The nine nights of Navratri are filled with devotion and reverence. A celebration of Shakti (power), the Hindu festival has a deep religious significance. This year, the festival begins on March 28 and concludes on April 5.
Those observing the festival usually fast during Navratri, and on each day, devotees pay their respects to a different form of Goddess Durga. From flour to herbs, spices, vegetables and other ingredients, the vrat (fasting) food is specific to the festival. After the puja every morning, the diet of devotees consists of consuming fruits or liquids once a day. Later in the day, they have one meal prepared taking extra care of the specific ingredients.
Feast on the festival with these three quirky recipes by Vaibhav Bhargava, the executive sous chef at Sheraton, New Delhi.
1. MARINATED TOFU STEAK WITH BUCKWHEAT NOODLES
Recipe Time: 30 mins
Preparation Time: 45 mins
200g — Marinated tofu
100g — Buckwheat noodles (raw)
50g — Broccoli
20ml — Soya sauce
20ml — Mirin
20ml — Water
10g — Ginger
10g — Radish
10g — Cherry tomato
30g — Peanut butter
50g — Honey
10g — Miso paste
10g — Butter
2 g — Pepper
10g — Tonkatsu sauce
2 — Edible flowers
* Marinate the tofu with peanut sauce.
* To make the peanut sauce, in a pan add oil and add peanut butter, honey and miso. Mix well and keep aside.
* Marinate the tofu steak for 30 mins and keep in the refrigerator.
* Blanch the buckwheat noodles in the boiling water as per instructions.
* Make the sauce with soya, mirin, water, ginger and radish.
* Blanch the vegetables. Sauté them in butter and pepper and keep aside.
* Soak the buckwheat noodles in the sauce made above for 10 mins.
* Set the oven at 220 degrees F and cook the tofu steak for 15 mins.
* Arrange the tofu and soba as shown in the pic and arrange some butter tossed vegetables with it.
* Garnish with sesame seed and tonkatsu sauce and edible flower.
2. KIMCHI SOBA SALAD
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
150g — Soba noodles
200g — Cabbage kimchi
10g — Kimchi juice
5g — Korean red chili pepper paste
5ml — Soy sauce
10ml — Honey
5g — Sugar
10ml — Rice wine or apple cider vinegar
5ml — Sesame oil
To garnish — Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
* Bring a medium pot of water to a boil while preparing the kimchi sauce.
* Add all the ingredients — kimchi juice, red chili pepper paste, soy sauce, honey, sugar and rice wine — into a bowl and mix well. Thinly slice the kimchi and place it into the bowl with the sauce.
* Add the soba noodles to the pot of boiling water. Cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions (about 4 mins).
* Drain rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Rinse until the soba noodles become cold. Drain well.
* Divide soba noodles and top with kimchi sauce. Roll the soba noodles like a roll in cabbage. Garnish with sesame seeds (optional).
3. ZARU SOBA
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
90g — Soba noodles
50ml — Dipping sauce
50ml — Shiitake mushroom water
30g — Mirin or sugar
5g — Veg broth powder
5g — Wasabi paste
5g — Kizami nori (seaweed)
5g — Shredded nori (seaweed)
10g — Daikon grated
* Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the soba noodles to the boiling water. Cook for 3-4 mins. Remove from heat and drain. Rinse the soba noodles with cold water.
* Add ice cubes to help chill the soba noodles and continue running cold water over it to ensure they are cold.
* Drain and set aside to make the dipping sauce.
* To make the dipping sauce, combine the shiitake mushroom water or dashi, broth powder and mirin or sugar and mix thoroughly.
* To eat Zaru soba, mix a little of the wasabi and spring onion and daikon into the dipping sauce. Dunk soba noodles and seaweed into the sauce and slurp the soba noodles while savoring the delicate sweet and salty sauce flavors.