Natural ways to colour your food | Recipes | Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

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Natural ways to colour your food

When you play Holi with natural and organic colours, why would you want to use artificial colors from suspiciously small glass bottles in your food? The solution to this is to make your own food colour and really live it up the organic way this holi. Here is how!


Colouring your food red or similar hues is the simplest. All you need is beetroots and some water. Fill a pan with slices of beetroot and just enough water to cover them, boil for about 5 minutes cool and squeeze out the juice through a sieve. You can store this concoction for upto 2 weeks in a sterilized bottle in the fridge. Use as required. You can also use pomegranates, cranberries, rose or hibiscus petals to make this colour too.

Lush Green

When it comes to colouring your food with natures favourite colour there are 2 clear winners. The first one being leafy greens like spinach and parsley, which you need to boil with very little water and blend in a food processor to get a concentrated extract that will be a beautiful green in colour and hardly have any flavour of the original ingredient. The second option is matcha green tea powder – again a beautiful green colour, but since green tea has a pretty strong flavour, you might just be able to get a hint of it in your final recipe – so use wisely!

Sunshine Yellow

There is absolutely no need to worry if you want to naturally tint your food the colour of sunshine and marigolds. Just a pinch of turmeric powder or a tiny piece of fresh turmeric boiled in water will give you a beautiful yellow extract. The great part is that the colour of turmeric is much stronger than the taste or aroma, so you can use just a little bit to colour your food and not be worried about the taste being evident in the final dish.

Royal Purple

The best way to naturally colour your food with this Royal hue is to get your hands on some fabulous purple ube yams. This Filipino tuber varies from a deep violet to a lighter lavender in colour and are easily available on online shopping sites. An easier and cheaper alternative to ube is using crushed blue or black berries.


While squid ink would be the most obvious and popular solution, there is also a vegetarian, more economical option to paint your food black. Forbidden rice or black rice from the hills of North East India and China does job just as well. Just boil the rice in some water and use the pitch black residue starch as a colouring agent, which also has a ton of nutrients.

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.