Holi 2024 USA:  Know What Makes Malpua Special For The Occasion
Image Credit: Malpua for Holi | Wikimedia Commons

The splash of colours makes Holi one of the most cherished festivals. But the festival of colours turns out to be more special for those sweet treats. From getting along with family, and soaking in colours to enjoying festive special treats, are the reasons why Holi is so special.

Although many states in India don't celebrate Holi with colours, one thing is certain, making and enjoying festive special treats. When talking about Holi special foods, the images of Gujiya and Thandai pop into the head and one might think these treats have a special bond with the festival. But surprisingly, they don't hold any historic value for this festival. The one treat that's significantly important for Holi without which the celebration is incomplete is the beloved Malpua.

Yes, you heard it right! These sugar-soaked deep-fried pancakes are more than just a sweet, they hold a significant value in Indian cuisine. Malpua is one of the oldest sweets in India which is also frequently mentioned in the Vedas that dates back to 1500 BC! Read along to know about its history and how it was introduced as a traditional Holi sweet.

Read How Malpua Became The Holi Special Sweet

  • Mention In The Vedas 

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The earliest mention of Malpua dates back to 1500 BC, almost 3500 years ago when it was mentioned as an important treat to serve for welcoming guests. During that time, it was referred to as “apupa” and was primarily made with barley flour rather than wheat or rice flour. Back then, barley was the chief grain used in many forms and dishes because of its strength. For making Malpua, barley batter was fried in ghee and soaked in honey then served warm.

  • Transformation In The Recipe

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In the 2nd Century AD, the recipe started to show the transition in the main ingredients and wheat flour and rice flour were introduced. In the literary works of that time, the recipe of Malpua or apupa was mentioned with ingredients like wheat flour, ghee, milk, mawa, sugar, and pepper, along with other ingredients.

  • Rajputs introducing Malpua in Holi tradition

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Around the same time, Rajputs also started experimenting with the ingredients and replaced honey with sugarcane juice. The variations were made as a result of cultural influences and regional ingredients. Rajputs also included various royal ingredients like saffron in the recipe and made a stuffed version of Malpua with jaggery,  cardamom, pepper, and ginger. These stuffed Malpuas were called Pupalika and became a Holi special treat in the North.

  • Global Influence

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After being popularised by Rajputs, the recipe for Malpua was adapted by the Mughals, who introduced egg in the recipe and made it a part of the Ramadan feast. It also went beyond the borders to Nepal making its Malpuas with refined flour, bananas, fennel seeds and refined sugar. In the Bihar region, it is also served as a salty pancake served with mutton gravy. Bengalis also experimented with this dish and introduced the sugar syrup or chashni version that's known today. This sweet is also popular in Bangladesh and is served with fruits.

  • Being a part of several festivals

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As Malpua is so delicious and irresistible, it became a part of many festivities rather than just Holi. It's consumed on Diwali and Ramadan too as an important part of meals. Another version of Malpua, named Amalu is an essential sweet offered to lord Jagannath in Puri. Every morning, Amalu is offered to god as the first treat of the day and is accompanied by fruits. This version of Malpua is made with thought milk and rice flour and is believed to have been an important offering since the establishment of the temple.

These historic meanings and significance make Malpua a timeless delicacy that still makes everyone drool over its name. Make Malpua on Holi and enjoy its timeless allure while savouring the delectable flavours and dripping chashni.