When you say Holi, of course, the splash of colour is what first comes to the mind. But the thought that follows is of the fun, revelry, and mouth-watering delicacies we get to relish around this time. As cliched as it sounds, no Indian festival is complete without a lavish spread of food. While all of India gears up for the high-spirited festival, we compile a list of the special treats from different parts of the country prepare on Holi.
GujiyaGujiya, a deep-fried pocket with a sweet
filling, is an important part of Holi celebrations across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,
Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and a few other states of India. Each state
has a version of gujiya unique to itself. Some of the popular variants of this
Holi-special dish includes perukiya, karanji, ghugra, karjikayi, and nevri. The
people in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi know of this sweet as gujiya and their
version is stuffed with khoya (milk solids) and dry fruits and dipped in sugar
syrup. In Bihar and Jharkhand, it is known as perukiya and comes with a filling
of semolina and khoya. Unlike UP and Delhi, these aren’t dipped in sugar syrup.
Coming to west India, Maharashtra’s variant of gujiya is karanji, which is
stuffed with fresh coconut, dry fruits, nutmeg powder and cardamom powder,
while Gujarat’s is called ghughra. The Gujarati version of this Holi sweet has
semolina, coconut, sugar, and dry fruits. Last, but not the least, is Goa’s
nevri, which has a filling like ghugra, but contains poppy seeds instead of
MalpuaAnother dessert that has fans across India is
this deep-fried pancake called malpua. It is one of India’s oldest known
dessert and its origin goes back to over 3000 years in time. The first
reference to these pancakes can be found in Rigved, where it is called ‘apupa’.
The dessert has evolved over time and, today, while some states make malpua
with a simple batter of maida (refined flour), semolina, milk, and yogurt;
others complexify the flavour by adding fruits such as pineapples and bananas
or spices. Except for the Bihari version, where sugar is added to the batter,
most other variants of malpua are immersed in a thick sugar syrup before
serving. Malpua can be eaten on its own or accompanied by a bowl of chilled
In case you’re in the mood to experiment, you can even try chef Sabyasachi Gorai’s unique take on malpua – the five star malpua
Also read: Indian Mithai to Relish in Winter
DhuskaA deep-fried disc, dhuska has its origins in
Jharkhand but, with time, it has become a known delicacy in Bihar too. The main
ingredients of a dhuska are grounded rice, chana dal (split Bengal gram),
ginger-garlic, and chilli. Sometimes, even boiled
potatoes are added to these
discs. It is usually eaten with chutney, ghugni (a black chickpea curry),
potato curry or raw jackfruit curry and pickles. This crispy Holi snack can
also double up as an appetiser at brunch/dinner parties or be eaten as
breakfast with ghugni - just how the Biharis like it. Dhuska or dhooska is available
at street food stalls in Bihar and Jharkhand.
Learn how to make this Holi-favourite dhuska from chef Ajay Chopra in this one-minute Hindi recipe video:
ChaatSure, chaat may be available all-year round, but
the experience of enjoying these snacks during Holi celebrations can’t be
described in words. Holi is ‘the’ occasion to devour chaat items. From dahivada (aka dahi Bhalla), papdi chaat to dahi puri and pani puri, there is a long
list of chaat variants in north India for people to choose from. Green chutney,
tamarind and jaggery chutney, beaten curd, chaat masala powder, and
freshly-chopped coriander are few of the ingredients that are common among most
Dahi vada aka dahi bhalla is one of the most famous variants of chaat. The origin of this chaat is not known, but dahi vadas are a part of the street food menu in Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu. Click here to check out its step-by-step recipe. And if you’re short on time, then here’s an instant dahi vada recipe by LF expert Gurdip Kohli Punj
Jilipi, which is popularly known as jalebi across India, is a traditional sweet dish eaten in West Bengal on Dol Purnima (Holi). It is made by deep-frying a mix of maida, curd, and water. Once fried, the dessert is soaked in sugar syrup before serving. Apart from the usual, channar jilipi is a popular variant of jalebi in this part of the country. Channar jilipi or paneer jalebi is made with chenna (cottage cheese) and is soaked in a cardamom-flavoured sugar syrup.
Also read:5 things that go well with jalebis
Mawa KachoriA Rajasthani speciality, mawa kachori or khoye
ki kachori is a crispy pastry stuffed with sweetened milk solids, dry fruits
(cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts), and grated coconut. Mawa
kachori's crust is made with all-purpose flour, clarified butter, and lukewarm
water. The kachoris are deep fried on low to medium flame in desi ghee or oil
and then dipped in a cardamom-infused sugar syrup.
If you’re not a big fan of sweet kachoris, LF experts have an array of savoury ones for you to try – think pyaaz ki kachori, sweet potato kachori, and arbi ki kachori. Kachoris are a famous street food in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar too. In these states, these heavenly bites are relished with vegetable/potato curry and raita.
Also read:Delicious raita recipes for biryanis and parathas
Puran PoliPuran poli is a flatbread prepared on Holi in
Maharashtra. It is made with refined flour and stuffed with chana dal (split
Bengal gram), jaggery, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and ghee. This sweet flatbread
is also made on special occasions in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka
too. The people in Karnataka know of puran poli as holige, Andhra Pradesh as
bakshalu, and those in Tamil Nadu, opputtu. The stuffing and thickness of puran
poli varies from place to place. In Maharashtra, puran poli is best accompanied
by amti, an appetising lentil recipe made from the leftover chana dal filling. This
Holi special delicacy also makes for a great evening snack.
Also read:7 ways south Indians eat flatbreads
Kanji ke Vade
Kanji ke vade is an interesting street food + drink from Rajasthan and parts of north India. It is specially prepared during festivals and acts as a palate cleanser after binge-eating sweets and snacks loaded with sugar and oil. These are split moong dal balls deep-fried and soaked in a fermented liquid called kanji or rai (mustard) ka paani. This tangy liquid is made with water, mustard, asafoetida, chilli, and salt. The snack is best served chilled with a generous portion of kanji so that you can enjoy a large sip of the drink once the vadas are polished off. Kanji for this delicacy is usually prepared a day or two in advance to ensure its flavour mellows down.
Aloo ke GutkeHoli celebrations in Uttarakhand start right
after Vasant Panchami in parts of the state and it is celebrated by singing
songs and relishing delicious local delicacies. The food of Uttarakhand
showcases the state's indigenous produce and uses several unusual herbs and
warming spices such as mustard and fenugreek. Cooked using Pahari aloo
(hill potatoes), aloo ke gutke is a must-have during Holi in the state. These
local potatoes are cooked with local spices such as jakhiya (a seed of cleome viscosa)
and jambu (a perennial herb, dried and used as kasuri methi). It is a no
onion-no garlic recipe and boasts of an earthy comforting flavour. Another
popular Holi treat from the state is bal mithai, which is made of milk
condensed with cane sugar.
Bhaang ke PakoreNo Holi celebration is complete without some
bhaang (hemp). There are many dishes that are prepared using bhaang in
different parts of India. However, the most popular, and most easy-to-make, are
bhaang ke pakore (hemp seed fritters). The batter for bhaang ke pakore is a
mixture of gram flour, turmeric, dry mango powder, sliced onions, salt, chilli
powder, and bhaang seed powder. It is deep-fried to perfection and is best
accompanied with green chutney. Now, this is just the basic recipe of this Holi
special dish. People tweak it as per the availability of ingredients and taste
preferences. There are many people who add vegetables such as spinach and
brinjal to the batter.
and Namak parreNot just Diwali, shakkar parre and namak parre
are a hit during Holi celebrations too. Shakkar para or parre are a popular
snack in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and parts of north India. These are bite-sized
crispy and crunchy snacks made from all-purpose flour, semolina, salt, sugar,
milk, and ghee. In Maharashtra, these are known as shankarpali. Namak parre are
the savoury version of shakkar parre. The ingredients for namak parre are the
same, except for sugar. Both these snacks can be made ahead of Holi and can be
stored in air-tight containers.
Matar ki kheer
An unusual sweet dish, matar ki kheer is a
celebration of green peas, which are available in abundance during the winter
season. It isn’t a traditional delicacy, but, with time, it has become a part
of Holi celebrations for many in north India. Matar ki kheer features coarsely
ground boiled green peas cooked in full-fat milk with sugar and cardamom
powder. Imagine the sweet, mellow flavour of the peas combined with sweetened
milk – divine, right?
Matar ki kheer is just one of the many recipes that has the oh-so-versatile green peas as the hero ingredient. Different parts of India have their unique way of making the most of this ingredient. For matar lovers, here is a list of green pea dishes from across the country – there’s West Bengal’s favourite koraishutir kochuri, Uttar Pradesh’s nimona, and Manipur’s mangal kangtak.
A Sindhi delicacy, tahiri (sweet saffron rice) is another dish that can be enjoyed during the festival of colours. Traditionally, it is prepared with aromatic spices such as cardamom and shahi jeera and sweetened by jaggery or refined sugar. This Sindhi recipe preparation is yellow in colour, which comes with the use of saffron or a few drops of yellow food colour. Tahiri is served as a main course dish alongside raita and sai bhaji, a Sindhi specialty cooked with leafy vegetables and lentil) or bhee aloo (lotus stem and potato curry). The combination of sweet and spicy may seem like a no-no at first, but, trust us, tahiri and curry are delicious together.
Okay, thandai aka sardai may not be a food item, but the elaborate Holi spread and celebrations is incomplete without this drink. Thandai is a cool and rich milk-based drink that is a staple during spring and summer seasons in north India. Melon seeds, khus khus, fennel seeds, almonds, black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, saffron, dried rose petals, pistachios, sugar, and full fat milk are the ingredients of a traditional thandai. Follow our step-by-step guide to make the perfect thandai at home. Apart from being an instant thirst quencher, the drink comes with amazing health benefits, thanks to the variety of ingredients used to make it. The rose petals and fennel seeds help cool the body down and improve digestion, while peppercorns boost immunity.
Thandai is a versatile drink and can be prepared in many ways apart from the traditional one. There’s rose mango thandai, which is made by adding mango puree to the drink; then there’s kesar thandai, prepared by adding strands of saffron. A popular variation of thandai is the bhang thandai, a cannabis-infused drink. The bhang thandai has an intoxicating effect on people and hence, is not advised for children.
For people not in the mood for a drink, thandai can also be transformed into a dessert. Chef Pankaj Bhadouria has a delicious thandai mousse recipe for you, while LF expert Maria Goretti can help you with a thandai mousse cake.
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