Holi is one festival that is celebrated with equal fervour across all socio-economic sections in Kolkata. The food items that define this festival are most prominent than any other festival. Let us have a look at the five foods without which Holi will be incomplete.
Thandai - You talk about Holi and the first thing that crops up in the mind is thandai. A form of sherbet with milk, and bhang added, has always been the flagship offering of any Holi party. Lately, thandai has gained popularity in the form of kulfi and ice creams. Apart from the Guruji brand of thandai, the ones sold at various outlets in Burrabazar are also extremely popular pick-up points and can be seen crowded and buzzing with activity during Holi.
Gujiya - The usually home-fried and sugar syrup dipped sweet is a must-have during Holi. There are innovations to the traditional forms of gujiyas that are baked including some with chocolate filling, and dipped in chocolate syrup and gujiyas with coconut and raisins filling. Best places to get gujiyas in the markets are Haldiram’s and Tewari Sweets outlets across the city and Sharma Sweet in Burrabazar.
Dahi Bhalle - Known as dahi vada in some places and bhalle in others, this homemade specialty tops the list of chaat bazaars during Holi. Deep-fried spongy balls of lentils dipped in yogurt sauce, the consistency differs in different houses, and like Holi, it has splash of colours in one dish with different masalas, chutneys, and sometimes pomegranate seeds sprinkled on them.
Malpua - A North Indian pancake dessert that is again, deep-fried and dipped in sugar syrup, is a very popular dish with the Bengalis as well as the non-Bengali sweet lovers. It is made in most households. Nowadays, though most of the sweet shops offer malpua, the ones that top the popularity chart are Balaram Mullick and Haldiram’s.
Kachoris - Raj kachori, with its huge size and a splash of silver sheen on the top is the thing to look forward to, at all the traditional snack shops during this festival. Apart from the Raj kachori, which is best had with yogurt and a combination of sweet and sour chutneys and bhujia sprinkled on top, the khasta kachori and matar kachori with ‘paanch phoron’, and tempered stir-fried potatoes are the best tummy fillers at most Holi parties.
For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.
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