Holi is a popular festival celebrated by Indians every year, in the Hindu month of Phalguna, that falls between February and March. Also known as the “festival of colours”, it heralds the arrival of spring and the end of winter, thanking Mother Nature for the bountiful harvest.
The Holi festivities comprise chanting of prayers in front of a bonfire on the first night, signifying the death of Holika, sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, in a fire, symbolizing the destruction of all evil and prevalence of good virtues. The next morning, people throng the streets, splashing Holi colours on each other, using powders, spray guns or water-filled balloons, all the while singing, dancing and making merry.
Food is an intricate part of the enjoyment, with every household preparing enticing puddings, to relish with family and friends. And in case you’re wondering what to dish out this Holi, look no further!
Here are two time-tested recipes of traditional desi delicacies – thandai and gujiya, that are nutritious, tasty and easy to make, which will surely make your Holi a special and memorable occasion.
Thandai is a well-known drink handed out to colour-soaked revellers all over India on the day of Holi. The term “thandai” originates from the Hindi word “thand” meaning cold. True to its name, it confers a cooling effect on the body; and with its lip-smacking taste and pleasing fragrance, this is one temptation you can’t resist.
1 cup almonds, soaked overnight
11 green cardamom pods
3 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp black peppercorn
1 tsp watermelon seeds
2 cups of milk
½ cup of sugar
A few saffron strands
A fistful of almonds, cashews, pistachios and raisins, as toppings
Dry roast the fennel seeds, poppy seeds, black peppercorn and watermelon seeds in a pan on medium flame, for 2 minutes.
In a mixer, blend the almonds, cardamom pods, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, black peppercorn, watermelon seeds along with rose water, into a paste.
Boil milk in a vessel, pour in the thick blended spice paste and cook for 5 minutes on low flame. Add the sugar to the vessel and stir for 10 minutes until it dissolves completely.
Switch off the stove and allow the sweetened drink to come down to room temperature.
Garnish the thandai with saffron strands, almonds, cashews, pistachios and raisins, refrigerate for 15 minutes and serve chilled.
Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, that augments cardiac functions. Fennel seeds are an incredible natural remedy for reducing body heat in the scorching summers, besides easing digestion. The significant antioxidant content in poppy seeds aids in alleviating anxiety and promoting deep sleep. Loaded with ample amounts of calcium and proteins, milk remarkably strengthens bones and muscles. Cardamom or elaichi is a powerful aphrodisiac, boosting stamina and sexual vigour. Also Read: Elaichi: Marvellous Health Benefits Of This Aromatic Spice
Gujiya is a sugared, crispy snack resembling a dumpling, that is a popular, classic dessert in the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, during Holi. The sumptuous filling comprising exotic spices, dry fruits and nuts, enclosed within a crunchy outer layer, is truly a delight for every single person with a sweet tooth.
2 cups maida (refined wheat flour)
¾ cup ghee
1 cup khoya (thickened milk)
¼ cup sugar
7 tsp cardamom powder
2 ½ tbsp almonds, finely chopped
4 tsp shredded coconut
5 tbsp sunflower oil
1 cup powdered jaggery
1 cup water
Thoroughly mix the ghee with the maida, adding a little bit of water and knead it into a dough.
In a pan, heat the khoya on medium flame and once it becomes mildly fried, transfer the sugar, cardamom powder, almonds, coconut and cook for about 3 minutes.
After the filling cools down, mould it into even-sized, oval balls.
Shape the dough into uniform, flattened semicircles. Place the filling on one semicircular portion of dough, cover it with another piece of dough and seal the edges entirely.
Shallow fry the stuffed dough sandwiches in oil, in a tawa on low flame, until they turn golden brown on both sides.
Boil the jaggery powder in water for 10 minutes, to obtain a thick, sticky liquid, dip the fried gujiyas in the jaggery syrup, allow them to dry for 2 minutes and serve hot.
Maida supplies abundant calories, acting as a fuel for instant energy requirements of the body. Blessed with the goodness of healthy unsaturated fats, ghee vastly enriches, skin, hair and heart health. Khoya contains high levels of calcium, for fortified bones and teeth. Packed with profuse quantities of antioxidants, coconut offers wonderful benefits for the regulation of blood sugar and managing diabetes. Jaggery is a powerhouse of iron, essential for proper synthesis and transport of red blood cells. Also Read: Is Jaggery Healthier Than Sugar?