When we talk about festivals in India, due attention must also be given to the wide variety of scrumptious food available during this time. The riot of colours, Holi, is no different. Here we venture a look at all the food that makes Holi so special, and why we remember it for more than just its colours.
The food during Holi is one of the most interesting and awaited throughout the year and gujiya tops the list. Gujiyas are made of maida and carefully filled with just the right amount of khoya, dryfruit and coconut shredding. It’s a sweet delicacy made only during Holi festival.
Also Read: Festival of the month: Holi
During festivals such as Holi, pakode serve as the most common finger food in many households. Some even make special bhang pakode on the occasion of Holi and they still have a special place on the Holi menu.
Although not a dish, it deserves a mention on this list. Beetroot, otherwise an always ignored vegetable in the local market, comes home a week before Holi. Carefully sliced beetroot and carrot along with powdered mustard seeds, red chilli, salt and water are sealed and kept under sunlight. The result after 4-5 days would be kaanji, a dark, vine-coloured, tangy drink ready to quench the thirst of many during Holi.
Another item not to be missed is dahi vadas. Though this dish may be very common today, it pricks tastebuds during Holi.
Apart from the mythology associated with the celebrations of Holi, there are scientific reasons, too, behind some of the food and drinks made available this time. Holi ushers in the spring and is celebrated around the time when spring equinox is approaching. Interestingly, our predecessors seemed to be aware of this and that is how on the elaborate spread of Holi menu, a cool and rich dry-fruit laden milk drink called thandai, finds its place.
Bhang (prepared from the cannabis plant) is a vital ingredient in many Holi-special food items. What follows Bhang consumption is usually a collection of random thoughts and slow movements. Perhaps that is why it is included in the menu – after an action-packed Holi, it allows one to slow down and just be!
The article was first published in March, 2015 and has been updated since.