26 March, 2021
This weekend India celebrates Holi, the spring festival of colours. In various parts of the country, the festival is celebrated in different ways. But, applying colour to each other, singing and dancing, and preparing and eating many sweets and savouries are common. Considering the second wave of Covid running through many cities, the local administration has requested people to have a safe Holi.
It is important to celebrate responsibly, especially since we are now running the world’s largest vaccination program. It is well and good to celebrate with our immediate family and use only eco-friendly or plant-based colours. However, we could always have fun cooking and eating our favourite Holi dishes like gujiya, thandai, pakoras, etc. Of course, wherever possible, we could try making some healthier variations of these dishes as well.
Mix the flours and salt in a bowl. Heat the ghee in a pan and then pour it into the flour mixture and mix it in with hand to a crumble texture. Now slowly keep adding the water, knead a firm dough and cover, and keep it with a moist cloth for about 30 minutes. For the filling, heat the ghee in a shallow pan and add the crumbled or grated khoya into it. Keep stirring and cooking the khoya on a low flame till it starts gathering together. Take it off the flame, allow it to cool and then mix the chopped nuts, powdered sugar and cardamom powder and keep it aside.
Divide the dough into small equal parts like for the poori. Roll into small circles of 4 or 5-inch diameter. Put a handful of the filling in the middle. Apply some water with your fingers on the edges of the rolled poori throughout. Then carefully join the edges completely by pressing lightly to make sure it is sealed properly. You may use a cutter or give it some shape with your hand, but make sure the sealing is proper so it doesn’t open up.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush oil on all the prepared gujiyas and arrange it in a baking tray. Bake them for about 30 minutes by checking once in between, as at times, depending on the flour and the oven, the baking time may change. The outer dough changes to a golden brown.
The typical fried urad dal vadas are commonly used to prepare this Holi dish. Here is a variation you can try, which is healthy and instant.
Mash the potatoes and the veggies properly, and then mix in all the masala powders and chopped chillies. Crumble the bread slices with your hand nicely and mix into the mashed veggie mixture and prepare dough like that for the cutlet. If required, a teaspoon of cornflour or rice flour may be added for firmness. Now prepare round balls of this dough and fry them in an appam/paniyaram pan with as little oil as possible. The round balls will turn golden brown as you keep turning them over in the pan.
Once these vadas are ready, arrange two to three in a bowl. Top it with a mixture of whisked curd with sugar. Then sprinkle the coriander and tamarind chutney and all the powders on top and serve.
Holi is incomplete without a glass of thandai, and of course, nothing helps you beat the summer heat better.
Dry roast the spices and cool them. Soak the fried spices in little water enough to cover them and the almonds in the milk for about 2 to 3 hours. Now beat them well in the mixer, mix it with the rest of the milk, and beat again with the sugar. Adjust the sugar to your taste and top with some essence of your choices like rose or vanilla and serve chilled.
Dudhi/Lauki Ka Halwa
Heat ghee in a shallow pan and fry the nuts until golden brown and keep it aside. Now add the grated bottle gourd and keep stirring and cooking it on the medium flame undercover. Cook till the moisture completely disappears, and it changes colour. Mix in the jaggery/sugar and continue to stir till it becomes a slightly thick mass. Stir in the cardamom powder and stir for a while more till it starts separating from the pan. Remove and cool and decorate with the roasted nuts on top and serve.
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