Holi, also known as the “Festival of Colors” is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of spring. For two or three days, there is a celebration of color, music, fertility, love, and the victory of good over evil.
Holi is an ancient holiday celebrated all over the world but mostly in parts of India and Nepal. There are two parts to Holi: Holika Dahan occurs the night before when wood-and-dung cakes are burned to signify good defeating evil. The next morning is Rangwali Holi which is when people gather in public, chase each other, and throw colored powders at each other while getting drenched in water.
Holi celebrates the belief that Lord Krishna wore many colors as he played with his friends all across the village, getting the whole community involved. There are other stories and mythologies behind it but mostly Holi is a festival of fun and revelry. It’s a time when all people, regardless of caste or ethnicity, get together and welcome springtime and the bounty of the new harvest.
Holi is also a time to eat delicious foods that awaken the senses and make people happy. Here are 10 recipes that will help make your Holi celebration fun and delicious.
1. Sabudana Vada: Indian Fried Dumplings
Sabudana Vada is a traditional deep-fried snack from Maharashtra, India. These dumplings are made with tapioca pearls, rice flour, and potatoes, with green chilis for spiciness. They are crispy, spicy, savory, and best when served fresh. This snack can be served alone or with spicy green chutney or tomato ketchup. This vada is also a perfect accompaniment for a party or any type of celebration.
2. Beet Thinai Paniyaram: Indian Sweet Dumplings
Thinai Paniyaram is a South Indian dumpling that can be made sweet or savory, depending on ingredients. This recipe for Thinai Paniyaram introduces beets for a slightly sweet, earthy flavor, and a gorgeous dark pink color. They’re spongy when served hot, with a slightly crispy outer layer. With their bright color, these dumplings are the perfect side to serve for Holi.
3. Sweet Potato Ras Malai
Creamy desserts made from milk are a Holi tradition. This version of Sweet Potato Ras Malai doesn’t use any dairy. The homemade cream sauce uses cashews, pistachios, and almond milk instead.
4. Bollywood Medhu Vada — Savory Indian Lentil Doughnuts
Lentils can be used in sweet as well savory dishes. These Savory Indian Lentil Doughnuts will certainly amp up the festivities. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Serve them with a delicious chutney on the side for dipping.
5. Palak Pakoras (Spinach Fritters)
A pakora is a fried vegetable snack originating from India and these Palak Pakoras use spinach, so you can indulge guilt-free. Chickpea flour is used to create the crispy coating so they’re gluten-free, too! This delicious savory snack belongs on your Holi dinner table.
6. Phulkopir Shingara: Bengali Samosa
These Bengali Samosa are a reason to celebrate in themselves. The crisp and flaky crust, the mild cauliflower and potato filling, and the bits of crunchy crushed peanuts make these an absolutely sublime and sensational creation. They’re fantastic on their own, but even better when paired with a colorful chutney.
7. Potato Fritter Sliders With Chipotle Aioli
These Potato Fritter Sliders With Chipotle Aioli are a fun version of Pav Vada, a traditional Indian street food. The sliders have a spicy potato filling that’s fried in a chickpea flour batter and sandwiched between bread with a bold chipotle aioli. These sliders will be the hit of your Holi festival.
8. Cauliflower Rice Paper Samosas With Tangy Mint Chutney
Move over deep-fried, potato-laden samosas — these Cauliflower Rice Paper Samosas With Tangy Mint Chutney are the new way to indulge! The rice paper wrappers bake up like a dream — they’re crisp, thin, light and definitely samosa-worthy. The traditional starchy potato filling is replaced by spiced cauliflower, which is a unique alternative. Dipping them in the accompanying tangy mint chutney really seals the deal!
This delicious recipe for Besan Barfi, Indian-style fudge made with dates and chickpea flour is the perfect simple dessert for Holi. The chickpea flour gives the barfi a nutty flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the dates are a unique addition. You can also throw in a handful of nuts such as pistachios, almonds, or cashews for an added burst of crunchy texture.
10. Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun
These Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun are a rustic dessert from the Bengali kitchen. They’re sweet potato doughnuts or stuffed with coconut, fried, and then soaked in cardamom scented syrup. These sweet treats are delicious and their vibrant orange hue is perfect for Holi, the Festival of Colors.
Holi, the Festival of Colors, celebrates spring, its bounty of food and the triumph of good over evil. These recipes will help you have a happy and festive holiday filled with food that makes you feel alive.
These spicy and delicious Indian Tofu Paratha Pocket Bites are a wholesome meal or snack that pair perfectly with the chilled dairy-free raita. A mixture of Indian-spiced, crumbled tofu and mashed kidney beans are stuffed into homemade paratha or Indian whole wheat flatbread. It’s warm and spicy, yet not too hot, and so delicious.
A loquat is a fruit whose taste is something between an apricot and a mango, so, as you can imagine it is amazingly sweet and juicy. This simple Loquat Chutney takes that sweetness and mixes it up with apples, golden raisins, savory tomatoes, and plenty of spices. Mix it up with ketchup and it’s perfect for dipping chips in or it can be used on burgers, too.
Dabeli is a popular street food hailing from Gujarat, India’s westernmost state. It’s a very tasty sandwich that combines many contrasting flavors and textures. A sweet and spicy potato mixture is stuffed between two buns that are coated generously with spicy garlic chutney, then topped with roasted peanuts, pomegranate seeds, sev (crunchy chickpea noodles), and a sweet date and tamarind chutney. Be sure to toast the bread just before you assemble the sandwich — it’s worth it!
This Sweet Potato and Chickpea a very nutritious and filling side. Made from a blend of spelt and chickpea flour with sweet potato mixed in, it is not quite as fatty as a takeout naan bread and a lot drier in texture, but is absolutely delicious. Serve as you would any naan, with your favorite curry.
Aloo Chaat is a savory street food hailing from Mumbai. Baby potatoes are marinated in spices and then cooked until golden, then topped with chutney, crispy chickpea noodles, and dairy-free yogurt. The spicy sautéed potatoes are amazing just by themselves and would be amazing as a side to any dish.
These No-Bake Almond Flower Cookies make a quick and easy dessert for any occasion. Relaxing at home? Make a batch — it takes only 10 minutes. Got invited to a party? Also the perfect time to whip up a batch. These cute little flowers are adorably tiny and making them is as easy as pie.
It’s peachy from all sides. Peachy inside. Peachy outside … It’s Peach Jalebi! Jalebi is a very popular and traditional Indian sweet dish, generally made on every Indian festival, celebration, or special occasion. It’s like a funnel cake soaked in rich, sweet syrup. These swirly, juicy, crunchy, mouth-watering delicacies might seem a bit complicated to prepare, but they are super simple to make. Nothing complicated at all.
Vegetable Bajji, colloquially known as Indian tempura, are just thin slices of vegetables dipped in a crisp batter and deep-fried to golden brown perfection. These are superbly delicious, easy enough to whip up on a whim and a perfect way to use up leftover pieces of vegetables that are too little to make anything else out of. The batter is a mixture of chickpea flour and rice flour with the optional addition of baking soda, which gives it that amazing crispiness. Traditionally, onion, eggplant, potato, and green bananas are used, but you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
Poori is an unleavened deep-fried bread, commonly consumed in India. This Buckwheat Poori is made with buckwheat flour, filled with warm mashed potatoes, and seasoned with green chili. Typically, this bread is served with curry, but you can also serve it as an appetizer.
This Amiri Khaman is a North Indian snack that hails from the western state of Gujarat. It’s made from chana dal, also called split chickpeas, flavored with garlic, ginger, and other spices, and absolutely delicious, nutritious, and easy to make — no baking necessary. These protein-packed, melt-in-your-mouth squares are excellent to serve as an appetizer with ketchup or sweet tamarind chutney.
Lead image source: Beet Thinai Paniyaram: Indian Sweet Dumplings