The rainy season is when certain foods make an appearance which everyone craves for on those glum days. With the Monsoon comes those Street Food stalls serving pipping hot fried crispy treats, steaming hot & spicy foods and popular hot beverages like Masala Chai and coffee. These comfort foods give you that warm feeling inside and make any rainy day perfect. So here’s a list of India’s Monsoon Cravings:
List of India’s Monsoon Cravings
Butta (Roasted Corn)
If the monsoon is here, can the bhutta or corn be far behind? You can find bhutta vendors on every street corner, roasting the cobs over red hot coals in their sigdis (barbecues). They take a slice of lemon, dip it in salt and chilli power and rub it over the roasted bhutta, for a quick, mouth-watering snack.
Bhajiyas also known as Pakoda are batter fired vegetables like Potato slices, eggplant, onion, spinach, paneer (cottage cheese), capsicum (bell peppers) or even whole green chillies. The sliced vegetables are dipped in a batter made from besan(a chickpea flour), spices like chilli powder, turmeric and jeera and water and then deep fried. It’s similar to a fritter. The most popular varieties are palak pakora, made from spinach, paneer pakora, made from paneer (soft cheese), and pyaz pakora, made from onion. When onions, on their own, are prepared in the same way, they are known as onion bhujia or bhaji. Best Served with a green chutney made of mint,coriander (cilantro) with chillies and ketchup.
The samosa is arguably the most enduring of Indian snacks. Traditionally samosas in India have triangular or conical shapes. Savoury samosas are usually served with a chutney of some sorts. The Typical a samosa is fried pastry with a spicy potato and vegetable stuffing. Samosa’s are perfect monsoon treats best eaten hot so that when you bite into the crispy buttery pastry you are greeted by a steaming potato filling. Samosas are often served in chaat, along with the traditional accompaniments of yogurt, chutney, chopped onions and coriander, and chaat masala.
There’s nothing better than a cup of pipping hot spiced tea better known as Masala Chai on a dull rainy day.
Characteristically Chai, is a full bodied tea boiled with water and milk together while the sugar can be added while boiling the tea or after. Masala Chai is brewed with different combinations of warm spices like peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger. There is no standard recipe for making Masala Chai and you can use different spices according to taste.
Pav Bhaji another monsoon favourite is a dish of mixed veggies together with boiled potatoes, spices and enormous dollops of butter and mashed into a sizzling vegetable dish and cooked on a special flat griddle. This bhaji is served with rolls of bread called pav that have been likewise drowned in butter. The final touch: the dish is topped with raw onion slices and lemon wedges. The whole mess is simply heaven on a plate. All that butter and the heat from the spices makes this dish perfect for a rainy day.
Idli -Vada with piping hot Sambhar
Though eaten throughout the year in the South of India, Idli-Vada is especially comforting in the monsoon when had with some piping hot Sambar. Idli’s are steamed fermented rice and lentil cakes. They are white fluffy cakes served in pairs and accompanied with a coconut chutney and sambhar. Vadas are deep fried doughnut shaped snack made from dal and lentils. There are different types of vadas made using different lentils and dals. Not to be mistaking with a western doughnut these vadas are not sweet but actually contain spices like ginger, curry leaves and chilies. Sambar is essentially a pea and vegetable stew or broth made with tamarind and toor dal, and is very popular in the cooking of southern regions of India especially Tamil Nadu. It accompanies almost every meal in the south and snacks like the Idli-Vada too.
Wada/ Vada Pav
Unlike the Vada mention above, which is a South speciality, the Vada or wada used in the famous Maharashtrian Vada Pav is a deep fried potato patty served in the bread called Pav. The potatoes are mashed or diced, made into balls, coated and mixed with green chilies, ginger and a tadka (tempering) of mustard seeds and turmeric. These balls are then dipped in an herb-seasoned batter made with gram flour, then it is deep fried. The finished vada is then wrapped in bread and served with condiments such as chutney, red chili powder or green chilies (sometimes fried and salted). The chutneys are often made of coconut or garlic. This fiery Indian Burger is very popular in the Monsoon.
In the North and North-east a dish of Tibetan origin is hugely popular- Momo’s. They are the similar to the Chinese dimsum. Momos are made of a simple flour-and-water dough and sometimes a little yeast or baking soda is added to give a more ‘doughy’ texture to the finished product. The dough is fashioned into smaller circular flat pieces. It’s usually filled with minced meat, either beef, lamb,chicken or pork along with onions, herbs like cilantro (coriander),spices and seasonings. The fillings are then enclosed either in a circular fashion or in a half moon shape or crescent. The resulting dumplings are then cooked by steaming over a soup (either a stock based on bones or tomato-based), which is served with the dumplings, as well as chili sauce. They may also be pan-fried or deep-fried after being steamed.