Winter is here and so is the craving for a variety of foods. Winter delights when served hot in the chills while snuggling up in the warm blankets, seem like heaven to us. In addition, with the change of climate, our body demands changes such as the lack of hot and spicy food. In our country we make the most of seasonal vegetables by mixing them with spices and homemade flavors. In addition, there are also outlets for meat lovers.
1. Koraishuti’r Kochuri
A winter morning breakfast can be made perfect with Koraishuti’r Kochuri. Served with Notun Aloo’r Dum or Sada Aloo’r Torkari or Chola’r Dal, Koraishuti’r Kochuri is a popular dish in West Bengal. When fresh green peas (koraishuti) are stuck and stuffed inside the dumpling, and after making flatbread it is fried in oil, it makes delicious Koraishuti’r Kochuri. Cumin, star fruit, dried red chillies, asafoetida (hing), ginger, and other house spices give way to the secret flavor of kochuri. Or you can gobble up this special winter recipe at Bengali sweet shops or at home.
2. Notun Aloo’r Dum
It can be considered as a must dish for winters in the homes of West Bengal. Notun Aloo or new potatoes have a distinguished taste and when cooked in Bengali style potato curry, the dish is sure to satisfy your appetite. Often served with luchi or Koraishuti’r kochuri, Notun Aloo’r Dum is savory, spicy, and garnished with green peas and coriander leaves.
3. Gajar Ka Halwa
With the arrival of winter, the vegetable markets are filled with colours. Among most vegetables, fresh, bright red, juicy carrots make their way through it. Carrots are used in a variety of dishes and the most popular in the winter season is Gajar Ka Halwa. Coming from the north of the country, the sweet dish is well known in all Indian houses and restaurants. Made from ghee, nuts, carrots, and sugar, the sweet dish was first mentioned in a book called ‘Kitab-al-Tabikh’ in the 13th century in the Middle East.
Very popular in the state of Gujarat, Undhiyu is made from a vegetable called papdi. Papdi is a vine that only grows in winter. The word ‘undhu’, which in Gujarati means upside down, suggests that the dish is prepared upside down underground in clay pots with a continuous flame from above. Along with other vegetables like brinjal, sweet potatoes, peas and others with a lot of ghee, they are mixed with spices and made into a dry spicy vegetable stew. This special vegetable dish is often eaten with puris, roti or traditionally with methi muthiyas. In addition, the dish includes fenugreek, which is an essential ingredient to consume in winter as it keeps the cold at bay.
Makar Sankranti is a cherished winter festival in most Bengali households and it would not be complete without Patishapta. The sweet dish is a kind of crepe or pancake made from a rice flour mix including refined flour and semolina and filled with shredded caramelized coconut or traditional kheer. Crispy Patishapta can be eaten well with fresh ‘nolen gur’.
Winter mornings are perfect for meat lovers if served with Nihari. Prepared first by hakims, for Shah Jahan, and then for the Emperor of India in the historic city of present-day Delhi known as Shahjahanabad, Nihari became a popular dish overnight. Food historians claim that the emperor consulted the hakims who used to care for food in the royal kitchen to devise a dish that would bring people relief by acting as medicine against seasonal coughs and colds. Therefore, Nihari was made. In particular, Nihari was meant to be eaten early in the morning on an empty stomach, especially on winter mornings to soothe winter ailments. The dish is cooked overnight with large cuts of beef, lamb, or mutton along with spices, flour, and lard. The combination is Nihari and khameeri roti is what people crave for.
7. Thoran beets
A southern Indian winter delicacy, thoran is cooked with one of the most popular cold season vegetables, beets. The dish is nutritious and full of flavors. The special winter dish is cooked with chilies, turmeric and coconut and beets are fried with homemade spices. The dish is often served with rice. Plus, the perfect blend of sweet and spicy soothes chills.