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 in 2023, Sharada Navratri begins on October 15 and ends on October 24 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 hours 35 minutes

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 minutes

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 hours 35 minutes

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 hours 30 minutes

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 minutes

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
Moderate 1 hour 35 minutes

Chana Dal Sundal | Kadalai Paruppu 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 hours 30 minutes

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 hour

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 hours 30 minutes

Mysore Bonda | Mysore Bajji | 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 hours 30 minutes

Sabudana Vada Recipe (Traditional Fasting 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 hour

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 hour 15 minutes

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 minutes

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.
Moderate 20 minutes

Curd Rice Recipe | Daddojanam | Thayir Sadam

Curd Rice also called Thayir Sadam or Daddojanam is a popular and traditional South Indian preparation where cooked rice is mixed with curd (yogurt) and tempered with spices, herbs. It is a staple in many South Indian households and is also made during Hindu festivals.
tamarind rice recipe, puliyodharai recipe
Moderate 1 hour

Tamarind Rice | Puliyodharai Recipe

Puliyodharai is a popular South Indian recipe of sour and spiced rice.
Moderate 20 minutes

Sweet Pongal | Festive Sakkarai Pongal | Chakkara Pongal

Sweet Pongal also called Sakkarai Pongal or Chakkara Pongal in South Indian languages, is a creamy, sweet festive preparation of rice, moong lentils, jaggery and flavored with green cardamoms, cashews, raisins and ghee.
ven pongal garnished with a cashew and curry leaves and served on a white plate.
Moderate 25 minutes

Ven Pongal Recipe | Khara Pongal | Ghee Pongal

Ven Pongal recipe also known as Khara Pongal or Ghee Pongal is a popular South Indian porridge like savory dish that is made with rice, yellow moong lentils and laced with the wonderful flavors of black peppercorns, cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves 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 minutes

Coconut Rice Recipe

Coconut rice is a light, tasty, savory South Indian rice variant made with fresh grated coconut, lentils, cashews, 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 minutes

Lemon Rice (Tangy Flavorful Rice)

Lemon Rice also referred to 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 minutes

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 minutes

Til Ke Laddu | Sesame 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 minutes

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
Moderate 10 minutes

Badam Laddu | Almond Ladoo

Here’s a Badam Laddu recipe that is quick, easy, tasty and made with almonds, jaggery and raisins. Make this delish Almond Ladoo the next time when you have a bag full of almonds. Use it for making these ladoos with minimal ingredients.
peanut ladoo served on a white plate.
Moderate 15 minutes

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
Moderate 15 minutes

Aval Laddu | Poha Laddu

Aval laddu also called Poha Laddu are delicious ladoo or sweet balls made with thick poha or aval (flattened rice or parched rice), jaggery, cashews, raisins, milk and ghee. They make for an easy festive sweet.
dry fruit ladoo placed on a white plate on a yellow napkin
Easy 20 minutes

Easy Dry Fruits Laddu Recipe

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 minutes

Coconut Ladoo Recipe | Nariyal ke Laddu Made In 3 Unique Ways

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
Moderate 12 minutes

Maladu Recipe | Maa Laddu | Roasted Gram Ladoo

Maladu or Maa Laddu (Pottukadalai Ladoo) is quick South Indian recipe of ladoo made from roasted gram or roasted chana dal flour. 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 minutes

Rava Laddu Recipe (Suji Ke Laddu)

An easy peasy method to make Rava Laddu for Diwali or any festival. This Rava Ladoo also known as Suji ke Laddu are sweet balls made with rava (sooji or semolina), coconut, powdered sugar, dry fruits, nuts and ghee.
besan ke laddu, besan ladoo
Moderate 30 minutes

Easy Besan ke Laddu Recipe

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
Moderate 20 minutes

Pori Urundai Recipe | Murmura Laddu

Pori Urundai is a crunchy, crispy, light, delicious, easy ladoo recipe which gets ready in minutes made with puffed rice. These are 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 hour

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 minutes

Carrot Kheer | Carrot Payasam

Carrot Kheer or Carrot Payasam is a sweet preparation made with carrots, coconut milk, cashews, raisins and jaggery. This kheer or payasam is creamy and delicious.
closeup shot of rava kesari served in dark green plate.
Moderate 25 minutes

Kesari Recipe | Perfect Rava Kesari Recipe

Rava Kesari is a popular South Indian pudding like sweet that is made with rava or suji (semolina), ghee, cashews, raisins, sugar, water and saffron. This Kesari recipe gives you a really delicious melt in the mouth sweet that can be made in less time.
suji halwa recipe
Moderate 15 minutes

Suji ka Halwa Recipe (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 minutes

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
Moderate 35 minutes

Sabudana Kheer | How to make Sabudana Kheer

Sabudana Kheer is a sweet, creamy pudding made with tapioca pearls or sago pearls (called sabudana in Hindi), milk, sugar, nuts and flavored with cardamom & saffron. Sabudana Kheer is also a popular pick as fasting food during the Hindu Navratri festival. It is simple and easy to make, and tastes absolutely delicious.
pumpkin kheer recipe, kaddu ki kheer recipe
Moderate 40 minutes

Kaddu ki Kheer (Pumpkin Payasam)

Sweet, creamy, and warmly spiced, this Kaddu ki Kheer (also known as Pumpkin Kheer or Pumpkin Payasam) is a flavorsome, easy-to-prepare traditional sweet dish for the Navratri Festival. This tasty pudding like dessert is made with pumpkin, whole milk, ghee, sugar and nuts.
rava kesari with milk, kesari recipe with milk, rava milk kesari recipe
30 minutes

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 minutes

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 minutes

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
Moderate 25 minutes

Semiya Kesari

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

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 minutes

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 minutes

Wheat Appam

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

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 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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  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..