Lohri 2024: 10 Traditional North Indian Festive Dishes To Try
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Lohri, a vibrant festival celebrated predominantly in North India, particularly in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu, marks the end of winter as well as the onset of longer days. Falling on January 13 this year, Lohri signifies the beginning of spring. 

Central to this festival are the traditions of gathering around bonfires, enjoying folk music and dances, and, importantly, savouring traditional foods. Whether you love Sarson Da Saag and Makki Di Roti, Urad dal ki khichdi, or pinni, the true essence of Lohri lies in its authentic culinary delights. These dishes add flavour to the festivities and represent the rich cultural heritage of the region. 

With Lohri 2024 knocking at the door, these traditional easy-to-make recipes will make the celebration a bit more happening. These traditional dishes, from the classic Makki Di Roti and Sarson Da Saag to the delightful Murmura Laddo, tell a story of tradition and togetherness. Precisely, it won’t be an exaggeration to call Lohri, a true festival of culinary joy.

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1) Sarson Ka Saag and Makki Ki Roti
Sarson ka saag and makki ki roti, a beloved Punjabi dish especially popular during Lohri, combines mustard leaves, bathua and spinach, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, onions, with spices like garam masala, dry mango powder, red chilli, and salt. Steam mustard leaves and blanch bathua and spinach, blending them into a paste. Sauté onions, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes in ghee, add the leafy paste, green chillies, and makke ka atta (maize flour), cooking until thick. Serve with white butter. Makki ki roti requires maize flour dough, rolled and cooked until golden, then smeared with butter. Enjoy hot with jaggery.

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2) Urad Dal Khichdi
Urad Dal Khichdi is a nutritious, vegan, gluten-free one-pot meal made in a pressure cooker. It combines soaked basmati rice and split black urad dal with spices like cumin and red chili powder. Start by frying spices in desi ghee, add the rice and dal, and cook with water and salt until done. Finally, mix in more ghee for flavour. Serve this comforting dish hot with sides like yogurt, pickle, aloo bharta, and papad.

Also Read: 7 Variants Of Pinni That You Must Try

3) Murmura Laddu
Murmura Laddu, also known as Pori Urundai, is a vegan, crunchy Lohri snack made from puffed rice and jaggery. To prepare, dissolve jaggery in water, boil to a two-thread consistency, mix in puffed rice, and shape into balls. These laddus are a quick, satisfying snack, adding a delightful crunch once cooled, ideal for Lohri celebrations or midday cravings.

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4) Bhugga
Bhugga, a popular North Indian sweet, is especially enjoyed during Lohri. Made by dry roasting sesame seeds, mixing with a coarse grind of nuts and raisins, then combining with cooked khoya and powdered sugar, it's rolled into balls. This crunchy, nutty sweet is perfect for festivals and adds a warm, delightful treat to enhance the sweetness of any occasion.

5) Chiraunji Makhane ki Kheer
Chiraunji Makhane ki Kheer, a Lohri special, is an easy-to-make, healthy sweet dish. Traditionally prepared with fox nuts (phool makhana), milk, jaggery, ghee, chiraunji, and saffron, it's a healthier kheer variant. Its sweetness can be adjusted to preference, making it a perfect treat for Lohri celebrations, reflecting the harvest festival's spirit of gratitude and abundance.

6)  Til ki Chikki
Til ki Chikki, a Lohri favorite, is a simple sesame seed and jaggery dessert. It's primarily made from sesame seeds (til) and jaggery, ingredients that are not just delicious but also hold significance in Indian traditions, symbolising prosperity and health. The process begins with the sesame seeds being dry-roasted until they turn a beautiful golden hue, ensuring they're fragrant but not burnt. This roasting is crucial as it brings out the nutty flavour of the sesame seeds. 

7) Dahi Bhalle
Dahi Bhalle is a cherished dish in the Lohri festival, has an amazing fusion of flavours and textures. This dish is made from soft, spongy lentil dumplings (bhalle), which are first soaked in water and then immersed in whisked, creamy yogurt (dahi). The bhallas are typically made from a batter of ground urad dal, seasoned with spices, then deep-fried to golden perfection. The key to their softness lies in their soaking, which makes them absorb the yogurt better. Garnished with coriander and green chillies, this curd-based dish is a refreshing Lohri treat, aiding digestion and adding a healthy dimension to festive meals.

8) Gobi ke Pakode
Gobi ke Pakode, a Lohri festival favourite, are delectable crispy fritters. These quick and easy-to-make starters feature a variety of vegetables like cauliflower (gobi), onions, and potatoes, each sliced or chopped and seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices. The vegetables are then dipped into a smooth batter made from gram flour (besan), adding spices like turmeric, chilli powder, and ajwain for extra flavour. Once coated, the pieces are deep-fried in hot oil until they attain a perfect golden-brown crispiness. Typically served hot, Gobi ke Pakode are often accompanied by tangy green coriander chutney.

9)  Aate Ka Halwa
Aate ka Halwa, also a Lohri special, is a traditional North Indian sweet dish that exudes rustic charm and rich flavours. This wholesome halwa is made from simple yet indulgent ingredients, primarily whole wheat flour (atta). The flour is slowly roasted in a generous amount of desi ghee (clarified butter) until it turns a lovely golden brown, releasing a nutty aroma that is quintessential to this dish. Sugar is then added along with water, which transforms the mixture into a smooth, velvety pudding. For added flavour and texture, cardamom powder, almonds, and cashews are incorporated. The key to its irresistible taste lies in the liberal use of ghee

10) Pinni
Pinni, a winter delicacy, is a Lohri staple in North India. Made from wheat flour, ghee, sugar, dry fruits, and cardamom, these sweet balls are a treat. Prepared in large batches for Lohri, they're known for their melt-in-the-mouth texture and are stored to enjoy throughout winter, embodying the festival's warmth and joy.

From the rich and creamy Chiraunji Makhane ki Kheer to the crunchy Til ki Chikki, each dish holds the warmth and joy of this harvest festival. Whether it's the savoury Gobi ke Pakode or the delightful Dahi Bhalle, these recipes not only offer a taste of authentic Punjabi cuisine but also bring families together in celebration. Perfect for both novice and experienced cooks, these dishes promise to make your Lohri celebration memorable and delicious.