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Observing a fast for purification of the body and soul during the auspicious Sharad Navratri, dedicated to Goddess Durga, is no longer such a tough or tedious experience. Embarking on a Saativk diet, devoid of certain foods for the 9 days of the festival, is a common practice among many. Yet, one need not subject one’s palate to monotony as, within the gamut of permissible foods there is a lot to choose from. Clever and healthy substitutes ensure variety in the nine days. Many restaurants in Mumbai offer a lavish spread in the form of a thali, which one can actually look forward to.
A regular hotspot for thalis, one can indulge in a special reasonably priced Navratri vrat or fasting thali, at any of their three outlets. This thali is a veritable feast of sorts, as there is an array of farsan, rotis, vegetables, salads, chutneys and sweets served. Farsan such as kachcha kela pattice, buckwheat or kuttu ke pakode and of course the quintessential fasting food, sabudana vada are among the delectable options. For mains, one can relish on sitaphal ki sabzi with rajgira puri or even a kuttu paratha with khatta meetha kaddu. Rice lovers can satiate themselves with aloo pulao samo or a simple samo rice. Delectable chaats such as sweet potato chaat or fruit chaat tease one’s taste buds and one can wash this down with a glass of the tangy and refreshing shikanji pudina chaas. Round off your meal with a sabudana kheer or a rajgira halwa.
Baluchi, The Lalit Mumbai
Relishing a Navratri thali for lunch or dinner, can be a fun way to enjoy the festival. Tamatar ka shorba with roasted makhanas, can be the perfect way to start one’s meal. Arbi anar ki tikki and shakarkandi ki chaat infuse variety as some of the unique starters, while dahi til ka aloo and vrat ke chawal ka pulao are parts of the interesting mains. Lauki ka halwa and makhana kheer are decadent sweets to satisfy one’s dessert cravings. The repertoire of what can be eaten during a fast, has obviously expanded and clearly, fasting food is no longer boring.
Lume at Hotel Aureole, Andheri East
The vrat or upvas (fasting) food although seemingly insipid, owing to certain restrictions, can be pepped up with use of spices and condiments. The thali here offers a wholesome meal option, with an assortment of robust flavours to appease every palate. Rajgira puri, suran sabzi, arbi cutlet, rajgira kadhi pakoda, date milkshake and a carrot and coconut payasam prove to be a filling treat for those fasting. Available from lunch time till 4 pm, this thali can be enjoyed after a round of frenzied dandiya, late at night as well.
Maya, Trident Mumbai BKC
An eclectic thali with myriad Navratri delicacies to choose from, for lunch and dinner here, offers traditional falahari farsaan to begin with. One can move on to creamy paneer kaju makahana and the flavourful water chestnut or singhare ki kadhi with samak khichdi. For lovers of Indian breads there are kuttu atte ka thepla and pooris. The grand finale to this thali is undoubtedly the kesari anjeer ki kheer.
Four Points by Sheraton, Navi Mumbai
The Navratri repast here is a medley of flavours and textures. As part of the elaborate thali for dinner, one can savour the popular South Indian snack sundal, or perhaps a healthy moong salad before tucking into the tandoori fruit tikka, sabudana khichdi and kofta curry. Of course, crisp banana chips provide the right amount of crunch in between. Coconut ladoo and carrot payasam or even perhaps a sweet lassi for dessert, is enough to satiate one’s taste buds.
So, fret not if you are fasting this Navratri as there are lots of thalis available in Mumbai to pamper your taste buds.
Food critic, features writer and columnist, Mini Ribeiro is a qualified Journalist, from IIMC New Delhi. She specialises in the Food & Beverage and Hospitality space. As an established food & beverage writer, Mini currently contributes to several leading English publications across the country – Asian Age, Hindustan Times, Sunday Financial Express, Hotelier India, Go Getter and Vistara inflight magazines and Rediff.com. She also has her own You Tube channel called Mini’s Food Fundas. Fond of cooking, Mini enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with various cuisines, with Indian regional food, being her favourite. She has recently started, a platform for home talent, called 'Flavours from Home', an initiative which aims to make women who are passionate about cooking, entrepreneurs.