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This post was prepped during Navratras when it was supposed to get uploaded but due to some tech issue, I am able to upload it today. While I began prepping for this post, I realised that there aren’t many posts here that are related to Navratri, a period of fasting for nine days in Hindu calendar where many people abstain from using onion, garlic and grains in their food. Navratri in Hindi translates to nine nights and nine forms of mother shakti (female form and power), namely Durga, Bhadrakali, Jagadamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika or Tara, are worshiped through out india.The navratra occur apparently five times in a year but mainly two of them are observed especially in north India i.e. chaitra navratri which falls in March/April and sharad navratri which falls in October/November.  Of the two, sharad navratri is the one which is celebrated with lot of fervour and festivities across the country in different forms and ways.

During this period, people abstain from using wheat, rice, maize, semolina, grams, pulses, legumes and instead switch over to using buckwheat (kuttu), water chestnut flour (singhare ka aata), barn yard millet (sawankh or samvat ke chawal), fox nuts (makhane), amaranth, tapioca pearls/ sago (sabudana) besides including veggies like potatoes, pumpkins, sweet potato (shakarkand), indian yam (jiikand, oal, suran) and colocassia (arbi/ arvi) and raw green banana in their diet. Fruits are consumed for snacking and there is no restriction on milk and milk products. Sendha namake or rock salt to used to prepare food. And certain inclusion or exclusion of certain foods varies from region to region. Some people use flaxseeds during this time and some don’t, some consume sour foods while others abstain from it.

Keeping in mind the diet restrictions, I have tried to devise a navratri friendly recipe for these pumpkin patties. I have used flax seeds and quinoa which is a pseudo cereal; rather quinoa is seeds that are part of the family as amaranth. I purchased them recently on my holiday to US and what better time to begin using them than the auspicious navratra! And they turned out to be super scrumptious with the quinoa adding a nice bite to them.

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250 gm Pumpkin

1 scant Cup Quinoa

1 C Water

2 tbsp Flaxseed powder

4 tbsp Almond flour

2 – 3 tbsp Water chestnut flour (if fasting, else you can use rice flour)

2 tsp Green chili, chopped (adjust to taste)

2 tbsp + 1 tsp Madras curry powder

½ tsp Red Chilli powder

Salt to taste

Oil to shallow fry

(I usually roast the pumkpkin and cook the quinoa a day before I intend to make these patties)

Wash and thickly slice the pumpkin removing the inside pulp and seeds. Line the baking sheet with aluminium foil or parchment paper and arrange the slices. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes (depending how thick you have sliced the pumpkin) at 180 degrees C. Cool and remove the outer thick skin and mash the pumpkin with the back of a fork or potato masher. Keep aside.

While the pumpkin is roasting, wash and rinse the quinoa 2 – 3 times in water. Drain water and set aside. Add 1 tsp of curry powder, half a teaspoon salt and drained quinoa to the 1 cup of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat. Remove the pot from heat, cover the pot and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. (if there is excess water, simply strain it)

Add the cooled quinoa to mashed pumpkin and mix in the rest of ingredients except the oil of course. Gently mix together everything and make patties. Refrigerate  the patties for 15 minutes.

Heat the pan and a little oil. When the oil is hot, carefully transfer the patties to the pan and fry on medium high heat for approximately 45 seconds to a minute. Check for the color of the patties. They should be nicely browned (be careful so as not to burn them) and crisp.

Remove on an absorbent sheet and serve hot with chutney or tomato ketchup or dip of your choice.

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UPDATE: 27 Oct 2016 – I was given the feedback that the patties turned out too soft. I recommend you increase the amount of rice flour by a few tablespoons and also add breadcrumbs to help bind the batter. Also, refrigerate the batter (or patties) for half an hour to 45 minutes before you fry or bake them. OR you can reduce the amount of pumpkin puree by two third or one third, depending on how soft or firm you like the texture of these patties

Note: Do not add any water to the pumpkin at any stage of prepping else the batter will be loose

Note: If you swap quinoa with amaranth and if you are not fasting for navratras, swap the quinoa with daliya (cracked wheat or bulgur)

Note: Feel free to add a teaspoon of ginger garlic paste (i.e. if you are not fasting for Navratras). Ditto for bread crumbs. They will certainly yield crispier cutlets/ patties .

Note: In case you wish to bake the patties, brush a baking sheet with some oil and also brush the patties with oil. Bake them for 15 – 20 minute at 180 degrees till golden brown.

Note: You can make bigger size of patties and use them for your burger.

Yield – 12 – 15 (depending on size) small patties OR 6 – 7 large patties for burger

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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