The Street Food that Fuels India’s Holi Festival

by Anjum Anand, The Guardian, March 21, 2016 

Holi, the Hindu festival of colour, is a celebration of good triumphing over evil, marking the end of winter (23 March this year). My favourite Holi snack is dahi bhalla. Originating from north India, these delicious spongy lentil dumplings are served in yoghurt and topped with tamarind and coriander chutneys. They’re sweet, savoury, soft, and creamy all in one bite and are the perfect way to refuel after an afternoon of paint throwing (a traditional part of the celebrations).

Dahi bhalla is a dish of lentil dumplings served in yoghurt.

Lovely and lentil

… dahi bhalla. Photograph: Alamy

The best one I have tried is from a little stall called Natraj in the Old Delhi area of Chandni Chowk. Well known for its street food, this area is a bustling market in a labyrinth of tiny roads, playing host to hundreds of wholesalers selling silver, stones, jewellery, cloth, spices and more.

If you’re weary of eating on the street, pick up some ready-made in Haldirams, a famous and hygienic (if a little soulless) Indian canteen-like eatery which has several outlets in New Delhi, or make them at home with my online recipe.

Other Holi favourites include the drink bhang lassi. Consumed in the Bihar region, it’s traditionally an intoxicating mix of cannabis, milk, spices, watermelon seeds, rose petals and poppy seeds – though nowadays it is mostly made without the drug.


Chandi Chowk market, Old Delhi.

Chandi Chowk market, Old Delhi. Photograph: Getty Images

In Gujarat, barfi is a popular coconut sweet for the celebrations that has a lovely texture and is lightly spiced with green cardamom and topped with pistachios or almonds. And kesari malai peda is a sweet saffron pastry often eaten in Uttar Pradesh during the Holi period.
Anjum Anand is a TV chef and founder of the Spice Tailor, a range of curry sauces, chutneys and naans

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This article was written by Anjum Anand from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.