Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pichkari Thandai - Holi re!!! Holi re!!!!

Happy Holi!!!!. As you all know friends, Holi is the festival of colors and also the celebration of harvest marking the climax of spring. Bonfires are lit marking both  the end of winter and death of evil and proceeds from seasonal harvest grains, coconuts etc offered to the holy flames.
Holi comes on last full moon day of lunar month Phalguna also called as Phalgun Poornima as per Hindu calendar which falls in month of march.  On this day people have fun throwing color powder and spray the colour using pichkari (toy gun filled with colourful water) at each other.

Holi festival marks the day when the devotee of Lord Vishnu, Bakht Prahlad, seated on the lap of demoness Holika was saved from the effect of the fire by God and the demoness got burnt instead. Here is the detail story taken from wikipedia - Please read  << In Vaishnavism, Hiranyakashipu is the great king of demons, and he had been granted a boon by Brahma, which made it almost impossible for him to be killed. The boon was due to his long penance, after which he had demanded that he not be killed "during day or night; inside the home or outside, not on earth or in the sky; neither by a man nor an animal; neither by astra nor by shastra". Consequently, he grew arrogant and attacked the Heavens and the Earth. He demanded that people stop worshipping Gods and start praising respectfully to him.

According to this belief, Hiranyakashipu's own son, Prahlada, was a devotee of Vishnu. In spite of several threats from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada continued offering prayers to Vishnu. He was poisoned by Hiranyakashipu, but the poison turned to nectar in his mouth. He was ordered to be trampled by elephants yet remained unharmed. He was put in a room with hungry, poisonous snakes and survived. All of Hiranyakashipu's attempts to kill his son failed. Finally, he ordered young Prahlada to sit on a pyre in the lap of Holika, Hiranyakashipu's demoness sister, who also could not die because she had a boon preventing her from being burned by fire. Prahlada readily accepted his father's orders, and prayed to Lord Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, everyone watched in amazement as Holika burnt to death, while Prahlada survived unharmed. The salvation of Prahlada and burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi. >>

(Image Courtesy – Wikipedia)

As you all know each hindu festival has its own particular snacks on its  particular day  like Modak on Ganesh chaturthi, Patoli on Nag Panchami, Tilgul on Sankranthi etc. Holi is known for Thandai and Gujiyas or Koronji. Thandai is special beverage which is prepared with spices and nuts which also adds medicinal values to your body and gujiya are fried pastry snack which has flavorful filling prepared with khoya, coconut and dry fruits. Click for Mawa Gujiya recipe
The very common secret of some local places is people serve thandai mixed with bhaang. Bhaang is the local liquor which is not considered as drug but has sleeping aid and it has many medicinal values as per Ayurveda. 

  • Whole Almonds - 1/4 cup
  • Cashew nuts - 2 tbsp
  • Pistachios - 2 tbsp
  • Poppy seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Whole peppercons - 10
  • Green cardamom pods - 4
  • Milk - 5 cups
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Brown sugar + white sugar - 1 cup ( adjust as per your taste)
  • Few saffron strands
  • Rose water - 1 tsp
  • Rose syrup - 4 tbsp
  • Sliced almonds and chopped pistachios - to garnish

  • Soak  whole almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom pods and peppercons into 1 cup of water for overnight.
  • Then morning grind the soaked ingredients to smooth paste. If you need more water while grinding, you may add.
  • Then pour 4 cups of milk into one pot and bring it to boil.
  • Add grounded paste and stir well. Allow it to boil on medium flame for atleast 10 to 15  minutes.
  • Mix in brown sugar, saffron strands and rose water. turn off the flame and allow to cool the milk completely.
  • At the time of serving mix in rose syrup into thandai and then garnish with sliced almonds and chopped pistachios at the top. Serve chilled....Enjoy


  • Few people prefer to grind the soaked ingredients into milk. But I prefer water.
  • You can also preserve grounded paste into freezer for later use. But if you refrigerate it, it may hardly stay for 1 to 2 days.
  • Rose water is optional. But I recommend to use for extra rich flavour.
  • Thandai can also be served without adding rose syrup.