It’s the time of year where most of the world enters cooler territory. The months are darker and the days are shorter. (Or is that just a summary of 2020?)
No matter what the weather is like, be it rainy or cloudy or even still sunny, there’s bound to be certain snacks you’re craving to counter the sky’s vibes and improve your mood. But wait — before you grab that box of mac and cheese, have you ever considered trying out other kinds of comfort foods? India is one of the most diverse countries out there, and is certainly not lacking in the food department!
A lot of native Indian dishes are vegetarian, but for all the hardcore meat-lovers out there, I’m sure you can sneak in a piece of butter chicken somewhere! (Even if you can’t, you seriously shouldn’t miss out on any of these simple Indian dishes.)
Crispy, golden-brown and fried to perfection, bread pakoras (or bread fritters) are the perfect snack for a cool, rainy evening. What makes them a natural favorite of Indians everywhere is how quick they are to make when you’re in the mood for some fast food. The bread slices are cut up into triangular pieces and dipped in chilli atta batter, and are then fried at medium heat until they’re ready. Their heavenly smell is the tell-tale sign that they are ready to be taken out of the pan and served hot with ketchup or green chutney.
A spongy, feel-good-when-you-dig-your-spoon-in kind of snack, dhoklas are a staple for people in North India. It’s made of fermented batter from either chickpeas or rice – it has a yellow finish if it’s made out of chickpeas, while it’s white if made from rice. It is usually topped with spicy seasonings with multiple spicy and mild chutneys on the side. It can be eaten as a snack or a meal, so it doesn’t matter where the sun is in the sky – if you’re in the mood for some chewy, flavorful and fulfilling goodness no matter what time it is, then by all means whip up some dhokla!
Okra Curd Rice
The ideal food for weather that refuses to drop its degrees, okra curd rice is a nice, healthy snack that can also be eaten as a proper meal if you’re up for it. Curd is a feel-good food for so many people in South India because of its cooling sensation and richness; something that is essential for perpetually-hot weather. People on budgets opt for curd rice as a snack since it’s as cheap as it is filling. Besides okra, curd can also be topped with anything else you like, another favorite being mangoes. The cold sweet and sour combination is unbeatable!
Popular all over India, poha is steamed and flattened rice seasoned with the choicest spices and vegetables. It doesn’t require much cooking as the rice is parboiled before preparation. Like curd, poha is easily digestible and is good for the mind and body, too. Many schools and universities in India serve steaming hot poha on chilly afternoons; and it’s one of the dishes nobody would complain about! If you don’t believe cafeteria food can actually be good, you certainly haven’t had a bowl of poha yet.
Also known as gupchups, pani puri is one of the most iconic snacks of Kolkata. The ‘puri’ is a kind of deep-fried crepe in which chili and masala are stuffed; and the ‘pani’ is flavored spicy water that you dip the puri in to fill it up completely. They’re small enough to fit in your mouth whole, and should ideally be eaten that way for maximum crunch pleasure! The combined flavors all explode in your mouth and can easily light up the darkest of days. They are easy to prepare, since puris and the pani mixture can be bought ready-made from any convenience store. Pani puri can also make sure you get enough fluids!
Which of these Indian dishes is your favorite?
Are there any other Indian comfort foods you enjoy? Let us know in the comments!
Header by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis