Holi Food: 23 Colourful Holi Dishes You Must Try

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Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates Spring. While many know it as the festival of bright colours, traditional Holi food deserves its own celebrating.

Holi begins Wednesday March 28, 2021 and runs for two days.

The Holi Festival is one of the most important periods of the year in India and Nepal.

While it originated in Asia, you will now also see Holi events held throughout the world in March.

Of course there are lots of Holi events in Toronto, but also throughout Canada and the world.

One of the most distinctive parts of the festival is the tradition of spraying others with water and also throwing coloured powders over other people.

It must be one of the most instagrammable festivals anywhere in the world.

There are many foods that are given particular prominence during the event. Holiday Holi food are worth looking out for and tasting if you get the opportunity.

 

Traditional Holi Food

Gujiya

These little dumplings look like mini Cornish pasties.

However,  they are sweet and made with Maida flour, which is stuffed with the sweet dairy product khoya, dried fruits or coconut.

Dahi Vada

The vada in this snack is a flour ball that has been deep fried.

This Holi food is served in a thick yogurt and topped with savoury herbs and flavourings such as chili powder, black pepper or mint.

Pakora

These fried fritters originated in India, but they are now common across the region. They are made with a light batter similar to onion bhajis.

Along with onion they may  be combined with meat, spinach, potato, cheese or other vegetables.
 
 

 
Barfi, just one of the Holi food you should eat and one of the best parts of the festival of colour. Here are 23 Holi dishes to eat and drink.

Barfi

Barfi are small treats that are made with condensed milk, sugar and ground nuts or flour. They are cooked until solidified, usually giving a dense sweet layer.

This sweet Holi food is cut into pieces and can be decorated with sliced nuts or fruit.

Phirni

Also known as kheer in some parts of the region, this dish can be a main meal or a dessert.

It depends whether or not it has been sweetened.

Phirni is essentially a rice pudding made with rice, broken wheat or tapioca, which has been cooked with milk and sugar.

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Puran Poli

Originating in the south of India, Puran Poli is a sweet flat-bread. For centuries this has been a traditional food usually sweetened with jaggery or sugar.

Puran poli may also contains cardamom and sometimes nutmeg too.

Papri Chaat

This popular fast food favourite from northern India is common during the festival.

A popular Holi food made with crispy dough wafers served with chickpeas and boiled potatoes, tamarind chutney and yogurt.

Many cities will have stalls and carts selling this tasty dish.

 
Chana Masala. Just one of many Holi food to eat. Holi isn't just a festival of colour. One of the best parts of the celebration is the food.

Chana Masala

Made with the chickpea variety known as chana, this dish is common in the west and north of India. 

The chickpeas are cooked dry with a range of masala spices, along with dried mango powder and crushed pomegranate seeds for flavour.

Bhaang

One of the more interesting drinks. Cannabis plants are crushed into a pulp then combined with milk, refined butter, mango and spices.

Not surprisingly bhaang is enjoyed for its liberating effects.

Shakkar Paare

This popular Holi food are small deep fried wheat flour parcels covered in a sugar syrup to add the sweetness.

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Besan Papdi

A savoury treat that is similar in texture to a mini poppadom, these snacks have a spicy kick that is provided by chili powder and black pepper.

Besan papdi are ideal for parties and to entertain guests during the Holi festival.

Ras Malai

Originating in the West Bengal region of the country, this dessert is made with sweet dough balls.

Ras Malai are stuffed with creamed rice, saffron and pistachio nuts, and then served with a sweet cardamom cream.
 
 

 
Malpuas. Just one of many Holi food to eat. Holi isn't just a festival of colour. One of the best parts of the celebration is the food.

Malpua

The malpua is similar to a pancake. Its batter includes crushed banana, coconut, flour and milk, while cardamom provides a little flavour.

There are also varieties made with mango or pineapple.

During Holi many people will serve them with a sugar syrup.

Namak Paare

A savoury dough pocket that is best when eaten fresh and crispy. The Namak paare dough is made with three types of flour and then combined with carom seed for flavour.

It’s then fried in short strips and can either be eaten as is or dipped in a pickle.

Kanji Ke Vade

Light and spicy, the kanji ke vade are definitely one of the easiest snacks to prepare for Holi.

It is a basic recipe of flour, asafoetida, mustard seeds and red chili which is crushed into a light paste and then deep fried.

Thandai

This Holi food is mainly found in Rajasthan and the north of India. Thandai is a very popular drink made with almonds, saffron, milk, sugar and a variety of herbs.

It’s also possible to find a version made with bhaang for the extra effect.

Kachori

These small pastry balls are stuffed with a savoury spicy mixture. Kachori are a perfect finger food and are often accompanied by a tamarind chutney for dipping.

The most common filling includes horse beans, gram flour, red chili powder and black pepper, while there are plenty of regional variations too.
 
 

 
Lassi drink. Just one of many Holi food to eat. Holi isn't just a festival of colour. One of the best parts of the celebration is the food.

Lassi

This Holi food is available all year round in the traditional salty version or as a sweeter drink flavoured with tropical fruits.

Lassi isn’t limited to mango. It is a light blend of yogurt, water and spices, and whether it is sweetened or not, is usually served chilled.

A bhaang lassi is also common during the Holi festival.

Saffron Rice

One of the most common Holi food side dishes that you will see during the festival. Saffron rice makes use of the fairly expensive herb to give the rice a delicate flavour.

Saffron is notoriously expensive so this is a luxury as most people would not use saffron on a regular basis.

Mattar Ki Kheer

An unusual combination that will make most people think twice, it is actually quite delicious.

This rice pudding with green peas is sweetened and served with raisins and pistachios to make for a tasty and creamy dessert.

Kesari Malai Peda

Soft in texture and with a gentle, sweet flavour, these little balls are made with thickened milk or cream.

Kesari malai peda have a gentle spice from saffron and cardamom, and are common in many different festivities, but particularly during Holi.

 
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Masala Mathri

Spicy and savory, these crackers are made with a simple dough and then generously seasoned with a variety of spices including carom seeds.

Malasa mathri are a tasty snack that is easy to store and transport during the festival.

 

 
 
What Holi food have we missed? What would you add as number 24, 25 and 26? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Pin it For Later: Food During Holi Festival

Indian drink for Holi festival

second image (c) Duca di Spinaci

 Holi isn't just a festival of colour. You don't want to miss this Holi food - one of the best parts of the celebration.

Join the Conversation

  1. Didn’t know about this. Such beautiful colours.

  2. Jillian Michelle says:

    I’m not going to lie– I stumbled across your blog in a listing and specifically clicked on its link BECAUSE the title is “Bacon is Magic.” I’m super sad that free bacon wasn’t dispensed immediately upon my arrival but delighted to now fill that void with lustful cravings of these newly discovered Holi treats. Gujiya and Lassi sound especially scrumptious! But I’d cuddle up next to any of the dishes on this list. Omnomnom

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well I can’t promise all the posts are bacon related but almost all of them are about eating so if you love to eat you come back!

  3. Gabrielle @ eyecandypopper says:

    OMG. I haven’t been to India yet, but I absolutely adore Indian cuisine, so I basically drooled the whole time I was scrolling down your post. I’ll have one of each please! They all sound incredible. I need to start packing!

  4. Colleen Milne says:

    I am in love with all Indian food, and you have just introduced me to a few that I need to try. And that Chana Masala, one of my favourites, looks drool worthy. Awesome post!

  5. Justine | JustineCelina.com says:

    I too really love Indian food and learned a lot from this post, Ayngelina! A photographer I work with was in India during Holi and it sounded (and looked) absolutely incredible. Thanks for sharing these lesser known Holi highlights with us. 🙂

    Have a fantastic weekend — spring is just around the corner!

  6. I love Indian cuisine. Just had it last night! This is my first time learning about Holi. Thanks for sharing your experience. Will have to add the festival to my list!

  7. Is there anyone get hungry with this dish?

  8. Gingey Bites says:

    So much delicious food, reading this has made me hungry! Thanks for explaining what each item is, I recognised the names of some and now I know what they are!

  9. Kavey at Kavey Eats says:

    I have been in India for Holi a couple of times during my childhood and it was such an exciting experience – we have nothing like it in the UK and the joyousness of everyone celebrating together, the sheer exuberance of the throwing of colour and all the celebratory food are strong memories for me. Your post has really made me hungry for those specialities!

  10. Holi is a special festival in India where everyone forget their issues and just play holi simultaneously they make special foods as you shared in this post and describe very well about holi festival.

  11. Lombok Wander Tour and Travel says:

    Great food, cant wait to give it a try

  12. Intense India Tours says:

    Fantastic blog on Holi, I love Gujia and Thandai.

  13. Kumar Rahul says:

    Good day,

    I would like to thank you very much for posting a picture essay full of variety of must try food items which is looking surprisingly delicious.
    Out of all my favorite is Dahi Vada and Mal pua.
    Also there is list of non veg items you can try if you love non vegetarian food.
    Every part of country has different dishes which can not be counted.

    But special thanks for putting best of all in your list.

    Regards.

  14. golden triangle tour with udaipur says:

    So much delicious and mouthwatering food! Holi is the main festival in India. There are so much color and food here. Thank you so much for sharing a wonderful explanation of these dishes. Happy Holi dear! Enjoy it.

  15. Praveen Kumar says:

    Just stumbled upon this post and love the list. Mouth-watering and cannot wait for holi to begin

  16. Jenny Davis says:

    Holi is a beautiful festival in India. I visited last year India at the time of Holi and there was some arrangement in hotel and i really enjoyed it. Major dish was Gujiya there and it was really delicious filled with dry fruits and sweet inside it.

  17. Lassi is great and I order it every time when I go to an Indian restaurant.

  18. Ohhh alllll the colors! Also, I haven’t been on here in AGES…missed these colorful and tasty posts. By the way, I love Lassi, I wish I could have it in every hot country. Also, I really love that index feature, so handy to jump to a section. Is that a plugin? Anyway, thanks for the colorful post!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a table of contents plug-in called TOC+. I started using it a while back when posts started getting longer so that readers wouldn’t get carpal tunnel from scrolling through the parts they didn’t need 🙂

  19. Ratna Singh says:

    Hi, I am really impressed by your knowledge of food, specially Indian food made on Holi. I belong to India , and the list of yummy food for Holi is lip smacking and awesome!! Keep it up.

  20. Wow !!! I am from India and really loved the way you have mentioned the festival of colors Holi and also all the special snacks. This post is very positive and refreshing. Keep Writing POSITIVE and spread Smiles and Happiness.

  21. I am indian from birth and I absolutely LOVE all of these foods

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