India is well-known for its colorful festivals, and one of the most colorful of them all is the ‘festival of colors’, Holi. One of the most popular festivals of India, Holi celebrates the arrival of spring and the end of winter through people smearing each other with colors. This ancient festival takes place on the full moon day of the month of Phalgun in the Hindu calendar. Apart from the colors, the festival of Holi is also associated with various traditional holi dishes that people enjoy with family and friends. No Indian festival is complete without mouth-watering delicacies. So, while we’re all looking forward to playing with colors this year, let’s not forget the delicious Holi dishes that deserve their own celebrations.
Delicious Traditional Holi Dishes To Try
Holi is all about having fun with friends and family, and this usually involves colourful holi food. Almost every region of India has its own specific Holi dishes (Holi sweets and snacks), along with their own customs. So here are some delicious Holi dishes from around India that you can eat to feel like it’s always Holi.
The Indian sweet Gujiya is one of the most popular Holi Dishes in Rajasthan and the star sweet of this festival. This sweet dumpling is made with semolina or flour, and khoya. There are a lot of variations to this dish. It can be filled with mawa, coconut, or dry fruits; and it can be deep-fried or baked. Today these favorite Holi sweets come in different avatars with names like, chocolate gujiya, baked gujiya, coconut gujiya and many more.
This snack originated in North India, though it is now popular across the country. It is made up of vadas, deep-fried savory dumplings made with lentils and flour. These dumplings are soaked in thick yogurt or Dahi and topped with cumin powder, chat masala, and chili powder. Dahi Vada is one of the popular chaat items and is loved by all. A sweet and spicy street food that can be a perfect inclusion to any festive menu!
Malpua is one of the popular Holi special sweets that are similar to pancakes. They are made with a batter of bananas, flour and milk, sugar, and cardamom, which is fried in ghee (clarified butter) and dipped in sugar syrup. It may sound wildly unhealthy, but is usually only served around festivals like Diwali and Holi. These malpuas are usually served with thick sweetened milk also called rabdi. Every region gives its own twist to this ultimate sweet dish.
Most popular sweets for Holi in Rajasthan and the north of India, thandai is almost a Holi staple. This special drink is made with saffron, almonds, sugar, milk and different varieties of herbs. Holi festival is incomplete without a glass of chilled thandai. It helps one to refresh after all the Holi fun. Versions made for the festivals of Holi and Shivratri also often include bhaang.
Namak pare are bite-sized, deep-fried snacks that are popular during Holi. They are usually made with flour-based dough, flavored with salt, ajwain (carom seed). The strips are then fried and eaten as is or with pickle. A sweet version of this crispy sweet is known as Shakkar Paare. People also call this by different names like, Nimki, sweet or spicy diamond cuts. Namak pare is a popular snack among kids.
Bhaang has become synonymous with Holi, and one of the most popular preparations is bhang ladoo. This sweet is made with milk powder, sugar, cardamom and bhaang (an edible preparation of cannabis).
Though cannabis is considered illegal, the sale and consumption of bhang seem to be tolerated during Holi.
This North Indian snack is popular throughout the year, but Holi is the time to try dal kachoris. Stuffed with arhar dal or moong dal and spices, this Holi food is fried to a crisp. This snack is best eaten with tamarind chutney and aloo ki sabzi. These tiny round-shaped Kachoris can be made and stored for a couple of days.
This unusual, yet delicious, dish is essentially a rice pudding made with mattar (or green peas). It is often flavored with raisins and pistachios creating a tasty and creamy dessert. Mattar Ki Kheer is a delicious sweet delight and can lift your celebrations with its amazing taste.
Lassi is a drink enjoyed throughout the year, both in the traditional salty version or in a sweeter version, often flavored with fruits. However, this yogurt-based drink is especially popular during Holi, when it is also often flavored with bhaang. The base of this drink is fresh yogurt which is sweetened with sugar. But now there are several versions of lassi like Mango Lassi, Rose Lassi, Nawabi Lassi, Strawberry Lassi, etc. One cannot think of Holi without lassi.
One of the most common Holi dishes is saffron rice. It usually has as a side dish or an accompaniment. Saffron is a fairly expensive spice, making this dish a special festive luxury. This simple earthy dish is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and gives the rice a delicate flavor.
Another Holi favorite is the puran poli. Originating in the south of India, this sweet flat bread is stuffed with chana dal and jaggery or sugar, and often flavored with cardamom and nutmeg. This dish is served with ghee or milk. Puran Polis is a delectable dish which is easy to make and light that you just cannot miss this Holi!
Originating in Bihar and Jharkhand, this simple snack is made with rice flour and chana dal. Dhuska is a popular deep-fried snack eaten by all for Holi. Crunchy and slightly sweet, it is usually served with potato curry and green chutney. This easy-to-make festive dish is generally had for breakfast or as a snack.
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What makes Holi so unique and special is the vibrant spirit, holi special dishes, bright colors, and lots of fun. This can be seen wherever Holi is celebrated in India or even across the globe. And these Holi dishes help in recreating that spirit, whatever the time of year.
Rang Panchami in Maharashtra, Lathmar Holi in Uttar Pradesh, Holla Mohalla in Punjab, Manjal Kuli in Kerala, Shigmo in Goa and Kumaoni Holi in Uttarakhand.
Bhang Milkshake, Bhang Lassi or Bhang Thandai is consumed to give one a strong high on the most colorful festival of the year, Holi.
Generally Gujiya, Puran Poli, Malpua and Thandai are some of the popular traditional Holi delicacies.