot pan, spreading it out evenly with a spatula to form a round or oval shape, depending on your preference.
7 Press down gently on the potato mixture to compact it into the pan.
8 Let the potato mixture cook undisturbed for about 10-12 minutes or until the bottom side turns golden brown and crispy.
9 Once the bottom is nicely browned, carefully flip the roesti using a large plate or lid.
10 Slide the roesti onto the plate, then place the pan back over the roesti. Invert the pan so that the uncooked side is now facing down in the pan.
11 Continue cooking for another 10-12 minutes or until the other side is golden brown and crispy as well.
12 Once both sides are beautifully crispy and golden, remove the roesti from the pan.
13 Place it on a cutting board and cut it into small wedges or slices.

Recipe by Chef Hiren Mistry, Millo – Lower Parel

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