Karwa Chauth is a unique Indian festival that is majorly associated with women of North India. This is a fasting day, which is essentially observed by married women, for the well-being, good health and longevity of their husbands. There are various parts of this festival, amongst which, food also plays a significant role. At the end of the day, women break their vrat or fast. Here, I have shared a collection of popular Karwa Chauth Recipes. Also, the Puja Vidhi (procedure) and rituals like Sargi, Baya, Group Pooja, Song and how to break the Karwa Chauth fast.
Karwa Chauth is on November 1, 2023. I am sharing this recipes list, so that it is easier for you to decide your menu in advance. Ensure not to add onions and garlic in any recipe you prepare during the fasting of Karwa Chauth.
What is Karwa Chauth
The word ‘karwa’ is equivalent to the Hindi term ‘diya,’ which means ‘a small earthen lamp’ or ‘a pitcher or pot.’ ‘Chauth’ means ‘fourth.’ Since, this festival falls on the 4th day after the full moon in the Kartik month, it is named as Karwa Chauth.
As I mentioned in the beginning, Karwa Chauth is a special day of fasting or vrat observed by women in North India for the health, well-being, prosperity and long life of their husbands.
After the Karwa Chauth rituals and puja are over during the day, the women wait for the moon to come up. It is customary of this day that the sky is cloudy. Thus, the moon is often visible late.
Once the long wait is over, the women finally get to see the moon through a sieve and offer water to the moon while seeking its blessings.
Post this, the wives are first given a sip of water and then a morsel of food, usually a Mathri by their husbands. To know more about this procedure, don’t forget to read the sections below.
Once all these rituals and procedures are completed, there is more food that women, their husbands and the their families feast on together.
These dishes are typically made keeping in mind the nature of the festival, that is fast-friendly and also are nutritious and filling at the same time.
You can refer to my compilation of Karwa Chauth Recipes on this post to get an idea about the same and plan your menu for that day, accordingly.
Karwa Chauth Festival
The day begins at the break of the dawn and in my family, we usually have Gobi Paratha, Aloo Paratha with Raita and a sweet dish like Sooji Halwa, Vermicelli Kheer or pheni. Sometimes we have some chaat dishes too. If not Paratha, then we have Aloo Gobi with phulka.
All these delicious dishes are consumed before sunrise or better to say, when the stars are still there in the sky. I also have tea and then lots of water too because the whole day goes in the Karwa Chauth fasting, without eating anything or even drinking water.
At home, we usually have a dinner meal of Chana Masala or rajma masala, dal makhani or mah ki dal with rice or roti and some vegetable side dish. This is how we celebrate this festival at our home.
With my signature compilation of Karwa Chauth Recipes on this post, even you can plan your Karwa Chauth menu in advance.
So that, your entire day goes smooth and hassle free, and you are able to focus on the vrat and rituals’ part with ease. You can even make any Chutney a day before. Also, mathri can be made a day or two before.
Karwa Chauth Vrat Vidhi
The below mentioned rules or procedure are followed at my house for Karwa Chauth vrat or fasting. These may vary from family to family. If in doubt, kindly consult the elders or your pandit to be able to follow the rules according to your family.
- Karwa Chauth vrat can also be kept by unmarried girls, if the engagement ceremony is already done.
- Onion and garlic are strictly not consumed throughout the day, even after breaking the fasts. So, all the Karwa Chauth Recipes that I also have mentioned here need to be prepared sans any garlic or onion in them.
- For this day, women dress up in their best clothes. Some also wear the dress they wore on their wedding day. Mostly red, orange, golden or bright colored clothes, sari or ghagra-choli is worn. White or black colored clothes are avoided as these colors are not considered auspicious for this occasion.
- Women are not supposed to do perform any household work on this day. Instead, they apply henna or mehndi on their hands, dress up and get ready with make-up.
What is Sargi
Mostly done in Punjabi families, Sargi is given by the mother-in-law which includes mathri, coconut (must), fruits like banana, apple, etc. and sweets or as per your wish. Usually, dish made from pheni and milk is also a part of the sargi.
- Money is also given by the mother-in-law one day in advance, so that the daughter-in-law can purchase cosmetics or shringar items like bangles, bindi, mehendi, lipstick, hair band, chunri, clothes etc. If the mother-in-law is not staying together, then she can send/transfer the money.
- On the morning of Karwa Chauth, before consuming sargi, the daughter-in-law touches 7 items, that she has decided to donate or offer to the religious priestess (panditani) after the pooja in the evening. These 7 items usually are mehendi, fruits, almonds or cashews (nuts and dry fruits), mathri, coconut and money.
- While having sargi, the dish made with pheni and milk or sweets is consumed first. It is to start the day on a sweet, positive note. After this, coconut is eaten and then the main course meal. The coconut is usually broken by the husband. Since after the sun rises, it is not allowed to eat food or drink water, women must consume a lot of water that would suffice them for the entire day.
- Before eating sargi, women put bindi and take the red color chunri on their head. Head bath is taken one day before the Karwa Chauth vrat, in the evening to have a clean head (‘sucha’ in Punjabi language).
- The daughter-in-law also offer clothes and nuts like almonds or cashews to her in laws after the vrat is over, before a meal of traditional Karwa Chauth Recipes is consumed to end the day.
Karwa Chauth Puja Vidhi
Before you head to the list of Karwa Chauth Recipes, here’s some scoop on the puja vidhi of this day. Some people worship Bhagwan Shiva and Parvati Maa in the morning. In our home, we only worship Goddess Parvati in the form of Gauri Maa in the group puja which takes place in the evening around 4.00 PM or 5.00 PM.
Before the sunset, all ladies from the locality gather in one place for the group puja. In their thali (plates), they carry sweets, mathri, fruits, sari and clothes. These items are called as ‘baya.’ It is brought from the money the daughter-in-law receives from her mother or father.
Apart from baya items, there are other things in the thali like mustard oil, sindur, surma and all the 7 items which have been kept for the religious priestess.
A glass (or kalash) of water is also brought, which gets offered to the moon in the night. This water has rice grains and sugar added to it. A mauli or red string is tied around the lotta.
All the ladies sit around Gauri Mata with their items and worship her. The ladies also offer surma, lipstick, sindur to the goddess. It is like doing her shringar.
One elderly lady or panditani recites the Karwa Chauth katha or story and the thali containing the baya is rotated 7 times. While rotating the thali, a traditional song is also sung.
Karwa Chauth Ka Gana (Song)
- For first six rotation or feri the song is “veero kudiye karwara, sarv suhagan karwara, aye katti naya teri naa, kumbh chrakhra feri naa, aar pair payeen naa, ruthda maniyen naa, suthra jagayeen naa, ve veero kuriye karwara, ve sarv suhagan karwara”
- After every rotation, once the thali comes back, then it is first kissed and then kept it along with kalash (or glass) containing water.
- And for the 7ᵗʰ thali rotation the song is “veero kudiye karwara, sarv suhagan karwara, aye katti naya teri nee, kumbh chrakhra feri bhee, aar pair payeen bhee, ruthda maniyen bhee, suthra jagayeen bhee, ve veero kuriye karwara, ve sarv suhagan karwara”
- The Gauri Maa puja is to pray for the well being and long life of your husband.
- You can offer the 7 items (which you have touched in the morning before eating sargi) to the panditani or religious lady in this puja after hearing the Karwa Chauth katha.
- In some families, after the group pooja is completed, one is allowed to drink a cup of tea or cold drink (but not both). This is usually a modern-day alteration to make the procedure of fasting little easier. As per rules, whatever beverage is chosen on the first Karwa Chauth is the one that you must consume during all vrats on this day, for the rest of life.
- Baya items which are worshipped (Mansana) with the help of panditani or priestess is later given to the mother-in-law and father-in-law.
Breaking The Fast
When the moon is visible, then we take a thali, where we place one diya made with wheat flour (atta). In this diya, we pour mustard oil placing a cotton wick inside which is lit. Some mathris are also kept in this thali. The water from the evening puja of Gauri Maa is also taken in a small kalash pot .
Then, the red color chunri is taken on the head. Slippers/sandals are removed from the feet. One wooden stick or piece is kept below the feet. The lit diya is placed in a sieve and the woman then sees the moon indirectly from the sieve.
At our home, we repeat the following lines 3 to 4 times while seeing the moon indirectly via the sieve – ‘haath khari phair chari main suhagan argh den khari,’ which means, ‘my hands are spread, I am standing with a wooden stick below my feet and I am a married woman standing here to offer water to you.’
After repeating these lines, the diya is thrown backwards. Then, the moon is seen directly and all the water is poured downwards in the direction of the moon. With this, 5 to 6 mathri pieces are also thrown towards the direction of the moon. The entire water from the kalash is emptied. You can’t drink this water.
Then, the husband is seen through the sieve. Many women also touch the feet of their husbands at this stage and internally pray for their well-being. After this, to break the vrat, the husband offers water and mathri to the wife. With this, all can sit for the dinner meal, for which you can refer to my list of Karwa Chauth Recipes here.
Dos and Don’ts
Few activities to be avoided during fasting on this day are:
- Don’t weave or stitch any cloth.
- Do not use scissors and needles.
- One must not go to the fields.
- Don’t wake up any person who is sleeping.
- Avoid pleasing anyone with whom you have or had a conflict.
Karwa Chauth Recipes
I have shared Karwa Chauth Recipes that you can make for dinner (after breaking your vrat) and the recipes that are included in the sargi. The dishes that make up the sargi platter are consumed before beginning with the fast.
Sargi is the meal which is had before dawn and before taking-up the vrat. In this section, you will find breakfast dishes that can be made easily. I have also added some sweet recipes.
You can prep some of the dishes a day before and refrigerate them. The sweets can also be made a day before and refrigerated.
Note that some of the recipes listed below have onion and garlic in them as I did not make them on the occasion of Karwa Chauth but on some regular days.
So, when using them as Karwa Chauth Recipes, just skip the onion and garlic from them. You can add a pinch of asafoetida (hing) in the dishes to mimic the flavors of onion and garlic.
For more such recipes, you can check this collection of No Onion No Garlic Recipes too.
Sargi is the meal which is had before dawn and before taking up the karwa chauth fast. In this section you will find the breakfast dishes that can be made easily.
I have also added some sweets recipes. You can prep some of the dishes a day before and refrigerate them. The sweets can also be made a day before and refrigerated.
Sev puri recipe is a canapé like snack -where crispy fried flour discs are topped with flavorful condiments, veggies, herbs, ground spices and more. Spicy, sweet, tangy, savory, crunchy, crispy flavors – all bursting in your mouth in each bite. Learn to make this mouthwatering snack with my authentic Mumbai style recipe.
Aloo Tikki is a popular North Indian street food snack of savory, spiced and crispy potato patties. A basic Aloo Tikki Recipe is made with potatoes, spices, herbs, breadcrumbs or a binding flour and can be stuffed with a filling of mashed cooked green peas or cooked chana dal or paneer.
5 hours 30 minutes
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.
Sweets & Desserts
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.
Apple halwa recipe made with apples, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Apple halwa is a delicious halwa that is easy to make. This apple halwa does not use sooji (rava), milk, khoya or milk powder. Just apples, sugar (optional) and ghee. Flavorings and nuts of your choice can be added to the halwa.
Included in this section, is food that you can have after breaking the fast. I have listed mostly Punjabi recipes and the ones which we make in our family.
You will also find some starters and appetizers in this section. You can serve the dal or the curries with roti or steamed rice. Pulao can be served with raita or a side salad.
Lentils & Beans
9 hours 45 minutes
This Rajma recipe is a creamy, tangy and spiced curry made with dried kidney beans. This restaurant style Rajma Masala is made in a base of sautéed onions, tomatoes, spices and cream making it truly delicious. Best served with steamed hot rice (called chawal) or soft roti or flaky paratha.
Paneer Butter Masala Recipe is one of India’s most popular paneer preparation. This restaurant style recipe with soft paneer cubes dunked in a creamy, lightly spiced tomato sauce or gravy is a best one that I have been making for a long time. This rich dish is best served with roti or chapati, paratha, naan or rumali roti.
This delicious, vibrant Veg Kadai gravy is filled with rich flavors, aromatic spices and vegetables. Made in a kadai (Indian wok) this dish has a medley of onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and various assorted veggies together with spices and cream for a finger-licking restaurant style gravy!
Matar Paneer is a popular North Indian curried dish featuring green peas and paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in a masala base of onions, tomatoes, cashews, spices and herbs. I’m sharing our family recipe of a flavorful and simple home-style Mutter Paneer. I have also shared making Matar Paneer in the Instant Pot and in a pan or pot on the stovetop.
Pav Bhaji is a hearty, delightsome, flavorful meal of mashed vegetable gravy with fluffy soft buttery dinner rolls served with a side of crunchy piquant onions, tangy lemon and herby coriander. You will love this pav bhaji recipe for its Mumbai style flavors. I share the traditional method of making Mumbai street style Pav Bhaji recipe and a quick Instant Pot recipe.
Trying to get more vegetables in your diet? Try this vegetarian one pot meal of Pulao or Pulav made with basmati rice, mixed veggies, spices and herbs. Use the vegetables that you like most, like peas, potatoes, and green beans. Make this simple Veg Pulao recipe that packs a punch of flavor!
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.
Rumali Roti is one of the unleavened Indian breads that is made traditionally in the Awadhi, Mughlai and Hyderabadi cuisines. Roomali roti are thin soft rotis and can be folded like a handkerchief. Hence the name Rumali or Roomali roti. The word ‘rumal’ means handkerchief in Hindi language.
Snacks, Starters & Soups
Chilli Paneer is one of the popular recipe from the Indian Chinese made with batter coated, crispy fried paneer cubes tossed in a spicy, salty, tangy and sweet sauce made with green bell peppers, garlic, ginger, green chillies and seasonings. This Chilli Paneer recipe has a restaurant style taste and flavor.
This Karwa Chauth Recipes and Karwa Chauth Puja Vidhi post from the archives was first published in October 2011. It has been updated and republished in October 2023.