For those of you new to this Indian festival, Holi, it is the most colourful day on earth. No wonder we celebrate it in full force in India. Different parts of India have different rituals and ways to celebrate it, like hitting men with sticks or taking aim at each other with stones (not pebbles). But the most popular and safer way is playing with colours and water.
Imagine a pool party with paints and dry colours. Yes, that! Only millions of people playing it across a nation, simultaneously.
As a kid I looked forward to Holi. It was the day when our parents surprisingly turned daring, forgiving and fun. The most serious-looking Uncle also looked harmless with the worst Holi colours smeared on him. And the Aunties? Well, not only did they dress in beautiful whites they even looked forward to getting drenched. Most of the houses and streets replicated the colourful scenes from Indian Madhubani Paintings. The high-on-hormones teenage boys would mistake themselves to be Lord Krishna himself. And needless to say, all the girls danced and sang like Radha. And Bollywood, Google ‘Rang Barse’ and you’ll know what I mean.
Even food was and is as colourful and playful. Believe you me, Bhaang, a mild preparation of marijuana is commonly added in different sweet dishes or cooling drinks at neighbourhood parties. But before we get to food let’s talk colours.
Although Holi has a strong religious connotation to it, I personally feel we celebrate the blooming of the flowers-red, white, yellow colours all around us. So you can go fully natural with rose, marigold, nasturtium flower petals instead of artificial colour.
But if you like bright colours then play it safe with home-made stuff. Most of the following methods will even give your skin a healthy makeover. And most of these ingredients are easy to find in your kitchen or your closest ethnic foods store.
How to make your own homemade colours (use them dry or mixed in water):
Orange-Add orange coloured sindoor (vermillion) to flour.
Green-Use Henna powder with flour. Or add it to water.
Boil neem leaves in water and leave it overnight. Find a beautiful deep green colour in the morning. Oh and did I forget to tell you that Neem leaves are very beneficial for your skin?
Yellow-Wow! Imagine a colour that will leave you glowing, yes you guessed it. Add Haldi (Turmeric) to a pile of Besan or just plain flour and enjoy the beautiful yellow colour.
Red and Pink–Add Red Sindoor (Vermillion) powder to flour and paint the town red. If you use little less colour you will have a pretty pink colour too.
Add 1tbsp of Red Sandal wood powder in a litre of water and boil. Then dilute it and have a blast.
Also the peels of pomegranate boiled in water will give you a deep red shade.
Magenta-Get ready to rejuvenate your skin while playing Holi. Grate one Beet Root along with its skin into 1ltr. of water for pretty magenta colour. Boil it if you want a deeper and darker shade.
My mother always made and still makes different dishes for different festivals. Remember the Happy Delicious Lohri Recipe. So today I dug into her recipe bag and brought out the Caramelized Indian Halwa or Ulta Halwa as it is called, because of the reverse way of cooking it. Why this dish you ask? Because of the lovely red colour, without the use of any additives. The last time she cooked it, my guests couldn’t stop at just one helping. And I did promise to reveal the recipe on Ketchupmoms.com, so here we go
Indian Caramelised Halwa:
Suji (Rawa/ Semolina): 1cup
Amul Milk: 2cups
Amul Ghee: 1cup
Step1: Add milk to Suji (Rawa/ Semolina), mix them well and leave for a while
Step 2: Heat the ghee and add sugar
Step3: Wait for the sugar to caramelize and liquefy. Watch the mixture turn into a beautiful orange-red colour
Step4: Add the milk and suji mixture, cook well
Step 5: Mix well and make sure the lumps are gone. The texture should be smooth. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes till cooked
Step6: Add chopped dry fruits, nuts. Serve. Enjoy! And yes if you have favourite Holi recipe do share it with us.
Have a Happy, Delicious and Safe Holi!
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