South Indian Navratri Recipes

Navratri Festival is one of the most auspicious and grand festivals dedicated to Goddess Durga and her many forms. It is celebrated all over India in different ways, but with a lot of devotion, festivity and fanfare. This year, it begins on September 26 and end on October, 5 with Dussehra. I have specially created this post to share some of the most popular and some unique South Indian Navratri Recipes. This will help you to decide on a delicious menu during this festival.

south indian navratri recipes collection

Navratri made of 2 words, ‘nava’ and ‘ratri’ literally translates to ‘nine nights.’ People also observe fasts or vrats in order to devote themselves completely in the bhakti or worship of Durga Maa. Another unique feature about this festival is that there are 4 seasonal variations of it. The most important one is the Sharada Navratri that falls after monsoon season.

Significance of Navratri Festival

Navratri Festival is the celebration of the victory of good over evil. This is signified by Goddess Durga fighting and winning over the demon Mahishasura. Thus, these nights and days are dedicated in the worship of Durga Maa and Navadurga – her 9 avatars. While it is celebrated in North India majorly by fasting, other rituals are observed in other regions of India.

In West Bengal, Assam and Odisha, it is known as Durga Puja and may not necessarily involve fasting. The celebrations also begin from the 6th day, known as ‘shoshti.’ It ends on the 10th day with Bijoya Dashami, also known as Vijayadashami or Dussehra.

Navratri Festival in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab involve singing of religious songs (jagrans) in the nights. It ends with a unique ceremony called ‘kanjika.’ Here, 9 young girls (representing Maa Durga’s 9 forms) and a boy are worshipped and honored with money, gifts, food like chana, puri and halwa. In Himachal Pradesh, the festival actually begins on the 10th day (when it ends for other states) as Kullu Dussehra.

In West India, it is a bright and colorful affair in Gujarat, with people worshipping Ambe Maa and observing fast for 9 days. On the other hand, Maharashtrians consider Navratri as ‘new beginnings.’ Thus, many business and property deals are made during this time.

However, South Indians don’t really observe fasting on this festival. But do prepare food without onion and garlic and worship deities with various dishes ranging from sundals to sweets as prasadam. I have compiled a list of some really delicious and festive South Indian Navratri Recipes in this post.

Food in Navratri Festival

Just like the variety in rituals related to Navratri Festival that chance from region to region in India, same is the case with foods too. For some, this festival essentially means fasting and keeping vrats. So, special kind of food are prepared while doing so. For others, it is a time to give in to revelries and enjoyment, so another kind of foods are made to cater to that.

For instance, North Indians believe in rigorous fasting during these 9 days and do not consume rice, legumes, onion, garlic, etc. Whereas, Bengalis may also prefer some non-vegetarian dishes that becomes a part of the food rituals during this festival. This also depends on which form of Goddess Durga you are worshipping.

If you follow the North Indian Navratri with fasting, then refer to this collection of Navratri Fasting Recipes and also this handy guide about Navratri Vrat Rules that explains the important facts and details about Navratri pooja vidhis.

On the other hand, South Indians need not necessarily observe vrats or fasts but still cook food without onion and garlic during Navratri Festival. Also, Navratri for a South India essentially means worshipping Goddesses Durga, as well as Lakshmi and Saraswati too. So, this post is for the South Indian way of Navratri Festival where its more about celebrations, unlike fasting for North Indians.

South Indian Navratri Recipes

As I have been mentioning earlier here, one golden rule to keep in mind for this is to prepare food without any onion or garlic in it. Even if any of the mentioned preparations in this South Indian Navratri Recipes list have these, kindly omit or skip adding them. Also, most of these recipes can be easily made and really don’t require hours and hours in the kitchen.

This South Indian Navratri Recipes collection also ranges from dishes that are salted, savory and sweet too. It begins with the popular sundals, which is basically dry legume or lentil-based dish, which is spiced and tempered with typical South Indian ingredients and coconut. The method of making all these sundals are more or less similar.

These sundals are followed with a list of scrumptious snack recipes, tasty rice recipes and the most loved sweet recipes. The dessert section consists of ladoo, halwa, payasam and other sweets.

Sundal Recipes

top shot of Black Channa Sundal served in a white bowl on a wooden table.
Moderate 8 hrs 35 mins

Black Channa Sundal (Kondakadalai Sundal)

Black Channa Sundal also known as Kondakadalai Sundal is a South Indian recipe of a sautéed dry dish made with black chickpeas, herbs, spices and coconut.
chana sundal served in areca bowls.
Moderate 35 mins

Sundal Recipe | Channa Sundal | Chickpea Sundal

Sundal is a stir-fried dish made with different types of lentils, legumes even grains from the cuisine of Tamil Nadu. This Channa Sundal has white chickpeas, spices and a good dose of freshly grated coconut. This dish is vegan and quite healthy too.
rajma sundal recipe, red kidney beans sundal recipe
Moderate 8 hrs 35 mins

Rajma Sundal

Rajma sundal is a South Indian recipe of a no onion no garlic sautéed kidney beans with spices and coconut.
green peas sundal recipe, pattani sundal recipe
Easy 8 hrs 30 mins

Pattani Sundal | Green Peas Sundal

Pattani Sundal is a South Indian preparation made with dried green peas that are cooked first and tempered with spices, herbs and later finished with fresh coconut.
sweet corn sundal recipe, corn sundal recipe
20 mins

Sweet Corn Sundal

Easy recipe of South Indian sweet corn sundal. sundals are South Indian based dishes made with a variety of legumes and is prepared during Ganesh Chaturthi or Navratri festival.
chana dal sundal recipe, kadalai paruppu sundal recipe
1 hr 35 mins

Chana Dal Sundal

Chana dal sundal is tempered & sautéed dry dish made with cooked chana dal, few spices and fresh coconut. Chana dal sundal is also called as kadalai paruppu sundal where 'kadalai paruppu' is the tamil word for chana dal.

Snacks Recipes

ulundu vadai recipe, medhu vadai recipe, urad dal vada recipe
9 hrs 30 mins

Ulundu Vadai (Uddina Vada)

These Uddina Vada are crisp and tasty fried black grams donuts shaped fritters. A popular South Indian snack.
bonda recipe, veg bonda recipe, vegetable bonda recipe
1 hr

veg bonda

Vegetable bonda recipe is deep fried snack of stuffed mix veggies coated with gram flour batter.
overhead shot of white plate having halved mysore bonda showing the fluffy texture on top of remaining bonda next to a side of light green coconut chutney
Moderate 8 hrs 30 mins

Mysore Bonda Recipe

Mysore bonda also known as Mysore Bajji is a popular South Indian snack made with lentils, fresh herbs and vibrant spices. The ingredients are combined to create a thick batter, and are then deep fried to make crisp, soft and fluffy fritters.
closeup shot of a stack of sabudana vada on top of each other in a white plate with red chilli sauce in a white bowl
Moderate 5 hrs 30 mins

Sabudana Vada (Authentic Traditional Recipe)

Sabudana Vada is a popular savory deep fried snack made during Hindu fasting days, featuring tapioca pearls (sago), potatoes, peanuts and herbs. They are naturally gluten-free and vegan. This fool proof sabudana vada recipe gives you a super delicious crispy vada with a soft and light interior.
bonda recipe, aloo bonda recipe, potato bonda recipe
1 hr

Aloo Bonda

This potato bonda is a fried tea time snack from the South Indian cuisine. Aloo bonda is made with gram flour & rice flour batter & stuffed with spiced mashed potato filling.
chakli kept on a white plate on a green background
Moderate 1 hr 15 mins

Chakli Recipe

Chakli is a deep-fried snack made from rice flour, gram flour, wheat flour or a mixture of lentil flours. Make this crispy and crunchy snack for Diwali festival. 
rava pongal recipe
30 mins

Rava Pongal

Rava Pongal is a healthy and delicious breakfast recipe of Pongal made with rava and moong dal.

Rice Recipes

curd rice garnished with chopped coriander leaves, fresh pomegranate arils and fried sun dried chili and served in a wooden bowl.
20 mins

Curd Rice

Curd rice or thayir sadam is a popular South Indian rice variety that is served with a South Indian meal or South Indian thali. This curd rice recipe is my go to method and one I often make as it is a favorite with my family. Vegan yogurt made from cashew milk, almond milk or coconut milk can be used instead of dairy curd.
tamarind rice recipe, puliyodharai recipe
1 hr

Tamarind Rice

Puliyodharai is a popular South Indian recipe of sour and spiced rice.
Easy 20 mins

Sweet Pongal | Sakkarai Pongal

Sweet Pongal or sakkarai pongal is a creamy, sweet festive dish made with rice, mung lentils, jaggery and flavored with cardamoms, dry fruits and ghee.
ven pongal garnished with a cashew and curry leaves and served on a white plate.
Easy 25 mins

Ven Pongal Recipe

Ven Pongal also known as Khara Pongal is a popular South Indian porridge that is made with rice, yellow moong lentils and laced with the wonderful flavors of spices, herbs and ghee.
overheat shot of coconut rice topped with two fried curry leaves and cashew bits in a blue rimmed white bowl on a dark blue wooden tray
Moderate 40 mins

Coconut Rice Recipe

Coconut rice is a light, tasty, savory South Indian rice variant made with fresh grated coconut, lentils, herbs and spices. This nutty and mild rice based dish is also known as Thengai Sadam in Tamil language. The recipe is vegan and for a gluten-free version, easily skip adding asafetida.
yellow colored lemon rice served in a white bowl on a white cotton cloth
Easy 25 mins

Lemon Rice Recipe | Chitranna Recipe

Lemon Rice also known as Chitranna or Nimmakaya Pulihora is a crunchy, flavorful and tangy rice dish that is easy to make and tastes so good. Fresh lemon juice, fried nuts, fragrant herbs and spices combine perfectly to give this steamed rice an amazing spicy, tangy and nutty flavor.

Ladoo Recipes

sunnundalu or urad dal laddu served on a white plate.
Moderate 17 mins

Sunnundalu Recipe | Urad Dal Laddu

Sunnundalu is a special and unique Andhra festive sweet made with urad dal (black gram), ghee and sugar or jaggery. These protein rich treats are tasty and keeps well for a few days at room temperature.
til ladoo recipe, sesame seeds ladoo recipe
Difficult 20 mins

Til ke Laddu

Til ke laddu is a healthy, delicious, and nutty ladoo prepared with sesame seeds, jaggery, peanuts, and desiccated coconut. A vegan recipe and also a Makar Sankranti festival special sweet.
moong dal laddu served on a white plate.
Moderate 17 mins

Moong Dal Laddu

Moong Dal Laddu are nutty sweet balls made with moong lentils, ghee, sugar and flavored with green cardamoms. These Moong Dal Ladoo are quite addictive too.
badam ladoo recipe, almond ladoo recipe
10 mins

badam ladoo

Badam laddu are quick, easy and tasty ladoos made with almonds, jaggery and raisins.
peanut ladoo served on a white plate.
Moderate 15 mins

Peanut Laddu (Shengdana Ladoo)

Peanut Laddu is an easy 2 ingredient recipe of delicious and protein rich balls made with roasted peanuts and jaggery.
aval laddu recipe, poha laddu recipe, atukula laddu recipe
15 mins

aval laddu

Aval laddu are delicious ladoo made with thick poha (flattened rice or parched rice), jaggery and ghee.
dry fruit ladoo placed on a white plate on a yellow napkin
Easy 20 mins

Dry fruits Laddu

Easy Dry fruits laddu recipe without any added sugar or fats like ghee or oil. Packed with nutrients, good fats and fibre, these energy balls are made with dates, figs and various nuts. Dry fruit laddu recipe gets done quickly and comes together under 20 minutes.
coconut ladoo placed in a circle and in the center on a white plate on a red table
Moderate 15 mins

Coconut Ladoo | Nariyal ke Laddu (3 Variations)

Make coconut ladoo with three recipes. The first one is a quick 3 ingredient recipe made with fresh coconut, milkmaid and cardamom powder. The second recipe has 2 ingredients – desiccated coconut and condensed milk. The third recipe is made with desiccated coconut and sugar.
maladu recipe, maa ladoo recipe
Easy 12 mins

Maladu Recipe

Maladu or maa laddu (pottukadalai ladoo) is quick South Indian recipe of ladoo made from roasted gram or roasted chana dal. Maladu is made with just 3 main ingredients – roasted gram flour, ghee and sugar.
rava ladoo in a circle with lit earthern lamp in center on a bronze plate
Moderate 30 mins

Rava Laddu | Suji Ke Laddu | Rava Ladoo

An easy method to make rava laddu for Diwali or any festival. This rava ladoo also known as suji ke laddu is made with rava (sooji or semolina), coconut, powdered sugar, dry fruits and ghee.
besan ke laddu, besan ladoo
Moderate 30 mins

Besan Ladoo | Besan ke Laddu

Besan Ladoo or Besan ke Laddu is a popular Indian sweet made during festivals. These are round sweet balls made with gram flour a.k.a besan, powdered sugar and clarified butter (ghee).
murmura ladoo recipe, pori urundai recipe
20 mins

pori urundai

Pori urundai is a crunchy, crisp, light, delicious, easy ladoo recipe which gets ready in minutes made with puffed rice. Also known as murmura laddu and puri unde.

Halwa, Payasam & Other Sweets Recipes

paal payasam garnished with dried rose petal chiffonade in a brass bowl with text layovers.
Moderate 1 hr

Paal Payasam | Rice Payasam

Paal Payasam is a simple South Indian variant of a slow cooked rice pudding made with only 4 ingredients. This recipe is of a typical Tamil style Rice Payasam that is creamy and delicious.
carrot payasam recipe, carrot kheer recipe
Moderate 40 mins

Carrot Payasam

Carrot payasam is a creamy and smooth payasam made with carrots, jaggery and coconut milk.
closeup shot of kesari served in dark green plate
Moderate 25 mins

Kesari Recipe

Rava kesari is a delicious melt in the mouth sweet made with rava or suji (semolina), ghee, dry fruits and saffron. It is a popular South Indian sweet and can be easily made in less time. 
suji halwa recipe
Easy 15 mins

Suji ka Halwa | Sheera Recipe

Suji ka halwa or Sheera is a classic Indian semolina pudding made with sugar, ghee and dry fruits. The recipe I have shared is a family heirloom recipe. We have been making this suji halwa recipe for decades during family get togethers, special occasions & festivals. The sooji halwa recipe can be easily halved, doubled or tripled.
banana halwa
Moderate 20 mins

Banana Halwa | Banana Sheera

Banana Halwa or Banana Sheera is delish sweet pudding made with semolina or cream of wheat, bananas, sugar, dry fruits and is often made as a prasad for Ganesh Puja, Satyanarayan Puja, Devi Puja or for any auspicious occasion.
sabudana kheer recipe
Easy 35 mins

Sabudana Kheer

Sabudana kheer is a sweet pudding made with tapioca pearls or sabudana, milk and sugar.
pumpkin kheer recipe, kaddu ki kheer recipe
Moderate 40 mins

Kaddu ki Kheer (Pumpkin Kheer)

Kaddu ki kheer or pumpkin kheer is a flavorsome, easy to prepare, traditional sweet dish with pumpkin.
rava kesari with milk, kesari recipe with milk, rava milk kesari recipe
30 mins

Rava Kesari With Milk

This Milk Rava Kesari is an easy to prepare delicious kesari variety made with milk, semolina (rava), sugar and dry fruits.
fruit kesari recipe
25 mins

Fruit Kesari

Fruit kesari is a rich South Indian sweet made with cream of wheat, mixed fruits and dry fruits.
pineapple kesari recipe
Moderate 15 mins

Pineapple Kesari | Pineapple Halwa | Pineapple Sheera

Pineapple Kesari also known as Pineapple Sheera or Pineapple Halwa is a delicious, melt in the mouth sweet made with rava or suji (semolina or cream of wheat), fresh pineapple, sugar, ghee and nuts.
semiya kesari recipe
25 mins

Semiya Kesari

Semiya kesari is a delicious sweet made with semiya, dry fruits and ghee.
sweet kozhukattai
1 hr 20 mins

sweet kozhukattai

Sweet kozhukattai is a South Indian recipe variation of modak made with a stuffing of chana dal, coconut and jaggery.
banana appam recipe, banana paniyaram recipe
Moderate 50 mins

Sweet Appam | Banana Appam

Sweet appam recipe made with ripe bananas, rice flour and jaggery. Also known as the Banana Appam or Banana Paniyaram these are an easy to make South Indian sweet snack.
wheat appam recipe, sweet paniyaram recipe with wheat flour, instant wheat paniyaram recipe
35 mins

Wheat Appam

These are instant appams made with whole wheat flour, jaggery and bananas.
yereyappa recipe, karnataka rice appams recipe, sweet appams recipe
4 hrs 25 mins

Yereyappa Recipe

Yereyappa is a Karnataka special traditional navrathri sweet dish

This South Indian Navratri Recipes post from the archives first published in October 2016 has been updated and republished on 27 September 2022.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi. Mam. One type of sweet puri is made in Maharashtra. Made from Rava If possible plz share that recipe.

    1. i will try to add. i think you are referring to sanjori. have noted down the recipe request.

  2. wow.. very nice array of navaratri recipes. We, south Indians, make pori urundais for Kaarthigai deepam, which comes in December. I was surprised to see it here..