Holi the most awaited festival in India falls in the early 1st quarter of the year. It is popularly known as Festival of colors that marks the victory of good over evil as per our holy scriptures. While there is another dimension to the festival’s historical significance which many of us are not familiar with?
It is believed that Lord Krishna was sad about his dark complexion and wondered why Radha (his beloved) was so fair? One day his mother told him to smear color on radha’s face and change her complexion to color his choice. The idea fascinated Lord Krishna and thus he introduced the festival of colors. It is also believed that he popularized the festival by playing pranks on Gopikas. The Holi of Mathura, Virandavan (parts of Uttar Pradesh in India), Braj, and Barsana is famous all over the world.
The festival over years is seen catching up fast around the world and in true sense has gone beyond borders and boundaries on an onset to become a global phenomenon.
Here’s a view on the way it is celebrated overseas.
Small town called Sabadell, located 20 kilometres north of Barcelona sees around 10,000 people from all backgrounds to celebrate the festival of colours. The spirit is none less than that of India; white clothes, music, food and dancing. There are choreographed groups that perform Bollywood dance numbers.
United States of America has a huge population of Indians anyways and thanks to them celebrating the festival, it is no longer restricted to only one community. USA now has formalised “The Colour Run”, a 5 kilometre run with participants who keep splashing colours at frequent intervals. The idea is to get colour dyed, the run is started in white outfits and by the end one can see people with multicolour dyed outfits.
The United Kingdom
Holi is quite a frenzy affair in UK. Its home to second largest Indian community especially in cities like Birmingham, Leicester and New Castle. One can see Holi parades on the streets. Manchester can be spotted with several food gullies and dance sessions. While Reading, town in England spots a lot of singing and Holika Play.
Suriname is a small town in North eastern coast of North America. The Holi festival is called Phagwa by the natives and is celebrated on set of spring. The ritual is to plant a castor oil plant few weeks before the festival and is burnt on day of Holi symbolic to Holika Dhan in India.
People Indulge food delicacies like Gulgula, Bara, Chutney and Potato balls.
Mauritius is abode to a major chunk of Hindu population. People celebrate the festival traditionally with great pomp and show as seen in India. Rituals like Holika Dhan, Exchanging sweets like gujia, smearing colour on each other’s face is all part of celebrations. Interestingly one can see Pichkaris made from Mauritian Bamboo stalks. Now that’s something worth trying. What say?
From Global scenario let’s take a peep into to the face of how Holi is evolving in India, Chef Umesh Mattoo talks about Festival Food Delicacies, Colours (Cosmetic to Organic) customary rituals and their influence on the new age Indian families.
The celebration of Holi is of relevance not just for its vibrant colors, water fights or an excuse to over eat Gujiyas, and get more than a little high with a glass of Bhang. It allows an opportunity to meet and develop relations with neighbors, which we unfortunately forget to do the rest of the year living in canned, urban nuclear spaces.
As I witness people pouring in the park located in front of my house, I realize my ignorance regarding the presence of people who live merely few blocks away. As people start exchanging greetings by smearing colors on each other face, I wonder how Colors have played an important role in our well-being and possess the ability to uplift our moods.
Unfortunately the commercialization of the festival has led to flooding of markets with synthetic colors that are not good for skin and can turn the joyous occasion ugly.
While many of us complain of the same, or pay an exorbitant amount in order to get organic colors, we fail to realize that our own kitchens are the best manufacturing hubs for the production of such natural colors.
Your kitchen would not only provide you a simple, cost-effective and easy to prepare colours that are not harmful to your skin but also provide the satisfaction of playing the festival with colors you have produced yourself.
To make these colors you would essentially need a rice flour or arrowroots flower or corn starch.
A pleasing essence like rose, itar or even fruit flavors like orange flavor or a strawberry flavor.
Your kitchen has vegetables of all colors, beetroot, spinach, orange rind, carrots, shells of peas etc.
Just make a thick puree of these vegetables and mix it with a fine flour readily available to you and add an essence of your choice, need into a stiff dough.
There is no need to follow a particular proportions or recipe to make these you just go by your judgment the way you like these colors and the flavors you like.
Now spread this stiff dough on a plate and let it dry, once it is dried grind it in a mixer to a fine powder and its ready to use.
Talking about Food; delicacies prepared across the country during the festival of Holi are as varied as it rituals .The dishes like Malpua, Gujiya and Thandai are prepared almost across the country but each region adds its own twist to it.
Well this Holi try our version of these traditional recipes with a little bit of twist.
TRADITIONAL HOLI RECIPES WITH A MODERN TWIST
RECIPE 1. Chocolate Dipped Malpua Cones With Fruit
|Khoya (Dairy product also known as Khao, South Asian Cuisine, made by thickening of milk on heat in a pan)|
|Ghee (Clarified Butter)|
|Dark Chocolate for coating||100 gms|
|White chocolate for coating||100 gms|
|For Kiwi Rabri|
|Fresh kiwi Puree||100gms|
|Rabri (Sweet, condensed milk based dish made by boiling the milk on low heat for a long time until it becomes dense and changes its color to pinkish. Sugar, spices and nuts are added to it to give it flavor)||100gms|
|For Kesar Rabri|
|Kesar (saffron)||1 gms|
|Pistachios blanched and sliced||20gms|
|For Apple Rabri|
|Apple (medium sized)||3 no’s|
|Cinnamon powder||2 gms|
- Immerse Khoya in warm water for 15 minutes.
- Soak Semolina in about half a litre of water.
- Take Khoya out of water in a bowl and add milk to make a smooth paste.
- Drain water from soaked semolina.
- Add semolina to milk and khoya mixture. Now add sugar and then make a smooth paste and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
- Heat Ghee in a pan and drop a large spoon about half a full of the prepared batter in medium hot ghee and make round shaped pan cakes. They should be thick and then fry for about 1 minute on each side.
- Cool the prepared Malpuas.
- Roll the Malpua in shape of a cone.
- Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler and coat the lower half and the rim of the cone with melted dark chocolate and cool. Cover the half of Malpuas with dark chocolate
- Then repeat the same thing for white chocolate Malpuas too.
- Mix puree of Kiwis with rabri and mix well to get the nice green color.
- Stuff this prepared Kiwi Rabri into dark chocolate covered cones and garnish the top with diced kiwis and chill.
Mix the other white chocolate Malpuas with Rabri and Kesar to prepare nice yellow colored Kesari Rabri and garnish with sliced pista.
- Heat sugar in a pan add butter till it gets caramelized, slice two apples and add to the mixture.
- Add cream and cook till apples are mashed. Cool this mixture and blend to make a smooth apple sauce.
- Mix Rabri into apple sauce and add Cinnamon powder.
- Fill the remaining malpuas cones with this Rabri.
- Remove the skin from one of the apples and grate it.
- Add 2 table spoons of sugar and cook on the medium flame till all moisture has evaporated and shredded apples are nicely glazed. Cool the mixture.
- Garnish each Malpua filled with Apple Rabri and shredded glazed apples.
- Arrange the tri color Malpua cones on plate and its ready to serve.
- You may add dollop of colors around the food to add sparkle to your festival.
RECIPE 2. Gujia with Figs and Honey
|For the dough|
|Refined flour||500 gm|
|Ghee (clarified butter)||100 gm|
|Dry figs||500 gm|
- In a bowl mix refined flour and ghee to a nice crumby texture.
- Add water and knead well to make a stiff dough.
- Rest the dough for one hour.
- Soak the dry figs in warm water for about half an hour.
- Drain the water and mash the figs into a smooth paste.
- Heat ghee in a pan, add crushed almonds and cook for about I minute. Then add the fig paste and cook till the mixtures starts leaving the pan. Cool this mixture
- Divide dough into 20 gm of each balls.
- Roll out each ball into about 4 inch round disc.
- Moisten the outer edges of the circle with water.
- Place about one table spoon of prepared fig mixture into one half side of circle.
- Bring the edges of the gujiya to give it a half moon shape, press well to seal and make a pleated design on the edges of gujiya.
- Heat ghee in kadai and fry gujiya till to golden color on slow flame.
- Cool and glaze with honey and serve when required.
- You may deck it up with water balls, color and water guns on the table to add vibrancy to the dish.
RECIPE 3. Basil Saunf Sugar Cane Juice Thandai
|Sweet Basil Leaf||50 gms|
|Bhang Leaves||30 gms|
|Cashew nut||40 gm|
|Almond Kashmir (blanched skin removed)||40|
|Sugar cane juice||600 ml|
|Green Cardamom powder||5 gm|
|Black pepper powder||5 gm|
|Saunf (Aniseed) powder||10 gm|
|Rose petals fresh||few|
|Almond sleeved||20 gms|
- Wash and make a paste of bhang and basil leaves.
- Make a fine paste of cashew nut, almond , khas-khas.
- Put the paste of the nuts into a bowl.
- Add sugar cane juice, basil paste, cardamom powder, black pepper powder, saunf (Aniseed) powder and sugar.
- Mix properly with whisker and serve cold.
- Garnish with rose petals and almond sleeves.
Puran Poli Orange and Cream Cheese Dip
RECIPE 4. Puran Poli Orange and Cream Cheese Dip
|Split Bengal graham||200gms|
|Nutmeg Powder||a pinch|
|Oil||1 table spoon|
|Orange marmalade||30 gms|
|Oranges zest||2 tea spoons|
- Sieve the flour in a bowl, add salt and oil mix well to knead it into a soft dough with sufficient water.
- Let it rest for 45 minutes.
- Heat a deep pan and boil grams. Add sugar and mix well cook for 15 minutes.
- Cool it and grind into a fine paste.
- Add orange zest, nutmeg, salt and mix well.
- Divide dough into equal portions of 50 gms shaped balls.
- Stuff each ball with a large portion of the sweet mixture about 30 gms.
- Dust the stuffed balls and roll into thin rotis, cook over a hot griddle plate without coloring.
- Now smear the prepared pooran polis with ghee.
- Heat cream cheese with a whisk, add rest of the ingredients and serve hot puranpolis with this dip.
Recipes Copyright @Chef Umesh Mattoo (For Gypsyescapade.com)
Content: Saloni Kilam Rampal & Chef Umesh Mattoo
Photography: Paramjit Chawla