Holi food is prepared for the Indian festival Holi, which is also known as Doljatra or Vasant Utsav. It is one of the major festivals of India and is celebrated on phalgun purnima(a full moon day in the months of February and March) in a number of Indian states and the neighboring countries of Nepal, Pakistan and other countries where Hinduisim is practised to a considerable extent. Puran Poli, gujiya, thandai , chaat and dahi bhalle are some of the dishes that are traditionally prepared in Indian homes for the occasion.
Each state has its own traditional holi recipes but some holi dishes are similar in almost all religions.Traditionally, ‘gujiyas’ are prepared by stuffing fried ‘khoya’ mixed with dry fruits and sugar. All these holi dishes need advance preparations and involve various Indian spices and ingredients.
Holi meal is an assortment of sweets, snacks and beverages along with special non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes. A special drink called ‘thandai’ is prepared with milk and various dry fruits. This drink is intoxicated with ‘bhang’ and served as a traditional holi beverage. ‘kanji ka pani’ and ‘Bhaang ke ladoo’ are also very commonly served dishes at holi meal. Snacks such as pakodas, samosa, kachori and saankhein are having their own importance in traditional Holi food.
Among the main dishes, some of the most popular holi dishes are mutton kababs, butter chicken, methi paneer and biryani. Alcohol is also found to be associated with the traditional Holi meal.
Most of the traditional dishes made on holi are high in calories as they are either fried or sweet. Such dishes cannot be eaten by diabetics and people suffering from obesity and heart ailments. Healthier alternative to these dishes can be made.
Significance of Holi Recipes
Originally, the Holi dishes are prepared to celebrate the festival of colors in Hindu religion. In olden times, people used to play with colors and while playing, they needed snacks and sweets and hence the tradition of making these holi recipes has started. The ladies use to prepare various dishes few days before the actual festival.
Holi festival is associated with Lord Krishna and Radha. Lord Krishna was fond of milk and butter hence sweets made up of milk are quiet famous holi foods.
Modern Holi Recipes
Holi food has many things associated with it, but recent years have seen various significant changes in the preparation of holi dishes. Traditionally, the only drink associated with holi was ‘thandai’, but in modern times, various alcoholic drinks and cocktails are gaining popularity. Even very famous ‘golgappas’ are also getting new dimensions by serving it with vodka rather than with spicy jaljeera. Other spicy chaat and pakodas are also being served with ‘bhaang’. Tequila golgappas, yogurt lassi with vodka and rum chuski are some of the modern Holi recipes. Homemade fried snacks and sweets are passé. All types of snacks and traditional sweets are easily available in packed form. Holi recipes are now customized according to the occasion and taste of people.
The way of serving Holi dishes is not very formal, as Holi is a festival of enjoyment and playing with colors. Friends and family gather at one place to celebrate the festival and put colors on each other as a holi custom. Snacks and drinks are served as and when required. Main meal is served after the holi celebrations are over. Main meal includes several types of main dishes, side dishes and pickles and chutneys. In the end, sweet gujiyas are served as a part of dessert.
• ‘Phagua’ is a traditional holi meal offered to a lady by her younger brother-in-law.