Every year as we welcome new innings, Lohri marks the beginning of festivities in North India. While there lies a beautiful and deep significance behind celebrating this festival, most of us look at it as a reason to gather, dance, enjoy authentic Punjabi food, and feel the warmth of the fire in the cold winter.
Over the years, the way in which Lohri is celebrated has changed significantly. However, what remains unaltered is the bonfire, dressing up in vibrant colours, dancing enthusiastically to the majestic beats of the dhol, and enjoying delectable Lohri special food items like sarson ka saag, masaledaar chole bhature, til ki barfi, and til ki chikki.
To make this festival even more special and auspicious, we bring to you some on-point and easy recipes of the ideal Lohri dishes and Lohri sweets. So let’s get started:
1. Sarson ka saag with makki ki roti
Sarson ka saag, a classic Punjabi and famous Lohri dish, tastes best with makki ki roti. Let’s begin with this Lohri food recipe.
For sarson ka saag
- 500 gm mustard leaves
- 200 gm bathua leaves
- 200 gm spinach leaves
- 1-inch piece ginger
- 7-8 cloves garlic
- 2 large tomatoes
- 2 large onions
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 2 tbsp desi ghee
- 1 tsp dry mango powder
- 1 tbsp makke ka atta (unrefined maize flour)
- 3-4 green chilies
- 1 tsp red chilli powder (or less as per taste)
- Salt to taste
- White butter to garnish
For makki ki roti
- 3 cups Makki ka Atta
- Hot water (as required to knead the dough)
- ½ tsp salt
- Butter (as required smearing on roti)
For sarson ka saag
- Peel and chop the thick stems of the mustard leaves, and wash them properly. Wash the mustard leaves and steam along with the chopped stems.
- In a pot, boil five cups of water. Blanch the bathua and spinach leaves in it for 3 to 4 minutes, and remove the leaves from the water. Submerge them in cold water for about 10 minutes.
- Drain the water properly and blend the cooked bath and spinach leaves to a coarse paste.
- Now, chop the mustard leaves finely, pressure cook them with a cup of water for around 10 minutes or until they are mushy.
- Finely chop the onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes. Make a slit in the green chillies.
- Heat ghee in a pan. Once hot, add the chopped onions and saute till they turn light golden in colour.
- Add the ginger and garlic, and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the garam masala and red chilli powder, and saute the mixture for another 30 seconds
- Add chopped tomatoes and salt, and cook on medium flame until the oil separates from this masala.
- Now add the mustard, bathua, and spinach leaves along with the green chillies. Mix them well.
- Allow this to cook for around 15 minutes on a low flame, mashing the mixture with the back of your ladle to ensure there are no chunky pieces. Keep a check on the flame!
- Mix makki ka atta in ¼ cup water and add to the saag. Mix this well and keep cooking the saag on a low flame for 10 more minutes.
- Remove the pan from the fire, add a chunk of white butter, and serve it hot with makki ki roti and jaggery.
For makki ki roti
- Add a pinch of salt to makki ka atta and knead a soft dough with moderately hot water.
- Make balls out of this dough (maybe a little bigger than you usually do) and roll out each of them to the size and thickness of your choice.
- Cook the rotis well on both sides on a medium-hot griddle.
- Remove the roti and grease it with butter. Serve hot with sarson ka saag.
Sarson ka saag and makki ki roti make for one of the most preferred Lohri food items.
Recipe Courtesy Chef Pankaj Bhadouria, India’s First Masterchef
2. Pindi channe
Here’s the recipe for scrumptious pindi channe for the auspicious festival of Lohri:
For the masala
- 3 tbsp Anardana (crushed)
- 3 - 4 dried Kashmiri chilies
- 2 tsp ajwain
- 8 - 9 cloves
- 10 - 12 black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp Jeera
- 9 - 10 black cardamom
For pindi channe
- 500 gm chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 1 tsp kasuri methi
- 1 tsp amchur powder
- 2 - 3 onions
- 4 - 5 tbsp ghee
- 1 big piece ginger
- 4 - 5 green chillies
- 3 - 4 tomatoes, sliced
- In a pan, roast the coriander seeds, black peppercorns, red chillies, ajwain, jeera, anardana, and black cardamom.
- After roasting the spices, grind them to make a refined blended masala.
- Pressure cook the soaked chickpeas with tea leaves or dried amla to get the dark colour. Save the water in which you cook the chana.
- In a pan, heat the ghee. Add the cooked channa, sliced tomatoes, onions, thinly sliced green chillies and ginger, coriander leaves, channa masala, and amchur powder. Give it a good mix.
- Cover it with a lid and let it cook.
- Add the reserved water to the chana and let it cook for around 7-8 minutes.
- Add the homemade chana masala, let it cook for a couple of minutes.
- Garnish with kasuri methi (you may roast this) and fresh coriander.
Serve this special Lohri dish with either hot bhaturas or puri!
Recipe Courtesy Ajay Chopra, Restaurant Consultant, Host of Master Chef India Season 1& 2
3. Til ki barfee
Enjoy Lohri special sweets with this til ki barfee recipe:
- 250 gm white sesame seeds
- 300 gm sugar
- 50 gm cashew nuts, chopped
- 250 gm mawa (khoya)
- Clean the sesame seeds and roast them until they turn light brown in colour. Remember to roast the seeds in a thick-bottomed pan, otherwise, they might get burnt.
- Let them cool down and grind them in your mixer or blender.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed vessel. Add the mawa to it, and keep stirring it on a medium flame until it starts leaving the sides. Turn off the heat.
- In a separate frying pan, add the sugar with 100 ml of water. Mix until the sugar dissolves. On high flame, keep cooking the sugar syrup for 6 to 7 minutes. To know whether you’ve achieved the desired consistency, press a drop of this syrup (after it has cooled a little) between your forefinger and thumb. It should be as sticky as glue and have wire-like consistency when you open your fingers.
- Add the cashew nuts, ground sesame seeds, and mawa to the syrup. Mix well
- Brush a large plate with some ghee and spread this mixture on it, allowing it to cool for around 2 hours, after which it should be solid.
- Using a knife and cut this solid mixture into shapes of your choice.
Tada! Your til ki barfee, everyone’s favourite Lohri sweet, is ready to serve!
Recipe Courtesy Nisha Madhulika, Indian Chef, Restaurant Consultant
4. Til ki chikki
If til ki barfee isn’t exactly what your heart desires, here’s another Lohri special sweet dish recipe you can try.
- 3/4 cup sesame seeds
- ½ cup jaggery, chopped
- 1½ tsp ghee
- Heat a non-stick, thick-bottomed pan. Add sesame seeds and roast them on a medium flame for around 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let them cool.
- In the same pan, heat some ghee and add jaggery to it. Mix it well and let the mixture cook on a medium flame for around 2-3 minutes. Stir continuously.
- Switch the flame off, and add the roasted sesame seeds to the ghee-jaggery mixture. Mix well.
- Take a medium or large-sized plate and grease it with ghee. Transfer the mixture to it and roll it into a thin circle with a greased rolling pin.
- Cut it into whatever shape or size you want. Once this cools completely, your til ki chikkis will be ready to be stored in airtight containers.
Recipe Courtesy Tarla Dalal, Mumbai
5. Murmura jaggery ladoo
Enjoy this tea time crunchy snack this Lohri.
- 3 cups puffed rice
- 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/4 cup roasted Peanuts
- 1/2 cup jaggery
- 1/4 cup roasted gram dal
- 3 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- Begin with dry roasting puffed rice and desiccated coconut separately and keep them aside.
- In a bowl, mix cardamom powder with all the roasted ingredients (puffed rice, gram dal and desiccated coconut).
- Once done, take a pan and add powdered jaggery with water (1 tbsp) and allow the jaggery to melt on a low flame. Keep stirring it until it thickens.
- When jaggery has reached the soft boil stage*, add the mixture of roasted ingredients and cardamom powder to it carefully. Do not smash the puffed rice.
- Now, switch off the flame and grease your palms with ghee and start making laddoos.
- Murmura Jaggery laddoos are ready to serve.
*You can check this by keeping some water in a bowl. Now, add a drop of jaggery to it to see if forms small droplets. If it does, it has reached the soft boil stage.
Recipe Courtesy Archana Doshi, Archana’s Kitchen
Celebrate the festival with Lohri special food in 2022
As we all know, Lohri celebrations are incomplete without cooking typical winter food items. So, do not miss out on cooking at least one of the dishes that we curated for you—especially now that you have such easy recipes at your disposal!
If you are unable to get together with your loved ones this Lohri, we have an idea for you: set up a Zoom call with them, cook your favourite dishes together, play the best music, and dance your heart out. Sounds fun, right?
May this Lohri be the best one yet for you! Happy Lohri 2022 to you and your loved ones.