|Before We Get Started|
In India, people who want to can have a Vrat (fast) almost seven days of the week! Besides the weekly fasts, there are innumerable occasions like Pooran maasi (full moon), Amavasya (no moon) and Ekadashi (11th day), to name just a few! Most of these fasts are non-cereal and salt free. But that does not necessarily make them boring. Contrary to this, my quest into the Vrat world, has led me to discover the range of recipes available to us from regional cuisine’s, like Gujerati Kadhi, Dhokla, Chaat Paapri and many more, thus making Vrats or fast more fun!
Phalahaar i.e. non-cereal food, is what is eaten when fasting. Essentially, this means non-cereal food, which means no lentils or grains. Also the salt used is restricted to Sendha/Lahori namak (rock salt). As for the masaalas and vegetables allowed, different homes have different rules. When I set out to write this book, I wanted to confirm from staunch practitioners of Vrats, about the do’s and don’ts, but was left confused. Broadly speaking haldi, heeng and amchoor are the ‘no-no’ item. So I decided to give you a range of recipes and you can omit any masala that is taboo in your home.
Again, most people stick to just a few root vegetables, like Kaddu, Aloo, Arbi etc., though a few eat greens too. I have added a section on vegetable like Ghiya / Lauki and Torai for the people who do fast but are less restrictive about it.
There was a time when only Ghee was used and no oil. Of course, now people are more practical. Gone are the days when the whole kitchen was washed clean, or a fresh layer of mud painted on (when this food was made only on mitti ka choolahs0, before the Vrat Ka Khaana was cooked.