News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

Rediff News  All News  » Getahead » Traditional Bengali recipes for Holi

Traditional Bengali recipes for Holi

Last updated on: March 15, 2014 00:11 IST

Image: Aloo Dum
Photographs: Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay/Wikimedia Commons Aditi Bose

The festival of colours is once again here. Holi marks the onset of Spring -- the season of new life. As with other festivals in India, food is an important part of this festival too.

Here are some traditional and flavorful tastes from Bengal for this colorful festival. So what are you waiting for? Read on and make these mouth-watering dishes at home today.

Aloo Dum

Reminds me of those days when grandma used to make aloo dum and luchi (puri) for lunch. It felt heavenly after the morning long play with colours.


  • 10 small potatoes
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 spoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 spoons yogurt
  • 1/2 spoon chili powder
  • 2 crushed black peppercorn
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 2 green chili
  • A spoon of crushed dry red chili
  • 2 spoons of a mixture of 2 star anise, methi seeds and 2 spoons of hing
  • 3-4 spoons ghee
  • A little salt
  • A little coriander powder
  • A little amchoor powder


  • Boil the potatoes in water with a pinch of salt
  • Once partially done remove and allow it to cool
  • Peel the skin and prick them with a fork
  • In a pan take 2 teaspoons of oil and heat it
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste, salt, crushed pepper and half a spoon of chili powder
  • Stir it for 30 seconds and then toss the potatoes
  • Fry the potatoes till they begin to turn golden
  • In a separate pan heat the ghee
  • Add the bay leaves and the methi powder mixture
  • Next add the chopped tomatoes and the green chili
  • Fry altogether for 5 minutes
  • Lower the flame and add the potatoes
  • Add 2 teaspoons of yogurt and a pinch of coriander and amchoor powder
  • Stir all together
  • Add a cup of water and salt to taste.
  • Simmer till potatoes are done.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and serve

Click here for more recipes and food features!

Khasta Kochuri

Image: Khasta Kochuri
Photographs: Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia Commons

Its spicy and tangy taste, its flakiness conjures up memories of sitting with friends on a terrace planning who to throw a balloon at next. 


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup moong daal
  • 1 cup gram flour
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala powder
  • 2 teaspoons crushed pomegranate seeds
  • 1 teaspoon amchoor powder
  • Salt


  • Heat a cup of oil in a pan.
  • Add the moong dal and stir.
  • Lower the flame and add gram flour, garam masala, aamchoor powder and the crushed pomegranate seeds.
  • Stir it for a few minutes and remove from flame and keep.
  • Take the flour in a deep dished bowl
  • Add to it the oil and salt
  • Knead till a smooth dough is formed
  • Divide into equal lumps
  • Roll each into circles
  • Add a little of the daal mixture to each flattened dough circle
  • Close the fillings with the dough (shaped like tiny bags) and then flatten it a bit
  • In a pan heat oil and add the kachodis in one by one
  • Once they puff up and begin to turn brown remove from the flame
  • Repeat the process with rest of the kachodis


Image: Malpua
Photographs: ampersandyslexia/Wikimedia Commons

Malpua formed an intricate part of the gastronomic, high calorie family dinner every Holi. Of course others like lavanga lotika and gujjias were never left out either.


  • Oil for frying
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 cups full cream milk
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of baking powder
  • 1 spoon fennel seeds
  • Saffron strands
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder


  • In a dish take the flour and slowly add the milk to it forming the batter
  • Add 2-3 spoons of sugar, a pinch of salt and the baking powder to it
  • Stir again to remove all the lumps
  • Roast the fennel seeds lightly in a pan and add to the batter
  • Stir in the fennel seeds into it well
  • The batter should be smooth and of pouring consistency
  • Cover the dish and let the batter stay for an hour
  • In the mean time prepare the sugar syrup
  • In a pan take a cup of water and 2 cups of sugar.
  • In low flame bring it to a boil
  • Once it begins to get a little sticky, add a few saffron strands and the cardamom powder
  • Stir it for a few seconds and remove from flame
  • In a fresh pan heat enough oil for deep frying.
  • Make sure that the oil is smoking hot
  • Take a spoon of the batter and slowly pour it into the oil
  • The batter shouldn't stick to the bottom but instead will rise fluffed up to the
  • Flip the side once one side is browned
  • Drain the oil and place on a tissue paper
  • Soak it into the sugar syrup for 15-20 seconds and place on the serving plate
  • Garnish with slivers of peeled almonds and serve
Tags: 1


Image: Sandesh
Photographs: Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia Commons

Mum made sandesh with a twist. Instead of jaggery, she just used sugar. And then added different food colour to create sandesh of varied hue. Just right for this colourful festival. 


  • 5 cups full cream mill
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3-4 spoons liquid jaggery (take a piece of jaggery and melt it in a pan with a little water if the liquid variety is not available)


  • In a pan boil the milk
  • Once it begins to bubble, lower the flame a little add the lemon juice (make sure that there are no seeds in the juice). This will curdle the milk
  • Once the water begins to separate remove from flame and let it sit for a few seconds
  • Use a large sized strainer to drain out the water and collect the chhana.
  • Wash it a little with warm water and let the water drain out
  • Place the chhana in a cheese cloth and tie the ends of it.
  • Keep it on a dish and place a heavy object over it so that all the liquid drains out
  • Let it stay that way for an hour
  • Then knead the chhana for around 5 minutes.
  • Add the sugar and jaggery and knead again till they have been totally mixed in.
  • Once done it should look (colour and consistency) of a smooth ball of dough.
  • Take small lumps of it and roll them into tiny balls
  • LEAVE THEM LIKE THIS IF YOU PLEASE. This is called Kaancha Golla.
  • If you wish to cook it then add the dough consistency chhana to a pan and toss it around for 5 minutes or so at low heat.
  • Remove it from the flame and give it shape with your hands or in a mould while its still
  • If you wait for it to cool then it will harden and you won't be able to shape it.
  • Decorate it with saffron strands or tiny nut pieces

Sesame Fish Fry

Image: Sesame Fish Fry
Photographs: Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia Commons

Bengalis and fish are synonymous. And no festival is ever complete without itm neither was this. The sesame seed was the special touch that my best friend's mum added.


  • 5 pieces Bhetki fillet
  • Paste of 2 onions  
  • 1 table spoon ginger garlic paste 
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 2 spoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3rd cup sesame seed
  • Salt to taste


  • Mix the vinegar, salt, ginger garlic paste, onion paste and the chilli paste together
  • Evenly spread it on both sides of the fish fillets and marinate it for an hour
    Whip the eggs
  • Coat the marinated fish and then roll them a bed of the sesame seeds. 
    Heat enough oil in a pan to deep fry the fillets fry them till both sides turn brown
  • Place in a kitchen napkin to drain excess oil Serve hot with onion rings and mint 
Tags: Bhetki

Narkol Naaru

Image: Narkol Naaru
Photographs: Courtesy

Mum made narkol naru to offer to the Lord. And once the puja was over, all the kids were there to gobble them all up.


  • 2 coconuts -- grated
  • 1 kg rice flour
  • 1 kg jaggery
  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds


  • Mix all the well
  • Take small lumps of the coconut mixture and roll into balls
  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Once it begins to smoke, deep fry them
  • Place in a kitchen napkin to drain excess oil

Mochar Ghonto

Image: Mochar Ghonto
Photographs: Mohamed Amarochan/Wikimedia Commons

Holi means springtime. And nature is in its full bloom now. So also the banana flowers (mocha). But obviusly it thus became a family 'must eat' food during Holi. 


  • 1 banana flower (Mocha)
  • 2 Potatos
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of: turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 table spoon mustard oil


  • Take out the flower and chop them finely
  • Soak the chopped flowers in a deep dish filled with water
  • Boil this and then drain the flowers out
  • In a pan, take a little oil and fry the potatoes till soft
  • Keep aside
  • In the same pan add ghee and garam masala, fry for a few seconds
  • Add the boiled flowers and the other spices
  • Add the potatoes and stir for a few seconds
  • Lower the flame and add some water
  • Allow the vegetables to coo well
  • Before serving sprinkle some garam masala powder over it and pour a little ghee over it too

Aloo Kochuri

Image: Aloo Kochuri
Photographs: Miansari66/Wikimedia Commons

I don't remember the name of the shop but it had been one in one of the narrow lanes in Mathura. And it was during Holi. The taste still lingers on even to this day.


  • 10 medium sized potatoes
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 2 chopped green chilies
  • 1 tea spoon cardamom powder
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Sugar and salt to taste


  • Boil the potatoes
  • Peel them and mash it
  • Mix the arrowroot powder and the salt and knead it well
  • Cover and keep aside
  • Mix the coconut with the cardamom, chilies, sugar and lemon juice
  •  Take a little lump of the potato mixture and make a dent in the middle
  • Put the filling into it and cover it (like a pouch)
  • Flatten it with your hands
  • Repeat the process with the rest of the potato dough
  • Deep fry in hot oil until brown
  • Serve hot with mint chutney