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Colour my plate

Chef Bhairav Singh cooks up three Holi specialties for Chesta Wadhwani.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2009 18:09 IST
Chesta Wadhwani
Chesta Wadhwani
Hindustan Times

On Basant Panchami, locals in the villages of Rajasthan are always fearful of eating snacks anywhere.. as the deep-fried bhajjia or even tea could be a carrier of bhang. The day is devoted to colours, bhang, thandai and gujjiyas. There are formal meals on this day.. just sweets and snacks, especially made for the occasion.

While Gujarat likes its jalebis and farsan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal feasts on crisp dumplings of rawa also called gul gules.

While the festivities for city-dwellers is incomplete without generous helpings of dahi ballas, chole batures, sweet samosas, pedas and thandai (spiked with bhang), the rural India still takes pride in cooking up the authentic delicacies which are hard to find.

Here’s a quick look at some of the desi delights for Holi

A specialty in Rajasthan and Delhi.. nagodis which look like small puris used for pani puri or golgappas.. but they are actually double its size. The puris are filled with a semi-dry potato gravy. Green chillies, ghee and a whole of coriander are added for that festive feel.

“A Holi delicacy.. cooking nagodi aloo is like a tradition in the villages of Rajasthan,” says Chef Bhairav Singh of
Renaissance, Powai.

For the aloo: n 1 kg potato, chopped into 3/4” cubes n 200 gms tomatoes, chopped n 10 gms cumin, whole n 5 gms cloves n 10 gms red chilli powder n 5 gms turmeric powder n 5 gms coriander powder n 50 ml ghee n Salt to taste n Chopped coriander, for garnish n Water

For the nagodi: n 200 gms wheat flour n 100 gms semolina n Salt to taste n 100 gms water n 30 gms ghee

For the aloo: 1. Heat ghee in a pan.
2. Temper cumin seeds and cloves.
3. When these ingredients start crackling, add potato and tomato.
4. Stir fry for five minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except water and coriander
5. Stir fry for five minutes. Add water and cook until the potato starts to disintegrate and gets mashed.
6. Garnish with coriander.

For nagodi: 1. Mix all the ingredients and make dough. Divide into individual portions (20-30g approx).
2. Roll out each individual portion into a puri, about 4mm thickness (nagoris) and deep fry in hot ghee.
3. Make a hole in the nagoris and transfer into a serving dish or bowl. Ladle out the potato on and into the nagoris.
4. Garnish with chopped green coriander and serve hot.

In several parts of Chandigarh and Jalandhar gulgule, is a north Indian Holi special. This unique recipe is not a secret anymore.. as most of the sweetmeat shops offer them.

Gul gules are sweet dumplings kneaded out of rawa and atta. They are crisp.. but at once melt in your mouth. They are not exactly sweet.. as they contain green chillies, saunf, coriander. Again, a must-have desi delicacy.

n 100 gms semolina (suji) n 50 gms wheat flour (atta) n 100 ml milk n 50 gms sugar n 10 gms saunf n Oil for frying n Water, as required
1. Soak semolina in milk for
20 minutes.
2. Add wheat flour, make a thick
3. Now add sugar, fennel seeds and water, rest for ten minutes.
4. Heat the oil in kadhai, make small dumplings of batter, deep fry till crisp.
5. Serve hot.

Chef Bhairav recalls the royal touch attached to balushai, “This dish was very popular amongst Rajputana of Rajasthan.. and was offered to one and all during Holi.

One of the reasons being: its storage capacity. In villages it’s soaked in a sweet syrup, deep fried and stored in a cane basket for days on end. The taste of jeera in it makes it different from the normal mithais we eat.”

n 500 gms refined flour (maida) n 200 gms desi ghee n 300 gms sugar n 1 tsp black pepper powder n 3 gms cooking soda n 50 gms pistachios (for garnish) n 1 leaf chandi wirk n Water, as required

1. Seive maida, soda and black pepper powder together.
2. Make a well in the centre and add 50 gms of ghee and crumb the mixture using both your palms. Add little water Prepare stiff dough.
3. Roll out small balls from this dough. Press in the centre of the patty by using your thumb. Heat ghee and fry till it turns brown.
4. Prepare sugar syrup and add the deep fried balls in the sugar syrup. Drain the excess syrup.
5. Garnish with pistachio and silver wirk.