What to Eat and Drink During Holi, India’s Festival of Colors

Celebrate today's Holi festival with traditional foods and drinks, including sweet spiced milk and buttery flatbread.

Photos: Manjula's Kitchen,

Photos: Saveur, Manjula's Kitchen, Chef and Her Kitchen

The Hindu religious festival Holi is all about color, but it’s also an excuse to eat foods that awaken the senses and keep your spirits high.

Although traditional Holi delicacies vary from region to region and family to family, we’ve included a few important snacks and drinks to enjoy during your celebration. So get out, throw brightly colored powder everywhere, enjoy a bhaang-laced glass of thandai, and eat yourself silly.

Here are traditional foods and drinks you should make and enjoy during the Holi festival, which is celebrated today, March 17th.

Thandai

crdt What to Eat and Drink During Holi, Indias Festival of Colors

Photo: Nidhi Chaudhry for Saveur

This sweet, creamy milk drink is a Holi staple. Saveur explains that the drink is “flavored with nuts and mixed with spices such as cardamom, fennel, rose petals, and poppy seeds. On Holi, the refreshment is traditionally served with the addition of bhaang (a derivative of marijuana).”

Best recipe: Saveur

Puran poli

poli What to Eat and Drink During Holi, Indias Festival of Colors

Photo: The Chef and Her Kitchen

Puran Poli is a very popular sweet in the western Indian state of Maharasthra. It is a kind of sweet, buttery flatbread, and although it resembles a roti in appearance, a poli is actually very different. The stuffing—or puran—is made from boiling lentils, then mixing them with jaggery (a type of sugar popular in India). Cardamom, saffron, and nutmeg are added to the stuffing for additional flavor, and the finished dish is served with ghee (clarified butter) and sometimes milk.

Best recipe: Sanjeev Kapoor

Dahi vada

dahi What to Eat and Drink During Holi, Indias Festival of Colors

Photo: The Chef and Her Kitchen

This Indian chaat (savory snack food) is prepared by soaking fitters made from lentil, chickpea flour, or potato (known as vadas) in a thick Indian yogurt (known as dahi). The hot deep fried vadas are first put in water, then transferred to thick beaten dahi. For best results, the vadas are soaked for at least a couple of hours before serving. To add more flavor, they can be topped with cilantro or mint leaves, chili powder, crushed black pepper, chaat masala, cumin, shredded coconut, green chilis, or boondi.

Best recipe: Manjula’s Kitchen

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