Holi Festival at Mantra Indian

Come spring and Indian households get busy preparing for Holi, the most colorful festival of the country. Holi, the festival of colors is a Hindu festival held in celebration of a legend which tells of Prince Prahlad, vanquishing the evil demoness Holika. According to the myth, the Prince was a devout worshipper of God Vishnu, a fact not appreciated by his father, the King. The King sent Holika, a demoness immune to fire, to kill him by sitting with him in a burning pyre. Once the pyre burnt out, Prince Prahlad came out unscathed while the demoness did not make it. The festival derives its name from the demoness and pyres are burned the night before the festival to represent the victory of good over evil. The next day people celebrate with colors to represent the vibrant colors of spring.

Holi is the time to cast away all inhibitions as people from all walks of life come together to spray powdered color (gulal) and colored water on each other. Traditionally everyone wears white so that the colors show up better, though this is not mandatory. Families, friends, and strangers all join in the fun of smearing gulal over each other till the entire atmosphere is a kaleidoscope of colors .

Like all Indian festivals this one too is incomplete without a food fiesta to top off the celebrations. The intoxicating thandai - a milk based drink laced with bhang, a marijuana derivative, is a sneaky treat relished by adults during Holi. Bhang is also mixed into sweets and the heady concoction is very popular among revelers.

But that’s not the only food to be had during Holi. Other legally acceptable goodies are available in plenty too. Gujhiya, a sticky pastry filled with shredded coconut or sweetened cheese, is a special treat made during this festival. Dahi vada, a savory snack consisting of fried lentil balls dipped in seasoned yougurt is extremely popular too. Rice pudding (kheer) and various types of halwa are distributed among friends and family as part of the Holi rituals. Other Holi favorites include kachori ( savory puff pastry filled with spcicy ground lentils), laddoo, (a round sweet made of fried minced dough and sugar), pakora (vegetable fritters), barfi (a dense fudge like sweet), and pooran poli (jaggery stuffed flatbread).

This year, you can make a Holi treat of your own with the recipe given below. Try it, and let us know how it turned out.

Nariyal Barfi (Coconut Fudge)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of fresh or dessicated coconut (fresh gives the best results)
  • 1 1/2 cans (400gms each) of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cardamom powder
  • 5 tbsps ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/2 cup cashews, broken into coarse pieces
  • 1 cup almonds blanched and cut into slivers
  • A few strands of saffron to garnish (optional)

Preparation:

  • Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on a medium flame and add the coconut, condensed milk and sugar. Mix well and cook till the condensed milk is reduced to a quarter of its original quantity or till you get a fudge-like consistency.
  • Add the ghee and mix well. Cook till the ghee begins to separate from the fudge.
  • Add the cardamom powder, mix well and turn off the fire. Add the cashews and stir well.
  • Grease a large platter, put the fudge on it and smooth out into a thick layer. Top the entire surface with the slivered almonds and saffron strands.
  • Allow to cool a little and cut into squares while still warm.
  • Allow to set, remove from the platter and store in an air-tight container.

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