Holi, a feast of colour and togetherness

Holi, a feast of colour and togetherness

Today is the beginning of Holi, the Hindu festival of colours. It symbolises the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and is also a time to forgive and make new beginnings.

The second day of the festival is “Rangwali Holi” and on this day the streets take on a carnival atmosphere, as people gather to throw handfuls of vibrantly coloured powder in the air. Everywhere and everyone is covered in pink, blue, green and orange and the brighter the powder and the more covered they are, the better! Traditionally, people were soaked with turmeric and flower extracts and sandalwood paste, nowadays, however, synthetic powders and dyed water are more common and you are likely to see people soaking each other with water guns filled with coloured water!

All the excitement is followed by feasting on traditional delicacies such as Thandai, a cold drink prepared with a mixture of almonds, fennel seeds, rose petals, cardamom, saffron, milk and sugar, deep fried sweet dumpling filled with condensed milk and dried fruits and Kachori, a deep fried bread filled with Dal.

Kalpna Woolf, founder of 91 Ways to Build a Global City, has shares with us her family’s recipe for Kachori.


Ingredients (makes 12)

For The Dough

8oz plain flour
4 tbsps warmed sunflower oil
200 ml warm water
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

For The Filling

2 oz split yellow lentils – soaked for 3-4 hours (I have used red lentils too)
1 oz petit pois –defrosted and mashed lightly
1 tbsp cumin seed
1/4 tsp asofedita
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
3 finely chopped green chilles
½  tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp dried garam masala
1 tbsp amchur (dried mango powder)
4 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt to taste

Other Ingredients

Sunflower oil for deep-frying


For the dough

Combine all the ingredients and add the warm water bit by bit until you have a medium soft dough. Knead very well for at least 5 minutes. I use my knuckles to knead the dough.  If dough feels dry, dampen hands and knead. Form into a dough shape and leave covered under a damp cloth.

For the filling

Drain the soaked lentils. Lightly grind or mash with a fork.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and asafoetida.
When the seeds crackle, add the drained lentils and peas and sauté for a 2 minutes.
Grind the ginger and green chillies to make a paste.

Add to the pan with the chilli powder, garam masala, amchur powder and salt and stir for a couple of minutes. Add 100-200 ml of hot water and put the lid on and simmer for around 12 minutes until the mixture is cooked and mixed together.

Forming the Kachoris

Lightly flour the surface

Take a small ball of the dough enough to roll out into a 4inch diameter circle.
Place 1 tbsp of the filling mixture in the centre of the circle
Pinch the dough around the filling mixture
Seal the pinched part tightly and pull up gently and twist into a moneybag shape
Place on a lightly floured surface and gently roll (carefully) into a disc shape
Gently press the edges of the kachori to ease the filling in.

Deep fry the kachoris in hot oil over a slow flame till golden brown on both sides. The kachoris should puff up.

Fry for up to 5  minutes to ensure that the pastry is crispy and the centre is cooked. If the dough gets dry, lightly oil your hands as you roll each ball.

Eat hot with chutney or cool and keep in an airtight container for up to one week.


We are partnering with the Bristish Dal Festival – head over to there website for more information.