By Rahul Vaishnavi
From bhang pakoras and phul kachoris to tangy kanjis and chilled thandais, a lavish platter of traditional food and drinks, which are easy to make at home, can go a long way in adding more color to the festive fervor this Holi.
According to chefs of prominent restaurants around the city, the traditional delicacies and sweets are a great way to satiate your appetite after a draining session of playing Holi while chilled thandai can provide comfort from the hot March sun.
Here are some of the popular eatables and drinks prepared on the festival of colors, as per the chefs:
* Kanji vada: A light and spicy must have on Holi, feels chef Jodha Ram Choudhary of the Khandani Rajdhani chain of thali restaurants.
To make kanji, asafoetida, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, yellow mustard, salt and black salt is added to cool water and mixed well. It is kept in a sealed container and needs to be stirred daily and on the fourth day, if it tastes tangy and spicy, the drink is ready. Put around five vadas in a glass and top it with kanji.
* Phul kachori: A crunchy snack with spicy filling which is also easy to make. It can be prepared in 20 minutes flat, said Choudhary.
Mix refined flour with ghee and salt and knead into a semi-soft dough using a little water for the outer covering. Divide the dough into equal parts and keep covered with damp muslin.
For the filling, cumin seeds and asafoetida should be heated in a pan. When the seeds begin to change colour, moong dal soaked in water should be added and sauteed.
Then add the ginger-green chilli paste, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, amchur powder, gram flour and salt and stir. The filling is prepared and should be covered with the dough prepared earlier.
Deep fry the dumplings in oil till golden brown.
For those with a sweet tooth, Holi is the perfect excuse for binging on malpuas, especially in places like West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, feels Ashish Joshi, executive chef, Jaypee Siddharth.
“This Holi, Malpua is highly recommended as a sweet dish as it clearly reflects the celebratory mood of the occasion by its smoky, crunchy and sweet taste.”
* Malpua: In a bowl, grate and mash khoya, add flour and sooji and mix well. Add millk and water slowly to the mixture and keep stirring till a thick free flow batter is prepared. Then add almonds and pistachios and keep the batter aside for four to six hours.
Now take ghee in a flat-bottomed pan and heat. Pour small quantities of batter in the heated oil with a serving spoon. Cook on a slow fire till the edges are crispy. Remove from fire and dip in the sugar syrup for three minutes. Garnish with pista flakes and serve hot.
An innovative take on the traditional jalebi is the green apple jalebi specially prepared for Holi by Sanjay Bahl, director of food and beverage at the Suryaa, Delhi.
* Green apple jalebi: To make the delicacy, refined flour and urad are whisked together with water to form a thick batter and is then kept in a warm place for an hour.
Then cut an apple in rounds and remove the seeds. Heat the oil in a deep pan, coat the apple with batter and fry till golden in colour, followed by a dip in sugar syrup for a minute. Garnish with icing sugar and cardamom powder and serve hot.
Meanwhile, a variety of cool drinks from traditional masala buttermilk to mocktails will keep you cool under the hot sun.
As per Priti Goenka, chef at FoodCloud.in, a khus cocktail is the perfect cooler for Holi.
All you need is to take four water goblets, put equal amounts of khus syrup in each glass, add cocktail fruits and pour Sprite over it. Garnish the drink with fresh cherries and mint leaves.
For the health conscious, a drink with lesser calories like buttermilk is the best bet, feels Shubhra WB, owner of Madhuban, a posh Andhra-style restaurant in Gurgaon.
Four parts water and one part curd should be mixed with some chopped green chillies, grated ginger, crushed fresh curry leaves, salt and some lemon juice. It can be garnished with coriander leaves and serve chilled.