Embrace Hindu culture with some bhang concoctions this Holi
Think of Holi celebrations, bhang seeps into our imagination unconsciously. For ages, the worshippers of Lord Shiva, as well as general revellers, have loved to partake in bhang consumption during Shivratri, and more popularly, Holi. “Bhang is associated with Lord Shiva and has now become synonymous with Holi. Lord Shiva is said to have discovered the transcendental properties of the mixture. In imitation of Shiva, many sadhus use bhang to boost meditation and achieve transcendental states,” says Vicky Ratnani, head chef of Aurus.
Despite it being part of our culture historically, it must be said that bhang is, essentially, a drug. “Bhang is a powerful intoxicant that is culled from the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant, also called the Indian hemp. It contains the chemical THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that gives a ‘high’,” explains Sunil Athalye, executive chef at Ramada Plaza. The legality of bhang is ambiguous. Bhang cannot be sold or possessed; “However, consumption would not be an offence as bhang is exempted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985,” explains Vishal Thadani, a lawyer. It is generally accepted that the consumption of bhang is a common practice during Holi—just don’t go around selling any.
In true Indian spirit, though, bhang is a relatively elaborate preparation of cannabis leaves and buds. Once the leaves and buds are ground to a paste, milk, spices and optionally ghee and sugar are added. Traditionally, bhang is mixed and consumed in different preparations such as thandais and pakoras; we have listed easy recipes that use bhang.
Mawae bhang Ke LadDoo
(Courtesy Bhairav Singh, Hotel Renaissance)
Malai mawa grated 200 gm; Grain sugar 100 gm; Bhang 60 gm; Almond flakes 40 gm
Take dry malai mawa rub it well. As it gets soft add sugar and mix well. Make round balls of the mawa and stuff bhang into it. Roll the ball in the almond flakes so that it gets coated with it.
Serve it fresh
Khoya 500 gm; Almond paste 50 gm; Bhang 30-40gm; Sugar 100 gm; Ghee 80gm
In a kadhai, heat the ghee. Add the
almond paste and the khoya and mix well. Add the bhang and continue frying on medium fire. When fat starts leaving the side of the kadhai, add the sugar and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes more until sugar is dissolved well and the mixture is thick. Pour on a well greased thali/tray and set for a few hours. Cut into diamonds/fancy shapes and serve.
February 28, 2010