Holi is a mark of new beginnings. Celebrated all over India, the festival of colours— as it is lovingly (and rightfully) called — is one that brings all religions and communities together. Despite its roots in religious lore, today it has become a day inclusive of all.
Holi culture has now spread not only to many parts of the country but also to many parts of the world. With the towns painted a myriad of vibrant colours and screams of delight echoing throughout the streets, it is no wonder that the festival of lights celebrating the triumph of good over evil is greatly anticipated and cherished by everyone.
As with every other Indian festival, the celebration of the day would not be complete without an extraordinary spread of delicacies that are as unique in nature as they are delicious.
While every region in the country has its own customs about festive food, some dishes are quintessential to Holi and you’re bound to come across them no matter where or with whom you are celebrating. But, each dish has its own allure and it would be unfair to make one pick and choose. After all, the choice to have a combination of both is what makes this festival so widely adored!
Here are 10 Holi delicacies you must try this Holi 2021:
The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when they think of Indian sweets is of course ladoos. A common sight all across the country, these saccharine-sweet balls full of love and joy come in so many variations it becomes difficult to keep track and even harder to look away!
Whether you’re a fan of the classic old motichoor ladoo or besan ladoo, or the sesame seed ladoos of the North or the coconut ladoos of the South, or if you seem to be taken with the more modern preparations such as chocolate ladoos that are so in trend these days, one thing is given — no festival is ever complete without it.
Phirni is a thicker and richer version of your everyday kheer. Made with white rice, cream, and sugar, it is a simple yet surprisingly delicious offering made even better with the addition of garnishes such as dry fruit and rose petals.
Like all desserts, Phirni has many variations but during Holi, everyone takes a special liking to Badam Phirni — prepared with lots of quality almonds mixed into the rice to give the dish a more festive and luxurious feel.
As almonds are quite expensive, Badam Phirni is somewhat of a novelty people indulge in only during festivals, which promptly increases the flavour of the dish tenfold.
The classic Holi dessert is a must during the festival. A fried dumpling-like snack filled with sweet stuffing such as khoya or news and dry fruits, Gujiya is deemed auspicious during the festival of Holi and often served as offerings in temples and during Holi Pujas.
While the more health-conscious bunch have swapped out the fried version of the recipe for an oven-baked one, its taste remains the same, making it the perfect dessert for anyone to enjoy during the festival.
Lassi is what you first think of when it comes to any celebrations in Punjab. But the yoghurt based drink has now become a staple for Holi celebrations all around North India.
The drink is prepared in many ways depending on the occasion, which makes it the best match for any festival. You can have it sweet or savoury, or even blend it with fruits to create infinite different flavours, the charm of this refreshing drink is that it completely offsets the warming temperature of Holi season and provides you with energy so you can keep up with the ongoing celebrations with much fervour.
A savoury bread snack from Bihar and Jharkhand, Dhuska is a hearty breakfast meal eaten in the northern plains during Holi. It is a tangy street food loved by locals and is definitely worth a try this Holi.
The main ingredients in this savoury fried bread dish are powdered rice, powdered chana dal and sometimes boiled potatoes. The bread is then deep-fried and served with any sauce or chutney. The carb-rich dish is enough to power you up for all the strenuous activities ahead of you during the festival.
6. Ras Malai
Originating in the West Bengal region of the country, this sweet dish is made with soft-looking dough balls and served chilled, with a rich and creamy sauce, giving the whole dish a velvety feeling and a tasting experience worthy of royalty.
Ras Malai is another festival staple eaten during joyous celebrations around the entire country. It is often stuffed with creamed rice, nuts such as pistachios and almonds and served with garnishes of saffron and rose petals. If eating to your heart’s content what to look for during Holi, this is the dish for you.
Any Holi celebration is incomplete without the inclusion of Thandai. Made popular by Bollywood where every Holi scene seems to be accompanied by the protagonist getting a glass of this milk-based beverage, Thandai has become a pop-culture symbol for the Holi festival across the world.
This milk-based refreshing drink is often topped off with nuts and spices like cinnamon and cardamom and sometimes even laced with bhang to make the drink even more appropriate for any Holi party.
8. Puran Poli
This sweet and salty delicacy originated from the western part of the country and is typically eaten in Maharashtrian households during the Holi festival.
Not commonly known in other parts of the country, Puran Poli is a sweet flatbread filled with chana dal mixed with jaggery or sugar and should be at the top of your list of foods to try during Holi this year.
9. Bhang Pakora
Bhang is a special herb associated closely with the festival of Holi. An auspicious ingredient used profusely during the festival, it is also a people-favourite, especially in pakora or fried fritters.
The fritter batter is mixed with bhang powder and poured on the vegetables. The vegetables are then fried, creating what is a delicious snack enjoyed with much enthusiasm by all the adults. Bhang Pakore are an instant hit among the seemingly endless Holi parties!
10. Saffron Rice
The color yellow is considered auspicious and a good omen in many Indian cultures. Which is why saffron rice is one of the most popular delicacies enjoyed during Holi.
A simple dish prepared with white rice, sugar and saffron, often mixed with expensive spices like cardamom and nutmeg, it is served as a side dish and pairs well with any regional Indian cuisine.