It’s my first Holi in Delhi and that it’s an explosion on my senses, is an understatement.
It’s a frenzied pandemonium of colours.
Bright crimsons flirt with fluorescent pinks. Electric greens complement shy violets.
Colours arrive in varied textures – entire packets of gulaal are emptied till the powder sends me into fits of sneezing; nondescript pellets are dissolved in water and poured over till I am dripping wet, brash pichkaris and an assortment of Holi guns fire indiscriminately at me and balloons filled with coloured water are hurled when I least expect the missile.
But by far the most lethal is when the colours are added to what feels like some spurious oil and smeared on my face by a pair of clandestine hands that have stalked me in stealth and sprung suddenly out of nowhere.
I am no longer myself.
There’s no holding back.
I surrender to the euphoria that’s Holi.
There’s song and dance, mirth and laughter, camaraderie and cordiality.
Oh, and a sinful feast to satiate the taste buds.
Gujiyas are gorged by the dozens.
Mischievous chaats tease my palate.
Bhang-laced thandai flow for the adventurous few who are keen to explore, I guess, the sublime.
And it’s lassi flavoured with thandai masala for the more sober ones.
A decade has flown.
It’s not the same revelry for Holi any longer. Some years back I even stopped doing colours.
And as for Holi feasts, I have started watching sugars, not just mine but for the family.
But how can a Holi pass without a Thandai ?
I stand wondering how best to do justice to my aromatic thandai masala while not inviting a sugar rush.
And that’s when it strikes me – why not try a thandai kebab ?
Thandai Kebab. Succulent paneer. A kiss of fresh cream. A fragrant smear of thandai masala. A hint of black peppercorn for those who love the heat. Pan-grilled till a gorgeous golden.
This is divine !!!
My Thandai Kebab – a must try when spring is still in the air and that bottle of thandai masala you lovingly made just a week back still adorns your kitchen shelves.
- 250 g fresh paneer cut into bite sized pieces
- 1.5 tbsp thandai masala powder recipe below
- 1/2 cup fresh whole cream
- 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
- oil for roasting
- salt to taste
Thandai Masala Powder
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup cashew nuts
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- 2 tbsp melon seeds
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 tbsp dried rose petals
- 3 tsp green cardamom
- 1 tbsp black pepper corns
- few saffron strands
- Soak the paneer cubes in warm water with a pinch of salt for 10-15 odd minutes. Drain the water completely, pat dry.
- In a mixing bowl, add the fresh cream, thandai masala, black pepper powder and salt. Mix well. Adjust seasonings
- Add the paneer cubes, give it a gentle mix. Ensure the paneer cubes are coated generously with the marinade.
- Cover the bowl, keep aside for an hour or so.
- Gently insert 4-5 paneer cubes into each skewer.
- Heat a tawa, grease lightly with oil.
- Place the paneer skewers on the hot tawa. Cook for 2 minutes till the paneer cubes catch a light brown - golden tinge. Keep rotating the skewers to ensure the paneer cubes are browned evenly on all sides.
- Serve hot.
Thandai Masala Powder
- Blitz all the ingredients listed above in a blender to make a smooth powder. Your thandai masala is ready.
- Feel free to store in an airtight container for about a week or so.