Jharkhand Thaali

The Holi Tales

Legend says that the holy festival of Holi started with an innocent question of a curious Krishna who was teased by Radha and the other gopis for his dark skin color. Bewildered, he runs to his mother Yashoda and asks why she made him black while Radha was fair. This was pure injustice. He felt really sad about this. Yashoda, hearing this, chuckles and rubs turmeric paste on his sapphire color cheeks and sends him off saying that now his color has changed. The naughty Krishna then run and plucks some kala Jamun fruit for Radha and asks her to close her eyes so that he can feed them to her. Instead, he rubs the dark juice on her cheeks and hands and declares that she too is now dark. On seeing this, all the gopis of Vrindhavan gets overwhelmed with love. They fill their palms with fragrant oil, turmeric paste, fresh butter and start smearing each other’s faces and bodies. They fearlessly throw cheese balls, buttermilk, butter, curd, aromatic oils, and water mixed with turmeric, different fruit juices and Palash flowers extract at each other. Every devotee looked very attractive with their smiling faces and glittering white teeth. Their happy faces seemed more beautiful than the mighty Palash flowers. This incredible display of affection, love and devotion was enough to start the colorful festival of Holi.

The nostalgic memories of this colorful festival always lingers in my mind. The hustle bustle of buying colors, pichkaari (water guns), new clothes to the big list of the grocery items everything was taken care with lots of care, enthusiasm and accuracy. This festival was something everyone looked forward to. Be it for the sumptuous food, family and friends getting together, exchange of gifts or smearing each other with gulaal or color. It was always a hit and never disappointed us in any way. We had a big joint family back then and everything was done in a grand way. The preparations for the festival would start well in advance and we would be gorging on the delicious food for at least a week. Apart from the memories, the other thing which lasted for a couple more weeks were the colors peeping through parts of our face, nails, palms and feet. The enjoyment did make us stand out in our school and each time a teacher saw us, he/she would ensure we are reminded of not studying enough 🙂 But, who cares. Huh!! Its Holi!

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With the passing years, leaving home and being in a different city, I do get nostalgic each time a festival come by. I try to replicate some of the things, if not all, and try to rejoice the moments again. This year I made a full Jharkhand Holi Thaali. Now, my Maa might not agree to this. This is not even half of the Holi recipes. I know, some of the major things are missing in this. I will add them next year. Maybe. Till then, enjoy this please 🙂

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I hope and pray that each one of you reading this now, your life gets filled with colors of joy, love, enthusiasm, optimism, faith and gratitude. You give and receive love with open arms. The joy and happiness never leaves your life and you can pass the harmony to others through your deeds.

Love to all!

Simply JharkhanDish ♥

I grew up in a typical Jharkhand household, eating the rustic homecooked authentic dishes. Cooking was solely constrained to Maa, grandma and aunts. I remember the kitchen hustling and bustling from dawn till late night. We had a typical mud stove (of course apart from the kerosene stove and the gas stove) and all the major food was cooked in that. The kitchen was always filled with the aroma of different mouthwatering food. The steam arising from the different dishes, the tempering of different spices, the colorful freshly plucked veggies right from the home garden, the wooden fire and ladles dancing high and low to the tunes of the skilled hands are some of the memories which still lingers in my mind when I think of Jharkhand food.

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Back then, everyday food was mostly vegetarian. Meat, fish and eggs were either reserved for the Sunday afternoon or on the arrival of special guests. Everyday food was rustic yet delicious and fulfilled the heart, mind and soul. I barely remember ever going out and eating meals in a restaurant there. As any kid of that era would say, I loved only my Maa’s hand cooked food… and no, no one could make me think otherwise.

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Of late, while having a conversation with friends about all the different things including food, this question popped up. “What do you mean when you say a Jharkhandi thaali? I have never heard or had one ever. Do you know any place where I can go and try it?” I had no clue where they can go and try a platter of authentic Jharkhand dishes. Forget about having it in a different state, I doubt if any restaurant or Dhaba in Jharkhand itself offers anything of this kind! Well, as far as I know. This left me with only one option, to cook some of the authentic recipes or try to prepare at least something and serve it to them.

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My guests were happy and so was I. It makes me immense happy to showcase a tiny beautiful piece of the beauty from where I belong. Love, food, laughter and friends aren’t they the best gifts? I have been sharing the food memories often and will continue to do so with you all. Leaving you with a sweet note today. May the sweet potion of your life always stay with you 🙂

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Cheers!

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