07 Mar 2023

Holi Special Food: Culinary customs from all over India

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Holi is a time for colourful celebrations. Friends, families, and communities celebrate together. In most Indian cultures, people make special traditional dishes as an essential part of Holi celebration. 

We’ve put together a list of some special foods that Indians prepare on Holi, in different parts of the country and the globe. Expatriated Indians, who settled in different parts of the world many decades ago, have also created their own special versions of Holi special food based on the local ingredients available in their part of the world.

Holi Special Food that Indians love to eat

Holi Special Gujiya

gujia is a special holi food item

Fod historians believe that gujiya first originated and became popular in the Bundelkhand and Braj region of India. Therefore, Indians all across Central and Northern India relish this dish a lot on Holi. Many families and households make this Holi special food form scratch in their homes too.


malpua are sweet deep fried pancakes made in india on holi

Malpua is a sweet, deep-fried pancake dipped in sugar syrup and served with a condensed milk preparation known as ‘rabri’. People all over the country relish this dish. However, it’s a custom in Uttar PRadesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, and Rajasthan to make this special food on holi!


Kanji is a fermented drink that boosts digestion

Kanji is a fermented drink made with mustard seeds, heeng, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, that’s great for digestion. People from Rajasthan and Gujarat make this drink on Holi. It’s tangy taste comes from the fermentation. 

Puran Poli

puran poli is a holi special food item made in maharashtra. It is a stuffed with a sweet lentil filling

Puran Poli is a sweet flatbread stuffed with a sweetened lentil filling. It is made using ghee (clarified butter), jaggery, and flour. Puran Poli is a most loved Holi special dish in the states of Maharshtra and Gujarat. 

Kathal Ki Sabzi

Kathal ki sabzi or jackfruit preparation is poular in Bihar

People from the state of Bihar have the tradition of making a special preparation with Kathal, or Jackfruit. Made with potatoes, fresh ingredients like onion and coriander, and a mix of Indian spices, it can be quite a delicious affair. 


Gulgule are sweet indian donuts made on holi

Gulgule are lightly sweetened sweet donut made with wheat flour and jaggery. People of North India, especially Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh really enjoy this holi special dish.


thandai is a milk-based drink made on holi

Thandai is a milk-based beverage which has ground nuts, saffron, khas, and more goddess mixed in it. It is particularly popular in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This holi special food is quite the rage all over the country as adults consume it mixed with ground Indian cannabis known as ‘bhaang’ on Holi.

There are many other Holi special food items that people make in their households such as pakore (fritters), dahi bhalle, paapri chaat, mutton curry, etc. So what are your favourite traditional holi special food items? Share with everyone in the comments below!

Hosting a Holi Party this year? Read this blog about all the things you need to prepare for the perfect Holi party.


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