Holi, a Hindu festival , is all about letting go ..its about love, feasting, fun, flirting , dance and colour. Its a festival of happiness and positivity, seeping into every household in India , irrespective of religion, caste or region.
The famous scenes of Lord Krishna, the playful god in Hinduism who is synonymous with this festival.
While growing up, we never missed an opportunity to play holi with family and friends. It was one festival where we could wear anything ...be ourselves and be happy, throw colour ,those colourful filled water baloons and spray water at anyone on the streets !It is celebrated throughout India on the night of the full moon , welcoming spring.
Bonfires are traditionally lit on the previous evening of Holi , marking the end of the cold winters.
It is not possible that such a festival not gain momentum world wide and we are witness to it now since it is being celebrated everywhere ...
One must , if ever get a chance visit Mathura and Vrindavan , towns in western Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, very near the capital New Delhi where this festival is celebrated like nowhere else.
It is played with colour and flowers in various temples which open their gates to an amazing and vibrant dispay of colours. Dwarakadeesh Temple in Mathura and the Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan open their hearts to this festival .
Unfortunately ,my children have not been exposed to this wonderful festival and this is the first year where we will celebrate this in our home here -a request made by them .
This gives me a reason to have a mini feast to give them a taste of Holi here...
Thandai , the non intoxicating version of Bhaang (which is made from the flower heads of cannabis traditionally served on Holi) which is a cooling and refreshing drink made of milk and nuts . After drinking Bhaang,the fun doubles while being smeared with all the colour and so no one minds if one is thrown in pools of water... that is why ...Bura na Maano ..Holi Hai ...the famous saying...Don't mind what happens to you today...Its Holi!
Makes 4 glasses
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tblsp Almonds
1 tblsp pistachio
15 gms melon seeds
1 tblsp dried rose petals or I tblsp rose water
1/2 tblsp fennel seeds
1/4 tblsp black pepper
2 green cardamoms - seeds only
a pinch of saffron(optional)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 glass chilled milk
1. Take all the nuts, fennel seeds and dried rose petals and soak it in warm water for 1-2 hrs.
2. For the paste, take this above mixture and put it in a blender. Add sugar, cardamom and saffron and blend to a fine paste.
3.Take 4 tblsp of this mixture and add to a glass of chilled milk. You may dilute the milk in water too . You can strain the drink too.
4. Refrigerate the thandai before serving and garnish with pistachio, almonds and rose petals.
5. Serve chilled ....
Holi can never be complete without the delicious Gujiya.. it is a sweetened stuffed pastry which is very famous in Northern parts of India during this time . It is very very addictive!
1 cup whole wheat flour (atta) and 1 cup flour(maida)
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tblsp Ghee
Water as required to knead
FOR THE FILLING:
I cup Khoya
1/2 tsp ghee
1/3 cup chopped nuts - almonds. pistachios, raisins and cashews- around 10 each
1/3 cup powdered sugar or as needed
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/3 cup coconut powder
To Prepare :
1.Take the wheat flour and the all purpose flour in a bowl . Add salt.
2. Heat the ghee and rub it in slowly to the flour to a breadcrumb like texture.
3. Take water and slowly pour in ,knead the dough til it becomes firm.
4. Cover with a moist cloth for 30-40 minutes.
1. Prepare the khoya (you can serach for khoya recipe in tags) or if you want you can purchase it in any Indian sweets shop.Chop all the nuts finely and keep aside.
2. Let it cool and add the chopped nuts, cardamom powder and powdered sugar to it . I added coconut powder too since I love the taste.
3. Mix well and keep aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 200 deg Celsius .
1. Take the dough and cut small pieces of it and keep aside.
2. Roll each piece into a small round . Try not to add flour while rolling.
3. Smear the edges with water and add 1 tbsp of the filling onto one side of the round.
4. Fold it so that the edges meet and cut it with a pizza cutter to neaten them.
5. Place on a baking tray and brush oil or ghee on them.
6. Put it in the oven when all are done for 20-30 minutes.
Cool , Serve and Enjoy with the Thandai..
A very Happy Holi to all ...May this festival of colors bring immense joy in your homes and bring out the true self in all of you!