Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Holi Hai

Happy Holi everyone :)) For my non Indian readers who want to know what Holi is , here is some info(Holi).Every time around Holi and Diwali,I miss home so much its almost painful. My mind is flooded with good times and memories-friends and family hanging out,mom's superlative cooking,dad's organizing a community dinner and us kids helping organize and being mom's side kicks in the kitchen.

Holi was always such a blast.We started the day in our old clothes because we knew that they would be unrecognizable at the end of the day ,so why bother.White was the color of choice since it showcased all the other colors we would play with,so well.Some of us were more adventurous and wore new white and paid the price for it:))

Mom would start preparing all the goodies on Holi eve -gujhia, mathi, chaat, kachoris, gulabjamuns ,other sweets and a lunch menu(gosh, the woman never tired).Come Holi morning and we had a stream of visitors-applying dry colors on each others face and exchange holi goodies-funnn!!The ritual continued with us visiting more friends.After we had played dry holi for a few hours,the kids would graduate to the wet holi(mixing dry colors with water,the more adventurous tried to mix colors that would not come off for many days).We would splash that colored water one each other, over and over again on each other till we could not tell who the other person was .It was hilarious to return to school next day with pink ears or purple hands.Ofcourse none of us gave any thought to how all that color would come off. Let me just tell you, it took hours of cleaning just to look normal again, but always worth it.

The dry colors

And now to the Yummy part.We had our traditional Holi lunch of rajma(kidney beans), dahi bada/dahi vada/dahi bhalley( fried,salted lentil donuts in spicy yogurt),pulao(basmati rice with seasoning),poori(fried Indian flat bread),other side dishes that varied and kheer(stove top pudding made with rice, milk and sugar).Mom made sure, she passed on her recipes to her 3 kids and we proudly carry on the tradition to this day.The day ended with more friends visiting and before we knew it the day was over and we were already waiting for Next year.I still do:)

Holi in the US of A can be a lot of fun with the right people and Iam lucky to have the right people in my life. Though mom and dad can't be here all the way from India , I always feel their presence and blessings in all festivities and my celebrations with freinds.Here's one of my previous holi posts.(Holi 2007)and one of my holi recipes here(Tomato Paneer)

Holi 2008

Here are pictures from one of my host fun holi ever ..Holi 2005,we organized a get together and had about 20 friends over

just to give you an idea of the physical transformation

and how colorful too

What's holi without some singing?

So what's cooking in my kitchen for Holi 2009 How about some dahi vada(or dahi bhalley)?Dahi vada is popular street food and also is a great side dish to many an Indian dinner/lunch parties.Its essentially vadas(fried,salted lentil donuts) in thick,spicy yogurt sauce.
You need:

1 cup urad dal( washed, soaked overnight and ground to a fine paste.Dont add too much water or the vadas will not hold their shape)
2 inch piece of ginger grated
2-3 green chillies finely chopped
salt to taste
oil for deep frying(I use canola oil, you can use what you want)
2 cups yogurt
4 cups water
Red chili powder to taste
Tamarind chutney(you can pickup ready made chutney at the Indian store)
some lukewarm water to soak the vadas for a few minutes

For garnish
2 teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoon dahi vada masala(available at Indian grocery stores)
1 teaspoon red chili powder
chopped coriander leaves

This is how you make it
Fold in the grated ginger, green chillies and salt to the urad dal paste and salt.
Pre-heat oil for fryingand roll up your sleeves:)wet your palm with some water and place some urad dal batter on it.Shape it like a donut,then dip your finger in water and poke a penny sized hole into the donut.Gently drop it into the hot oil.(often times, the donut looks done from the outside but actually isn't cooked on the inside.The key is to have the oil at the right temperature and fry it till it turns a golden brown.Dont leave it in the oil too long, it turns dark and hard very fast).Now place these vadas into the lukewarm water you had kept aside. Let them soak for a few minutes and watch them .Dont let them turn all soggy. Take them out,remove the excess water by pressing between both your palms and keep aside.Now, prepare the yogurt with water,and salt(to taste). Blend into a smooth consistency. Divide into two parts. Add the vadas to the first part.Once that's done,pour the second part of the yogurt on top of the vadas.You can perform this step in a nice serving dish or you could do it seperately and then transfer it to a serving dish. Once in the serving dish,add the tamarind chutney in pretty patterns, then repeat the pattern with red chillies, dahi vada masala and cumin powder. In the end add some chopped coriander for that pop of color.(My picture doesn't have the coriander , I know ..I forgot)
There you go. Enjoy this colorful , sweet and savory dish.I look forward to posting more pictures from Holi 2009 celebrations on the weekend

This recipe is dedicated my family and friends


Richa Rai said...

Loved the pics...and loved the traditional holi recipes!I have to start trying them soon...ther are irresistible!!

Meenal Mehta said...

Thanks Richa :)

Joyeeta said...

Beautiful post Minu, and thanks for the dedication to all of us :)
I cannot wait to try the recipes, especially the Tomato Paneer, looks delish! It's lovely the way you have intertwined the story with your cooking..way to go, so proud of you!
Luv and hugs ~

Meenal Mehta said...

Thanks Joye for such kind words just made my day :))

Vandana Verdia said...

Hey M, thanks for yet another dedication and I absolutely agree with Joye on the excellently written piece which ties up the festivities and recipe ofcourse!

Meenal Mehta said...

Thanks V, appreciate all the encouragement. freinds and family make life special :)

Nits said...

very well written, Happy Holi!!

Meenal Mehta said...

Thx Nits

Nits said...

very well written, brings back memories of back home.....and all the delicious food. Keep posting!!

komal said...

Awesome blog and good to see you through your holi pics. Remember last holi we played together. Happy Holi.

Meenal Mehta said...

Nits and Komal..thanks!

Komal..yes I remember last Holi, what fun it was :))

Happy Holi

Kitchen Flavours said...

Oh wow you had superb holi celebration......Dahi wada's look yummylicious...

Asha said...

Dahi Vada platter looks festive and looks like you had a great Holi day. Enjoy! :)

Sandeepa said...

Happy Holi Meenal

I do remember one of your early Holi posts, I think there was a pic of your gang with "gulal" on their faces

DahiVada looks gorgeous

trupti s. said...

Thank you so much for dropping by and for the Holi wishes....of course, i remember you,I am so glad you posted! I hope you will continue to do so!

Dahi Vades look beautiful...!

take care, girl!

cheers, trupti
the spice who loved me

Ashok Mehta said...

As a dad I am really moved to read the way you have described in few words about what you saw in the name of holi '..all you feel about Holi..'
.Your writing..'Every time around holi & Diwali, I miss home so much-its almost painful ..'. We as parents are equally, if not more, painful of missing our children on these occasions, but after reading this, I feel aag dono taraf baraber lagi hai...
Your description again is excellent, and the way small things are etched on your mind, like dad's organising community dinner and us kids helping... and being mom's side Kicks ( or kids) in the kitchen...
And..a good naration of the way Holi was played by you..'we would splash that coloured water on each other over and over again till we could not tell who the other person was...
And ...'it was hilarious to return to school next day with pink ears or purple hands..
I am also moved by...'mom made sure, she passed on her recipes to her three kids and we proudly carry on the traditions to this day..'

I was looking all round for holi 2009 pics till I read somewhere towards the end that you are going to post them during the coming week end.. Do that and I shall eagerly wait for them...

Overall a good and moving description of the things as they went in those days... Do continue writing more and more till you compile them in a book form...

And many thanks for telling me about your Holi Blog..

Happy Blogging... Happy Holi.. and Happiness all over... PAPA

Meenal Mehta said...

Hello Kitchen Flavors

these are holi pics from past yrs ..hope to play it this week, glad you like the dahivada

Meenal Mehta said...

Thanks Asha :) Already visited your site ..will book mark it as well

Meenal Mehta said...


thanks for the words of encouragement..I certainly hope to keep posting:) .

Happy Holi again

Meenal Mehta said...


the biggest compliment of all is you or mom visiting me and letting me know how you found the blogpost:)


Neha said...

Hi Meenal,

This is so much better than the essay on holi we used to write in the school..lolz
as I new mom I so wanted to celebrate my daughter's first holi but fear of her catching a cold or allergy to colors discouraged me. I hope to celebrate holi with such a bang as you did over the years. Keep up the effort of continuing the traditions here in the US.
God Bless!

Meenal Mehta said...

Sandeepa ,

Yes you are right , there was a pic of my gang with gulal on their faces:)


thanks for visiting,glad you like what you see:) and Iam sure you will be celebrating all the indian festivals in a big way too :) Keep visiting me!

niyati said...

Awesome Meenal! Your recipes always look and taste the most delicious. And I must say you are really creative. Enjoyed reading...

Anu said...

Belated Holi Wishes !! Can see that you had a colorful Holi... I have a small gift waiting for you in my New Blog Post... Please do accept it.

Meenal Mehta said...

Niyati ,

thanks so much for such a wonderful compliment ..Iam touched and honored at the same time:))

Please visit again

Meenal Mehta said...

Anu ...thanks so much for the freindship award :)) really appreciate it and now I tag will tag more freinds at my end. I havent celebrated Holi yet ..these pics are from a few yrs ago , our Holi will happen over the weekend :)

Atika said...

Wonderful Post Meenal and your recipes look so yummy I feel my appetite is back :))

Thanks so much for dedicating it to us!!

Meenal Mehta said...

Sunshine:) thanks for the comment and your support ...Iam glad you are wanting to eat finally..yay to that

Anju said...

Very well expressed followed by yummy recipes! Reading this made me more nostalgic about fun holi days in India than the day of holi itself. Great work!!

Varsha Vipins said...

Seems like u enjoyed Holi so much Meenal..yummy Dahi Vada..found ur Papa's comment so touching..:) missing home now..:)

Meenal Mehta said...

Anju..thanks for the appreciation and the kind words:)

Meenal Mehta said...

Hi Varsha,

welcome to my blog:) Iam glad you like the recipe.Holi is always fun ..I notice you are a fellow Seattleite. Yes, my dad's comments were the best ..they made my day and then some:)

Keep visiting

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

hi meenal, thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate your comments.

dhahi vada looks sooo mouthwatering lovely decoration.

Poornima Nair said...

Hi Meenal...first time have a great collection...I'm so jealous of you guys...u'll actually played holi in your manager would have a fit and throw us out:)...

Meenal Mehta said...

@Mahimaa..thanks for your comments too:)

@Poornima .thanks a ton, you know we ddnt play it in our apartment, its my sisters house and we messed it up thoroughly:))

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