Holi Fantastic Foods that Celebrate Indian Colours and Flavours
by Noah Patton
Holi Festival in India is a traditional Hindu festival to celebrate spring, the end of winter and love. It lasts for a night and day, starting on the full moon in March. Celebrations begin in the evening, where people gather around bonfires and pray that the fire will burn away the evil inside them. The next day is when Rangwali Holi begins – the festival of colours. People throw powdered coloured dyes and drench each other with water, it’s a free-for-all designed to get as many people coated in bright, vibrant colours. After friends and family gather to enjoy each other’s company and food. The festival is full of amazing, traditional Indian cuisine – here’s a selection of some of the best.
Gujiya are small dumplings that look similar to Cornish pasties, but instead of being savoury they are extra sweet. Usually they are filled with Khoya, a milk product that is closest to Ricotta in terms of flavour, and dried fruits. Some are instead made of coconuts, nuts and flakes, while others are made with chocolate chips and are coated in cream.
Gujiya is made in India with Maida flour, and Khoya can be very difficult to find internationally. This recipe uses substitutes that you can find in most households.
Like Gujiya, Malpuas are sweet. It is very similar in construction to a pancake, but unlike pancakes it is fried in ghee and coated with a sugar syrup. Ghee is clarified butter, essentially all the flavour and oil in butter browned and the water simmered out. Like pancakes they can have a variety of different toppings – it’s up to the imagination of the chef. If you want to make some try out this recipe, and make sure you take the time to create ghee instead of butter, it is the key to making them so delicious.
Bhang is created from the buds and leaves of cannabis. It is ground into a paste and then combined with milk, ghee, spices and fruits. This mixture is filtered numerous times until only the milk is extracted. Sugar is added, and the drink is chilled, served cold. The traditional drink is renowned for its intoxicating effects, and as a result of the legality of cannabis in Australia is impossible to make here. Cannabis is also illegal in India, but as Bhang is such a core aspect of India’s culture and spiritual practices; the government regulates the cultivation of cannabis. The drink is only served on special occasions, such as Holi.
Panipuri is pure Indian street food. Crispy fried dough balls are stuffed full of potatoes, sprouts and sweet/savoury chutneys. They are bite-sized, perfect snacks – and surprisingly easy to make. Puris, which is the fried dough outside of the Panipuri, can be bought at the store. They are cracked open and filled with the chutney, potatoes and vegetables. If you can make (or buy a good quality) chutney and boil some potatoes the Panipuri is as good as ready. For a detailed but relatively simple to follow recipe try this one below.
Like Panipuri, Papdi Chaat is a classic Indian street food. The Papdi is a fried flour crispie, topped with chickpeas, potatoes, fritters and curd. It’s like an Indian version of nachos, coated in delicious spices and covered in a crispy wrap. If fried food is too unhealthy, the papdi can be made in an oven and baked with very little oil. Vegrecipesofindia.com has a traditional and delicious recipe for Papdi Chaats, try it out below: