The Dussehra festival is one of the most widely observed festivals in the diverse country of India. It is celebrated differently across the country, however, some practices are common nationwide, such as observing a fast for the first few days during navratri, followed by enjoying grand feasts. These elaborate feasts are filled with Dussehra dishes that are prepared specially for the festival and are usually fatty and made using calorie-rich ingredients. However, preparing these dishes and enjoying them with loved ones is part of what makes the festival season so special.
Using all-natural ingredients and healthier/lighter substitutes is an easy way to make your cooking healthier this festival season. Here are some healthy recipes for classic Dussehra special foods for you to enjoy this Dussehra.
Buckwheat and Almond Halwa
Buckwheat and Almond halwa is a delicious, nutritious, and gluten-free dessert. Buckwheat is rich in antioxidants and is a good source of carbohydrates. Jaggery powder is a great natural substitute for artificial sugar, and organic ghee is full of heart-healthy fats and vitamins. Try out this gluten-free Dussehra recipe!
- 4 tbsp Organic Bilona Ghee
- ½ cup Buckwheat Flour
- ¼ cup Almonds
- ¼ cup water
- ⅓ cup Jaggery Powder
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- Boil the water in a large pan over medium heat, and add the buckwheat flour. Set aside after 5 minutes.
- Heat a kadhai over medium flame, and melt ghee in it. Stir in the buckwheat flour mix when the ghee is melted. Roast all ingredients until golden.
- Stir continuously until it is well mixed and no lumps are left. When the flour has absorbed the water well, add the jaggery powder and mix well. The caramelization will give the halwa a nice texture and aroma.
- Using the ladle or turner, scrape the sides of the kadhai so the halwa does not stick to the bottom.
- Once done, turn off the flame and add a dollop of ghee. Garnish with chopped almonds and enjoy!
Chana Dal Namkeen
Namkeen is a year-round classic snack, and there are special variations prepared during the festival season. This recipe is one of the best Dussehra special foods. The protein-rich chana dal becomes crunchy when prepared using the organic ghee, and also gets a flavor boost due to the ghee aroma. This recipe is very easy to prepare and is sure to be a hit amongst people of all ages.
- Soak the chana dal for 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Rinse the dal again 2-3 times, then spread it evenly on a kitchen towel or cotton cloth for 15-20 minutes to absorb the water and let it dry.
- Heat the ghee in a deep-bottomed pot and add the dal in batches to fry until golden brown/crisp. Remove the excess ghee with kitchen tissue.
- After all the dal is fried, add salt, chili powder, and amchur powder and mix well. Cool the mixture completely before serving!
This is the perfect recipe for Dussehra and it is gluten-free too! Buckwheat flour provides a healthy alternative to all-purpose flour and organic ghee is rich in healthy fats and good cholesterol.
- ½ cup Buckwheat Flour
- ½ cup Jaggery Powder
- ¼ cup Organic Bilona Ghee
- ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, powdered
- 10 Almonds, sliced
- Dry roast the buckwheat flour in a heavy-bottomed pan until golden brown. Allow cooling.
- Grease a flat plate with a little melted ghee and keep aside. Roast the almond slices in a little ghee and set aside.
- Combine the jaggery and a little water in a heavy-bottomed pan and heat over a low flame until the jaggery is dissolved. Now add the roasted flour and powdered cardamom and stir thoroughly.
- Stir continuously. Slowly add the rest of the melted ghee while stirring the mixture. When the mixture starts to leave the sides and bottom of the pan, turn off the heat. The mixture should be poured immediately onto the greased tray. Sprinkle the almonds on top and press gently.
- Let it cool for a few minutes and then cut into pieces. Allow them to cool completely. Enjoy!
This Indian sweet is traditionally prepared out of solidified, sweetened milk along with chhena or paneer. Jaggery powder provides a healthier alternative to artificial sugar. Kalakand is smooth, creamy, and granular in texture, and is the perfect Dussehra special food.
- 250g paneer, crumbled
- 400g sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbsp Jaggery Powder
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 7 strands of saffron
- 1 tsp rose water
- 7 pistachios, crushed
- 7 Almonds, crushed
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the sweetened condensed milk and crumbled paneer.
- To the mixture add jaggery powder, cardamom powder, and rose water. Stir the mixture on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- As the mixture reduces, it will thicken. The paneer crumbs should not be overcooked or they will become hard. Coat a dish with oil and pour the mixture evenly into it.
- Spread the coarsely chopped dry fruits evenly over the mixture after crumbling them. Add in the saffron strands.
- Using the back of a spoon, gently press the dry fruits into the mixture and even them out. Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- When it has cooled, cut it into squares or rectangles. You can also combine the leftover parts and shape them into rectangles, or just eat them as they are. It can be chilled or served at room temperature!
The festival season is an opportunity for us to spend time with our loved ones and enjoy delicious, celebratory dishes and sweets. These recipes use all-natural products, some of which are healthier alternatives to unhealthy ingredients like cooking oil and artificial sugar. This is why they are a great way to enjoy your favorite traditional foods without compromising on flavor. So this Dussehra, brush your cooking skills and delight your loved ones while also taking the first step towards a healthier lifestyle. Happy Dussehra!