Many people are observing Ashadi Ekadashi or Maha Ekadashi, which honours an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Vitthal, today. According to the nearly 800 year old tradition, the holy pilgrimage to Pandharpur is considered as the penultimate experience for devotees of Lord Vitthal. As per tradition, saint Dnyaneshwar’s palki leaves from Alandi, while saint Tukaram’s begins at Dehu; both in Pune district of Maharashtra. The foot march by devotees from various locations in Maharashtra to Vithoba temple, Pandharpur, attracts a total of over a million pilgrims every year. The journey takes 21 days. However, this year, there have been no elaborate celebrations owing to the covid-19 concerns.
Many devotees observe fast on the occasion. As part of the festivities, they take various fasting foods. One of the quintessential Maharashtrian fasting favourites is Ratalyacha Kees or sweet potato stir fry dish that can be easily made at home. In Marathi, ratal means sweet potatoes and kees means grated. So the grated combination is a powerhouse of essential nutrients that provides the body enough energy to keep going throughout the day.
Not only that, the flavourful dish, which is a mix of spicy, sweet and tart in taste, can be made in a jiffy.
Here’s why you should have sweet potato when fasting
Apart from being delicious, sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates. While they have more sugar content than regular potatoes, they have fewer calories. They are rich sources of vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin. Additionally, they are a good source of dietary fibre, phosphorus and potassium. They have high content of water and almost no fats.
They are also known to have a low glycemic index which means they help regulate blood sugar levels and are good for diabetic patients.
Sweet potatoes are considered to promote fertility in women, strengthen body immunity and treat stomach ulcers, among others.
Here’s how to make the lip-smacking Ratalyacha Kees
2 – Sweet potatoes
2 – Green chilies, finely chopped
½ tsp – Cumin seeds
2 tbsp – Ghee
1 tsp – Sugar
Rock salt to taste
2 tbsp – Roasted peanut powder
2 tbsp – Fresh coconut, scrapped
A small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
*Scrub the sweet potatoes well and wash thoroughly to remove all dirt.
*Grate without peeling. Transfer to a bowl of clean water. This helps prevent the sweet potatoes from browning and also get rid of extra starch.
*Heat a non-stick pan on medium flame. Add ghee to it. Once the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add chopped chili and stir fry for few seconds. Add the drained sweet potato and stir fry for two-three minutes. Cover and cook for five minutes while occasionally stirring.
*To the cooked sweet potatoes, add roasted peanut powder, salt, and sugar. Mix well. Lastly, add lemon juice and garnish with fresh scrapped coconut and finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.
*It can be served with curd or raita .
*Always transfer the grated sweet potatoes to a bowl of water to prevent it from browning.
*Use a heavy-bottomed pan as sweet potatoes tend to stick to the pan.
*Though largely a fasting recipe, it can be made for breakfast or on regular days too.