Hariyali Teej, a Hindu religious and cultural festival is widely celebrated across North India in the month of Sawan (July – August). During this important occasion, women in the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar go all out to enjoy the festivities.
Colorful attires that brighten the atmosphere and mouth-watering sweets like ghevar make this festival even more memorable. But the most important part of this festival is the observance of rigorous fasting for wish-fulfilment. Celebrated in the honour of the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, fasting on Teej holds an exalted position. It’s the only time when the symbols associated with marriage and auspiciousness can be seen everywhere. Women dress up in their traditional best preferably, in green and wear bangles, put on mehndi (henna). They also beautify themselves with the customary solah sringaar.
Scriptures say that Goddess Parvati had undertaken strict penance and took 108 births to attain Lord Shiva as her husband. Hence, on Teej, women across India, follow the same tradition of fasting for obtaining a suitable marriage partner. After a daylong fasting, women present fresh fruits and green vegetables as offerings to the goddesses. Later, they perform a ritual in which a beautifully decorated coconut is passed in a circle amongst female relatives. In the late even breaking, women partake in the fast-breaking ritual. The feast is an all- vegetarian affair and women who observed the fast along with their families enjoy an array of homemade delicacies like ghewar, rabdi, coconut water, jaggery, rice, dal, vegetable curry and much more.
Here are some healthy traditional dishes which you can incorporate in your menu this Teej.
Kacche Kele Ki Tikki: ‘Kacche kele ki tikki’ is a well-known snack from Uttar Pradesh and is an Awadhi dish. ‘Kacche kele ki tikki’ is a delectable starter dish to end your fast at a high. This dish is generally accompanied by rotis or basmati rice. Made of raw bananas, the tikkis have a high amount of starch and pectin, both of which have been linked to numerous health benefits. Most of the starches of raw banana are turned into sugar as the bananas ripen. These essential components found in raw bananas can provide a number of health benefits including controlling blood sugar levels and improving digestion
Ananas Panna: Sweet and tangy ananas panna, loaded with the goodness of fresh pineapples and lime juice, cumin powder and black salt is a drink packed with nutrients. The antioxidants treat inflammation and various health issues while quenching your thirst. Pineapple has been linked to several health benefits like better digestion, improved immunity and speeding up recovery after an illness or surgery. Furthermore, pineapples have minimal calories but comprise of an incredible nutrient profile of fats, proteins, carbs, vitamin C, B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron and many other vital nutrients.
Mix Dal Sorbha: ‘Mixed dal shorba’ is a tasty yet healthy soup, made from split green gram (moong dal) and split Bengal gram, which can be enjoyed with plain tawa chapatti. It’s a powerhouse of protein, dietary fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients including several B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, folate and zinc. Also, these dals are considered helpful in fighting against various chronic and old-age related problems, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity. Moreover, such plant-based foods have numerous health benefits like lowering inflammation.
Dahi Paneer: A mouth-watering dish, made with a number of Indian spices in a curd-based gravy. Curd (dahi), is a popular probiotic product that helps in reducing the risk of heart issues, osteoporosis and promoting weight management as well. Another main ingredient paneer too provides many health benefits due to its nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, carbs, fat, vitamin A and D which helps in promoting healthy bones, immune system, better digestion and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Mango Raita: Mango raita is exactly what we require to wash down a heavy meal. Raita being a probiotic dish, will definitely help you digest the food and hence easily promote gut health. Mango too has incredible nutritional benefits like curing anemia, acne, promoting brain health, immunity and delay aging. The juicy fruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, C, B6, potassium, magnesium, copper, beta-carotene, quercetin, and astragalin.
Apple Kheer: Every Indian festival is incomplete without kheer. So, here’s the most loved Indian dessert with a fruity and nutty makeover. This recipe gives a refreshing twist to the traditional Indian kheer by adding the richness of apples. So, this Teej, add a punch of apples and nuts in the traditional rice kheer which none will be able to resist. Apples are a rich source of polyphenols- a plant compound responsible for many of the health benefits, something that is rarely mentioned when talked about the nutritional values of apples. They also have prebiotic effects that encourage healthy gut bacteria. Research has shown that antioxidants in apples may protect your brain in the old age.
Try adding one or more of these wonderful recipes for the upcoming Teej festival. They will surely help make your day while replenishing your body with adequate nourishment, necessary after a daylong fast. Stay healthy while enjoying nature’s bounty and the colourful festivities to the fullest on Teej.
The writer is the founder and chief dietician, Nmami Life