The festive season is on and in India religious festivals are synonymous to fasting. So, while you are cleansing yourself of your past sins, it is also a great way to cleanse your body with a good diet. One ingredient that we come across on every fasting menu is sweet potato (kachalu/shakkarkand). Being a tuber it is allowed in most fast customs. What’s more is that it is the way super celebs like Madonna are losing weight! It is perfect to satisfy your carb cravings without much calories or worries!
Three reasons why you should definitely include these in your diet – vrat or no vrat!
• Sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, fried, broiled, canned or frozen. They can also be cooked in the microwave oven.
• Sweet potatoes are a great for health. When not eating food for long hours, it is important that the few foods we consume give us enough energy to go through the rest of the day. Sweet potatoes are ideal as they contain high amounts of Vitamin B6, C and D, iron, zinc and magnesium.
• Sweet potatoes also provide you with plenty of fibre, the insoluble fibres present in the skin produce roughage and the soluble fibers in the potato itself, slow down digestion and help to manage weight.
Fasting may be a time of limited ingredients, but that does not mean you have to eat boring food. We put together some awesome recipe ideas using this superfood, so you can turn your fast into a feast!
Sweet Potato Chips/Wedges - The slight sweet taste and mushy texture once you bite into a sweet potato chip provides a great contrast to the masala dusted crunchy outside! You can use rock salt and some chilli or black pepper powder n a dash of lemon juice may be! Another fab recipe you ought to try is a Kachalu and Fruit Chaat. Use any fruits you like, a few pieces of boiled cubed kachalu, sprinkle some black salt, a dash of lemon juice and cumin powder and your good to go! Soups are a great way to break a fast, because they are nutritious yet not too heavy on the stomach.
Try a sweet potato soup. Stir fry cubes of sweet potato and carrots in a pan with ghee till the veggies are soft. Blend to a fine puree, sieve if necessary. Bring it back to a boil, season with rock salt, pepper, cumin and you’ve got a wholesome meal ready.You can make a sweet potato kees – to make this you need to fry some grated sweet potatoes in ghee till they are soft. Then temper with cumin, green chillies, rock salt and a dash of lemon juice. These taste great with rajgira puris or rotis.
A puja is incomplete without kuch meetha, so try this recipe for an unusual kheer. Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan and reduce it till half. Add grated sweet potatoes, sugar, coconut and cardamom powder and cook for a six to eight minutes. Serve hot or cold.
Chef says – You can always pick a recipe and tweak it depending upon what you are allowed to eat during your fast as vrat ka khaana is different for different people!
So happy fasting or should we say happy feasting!
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.