Navratri is here and it is time for both celebrations and fasting. These auspicious 9 days are characterised by special indigenous cuisine for those who are fasting during the festival, to invoke the energy of the Goddess and purify their body and mind. Milk, fruits, flours like rajgira, buckwheat or kuttu, singhara or water chestnut are opted for over whole wheat, maida, besan and semolina when preparing "vrat ka khaana". Food during these days may mean abstinence from certain types of ingredients, but it is not as if one has to compromise on flavours. One can rev up one’s palate by preparing interesting dishes too and Chefs in Mumbai are doing just that. Here are my top 7 recommendations.
Lotus Café, JW Marriott Mumbai, Juhu
Lotus Café at the JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu offers a Navratri menu with dishes made with these special ingredients.
The “Vrat Ka Khaana” includes; Sabudana Khichdi, Kuttu Poori, Pethe Ki Subzi, Makhana Kheer and Samak Ke Chawal. Thoughtfully curated by 'Chef Alok Verma', using ingredients like sago or sabudana, rock salt or sendha namak, buckwheat flour or kuttu ka atta, water chestnut flour or singhare ka atta and certain vegetables, he has created a menu that is as wholesome and tasty as a traditional Indian menu would be.
Lume, Aureole Hotel, Andheri East
This eatery with a pleasing ambience and known for its global Vegetarian menu has some lip-smacking options this Navratri. An Aureole Special Grand Thali, an Aureole Special Jain Thali, a Special Farali Thali are what one can choose from. They also have in-house special Kulfis and Lassi to ensure everyone has a complete experience as they celebrate vegetarianism this season.
Masala Bay, Taj Lands End, Bandra
The ancient wisdom tells us that purity of thought is directly linked to the purity of food. So, as we step into the holy month of Navratri, Masala Bay is all set to weave in the secrets of the spirituality into our masala chapter moulded in the form of Satvik Bhojan, the food of the gods. The menu curated by 'Chef Maqbool Subhani', a connoisseur in Satvik cuisine, is a treat for the palate.
'Chef Saurabh Udinia', has specially curated a Navratri menu, maintaining a balance between Spicy and Tangy, yet seemingly subtle in flavour. The special ingredients that are allowed to be eaten during this fast have influenced Chef to create unique dishes like Sago Croquettes with Cucumber Ailo; Farali Pattice with Beetroot Coulis and Amarnath Pops; Tandoori Sakharkand with Nimbu Mirch Cream for starters.
This Navratri, try festive specials curated by 'Chef Milan Gupta' that include Bhunja Shakarkand Chaat -roasted sweet potato cubes marinated in rock salt, black salt and anardana, Pani Phal Sabu Tikki with sago pearls mashed with potatoes, stuffed with water chestnut. Relish Chatpatta Paneer Tikka and Falhari Pakoras. End your Falhari meal with the Bihari Makhana Kheer.
Navratri Special Satvik Thali
The Taftoon menu also features wholesome Satvik Thalis that will be a hearty combination of Sabudana Tikki, Falhari Lauki Ke Kofte, Aloo Tamatar Ki Sabzi, Kuttu Ke Ate Ki Puri, Samak Ke Chawal and more.
Aromas Cafe is all set to serve the ideal Navratri meal with a special menu. This exciting menu ensures it reflects an amalgamation of various flavours and colours served on a single plate. Starting with the first day that embraces the blue colour to the last day that gracefully ends with the colour pink. So while you enjoy a Royal Blue Drink the first day, you can gorge on Chickpeas and Coriander Nuggets on the third day when the theme is green and so on.
The Market Project by Pizza Express, Phoenix Market City, Kurla
One may not expect anything for Navratri at a place like this, but the chef here surprises you with offerings like Phirnee Tiramisu and Kulfi Falooda for dessert.
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.