Crossing the sweltering summer season, when the monsoon arrives, it relieves us with a cool breeze, nostalgic smell of mud-soaked in the rain, imaginative cloudy sky, and a soothing atmosphere. Nature outside wears the skin of unpredictability and looks like an artist’s paint book. Like all seasons, this season also has its favourite food types. But, if you look closely, you will see that the food cravings for monsoon season have similarities with the winter season. That’s probably because of the temperature drop and milder weather. Whatever the reason it is, there is a beautiful satisfying feeling of enjoying a platter of hot and spicy food with the sight of rain outside.
Here is a list of those food items which India loves to savor during the monsoon season.
A hot cup of ginger tea is common in all seasons but during the monsoon days (and also winter), the craze for it rises. Ginger has medicinal values and all the diseases that arise during rainy seasons like stomachache, fever, or cold are treated by it. That’s why the demand for a cup of ginger tea is more when it is raining outside. The weather remains unpredictable in this season – the temperature drops down (relieving the scorching sun rays) but at the same time the humidity stays intact. Many daily commuters get drenched in rain while going or coming back from work or school. This ginger tea surely helps.
For the tea lovers – they get another excuse to have more tea along with snacks and enjoy the view of the beautiful nature outside.
Onion, potatoes, or chilies are dipped in a batter of gram flour mixed with spices and then deep-fried in refined oil or mustard oil. Along with a cup of tea, these fritters are a must all over India to enjoy a party or simply as an evening snack shared with family members. If you take a look at any regular Maharashtrian home, you will find the wild greens like Shewla and Phodshi turned into fritters. The leaves of colocasia are also fried with besan in many parts of the country and savoured well.
Some prefer to have them with mint chutney, schezwan sauce, tomato sauce, mustard sauce, or plain curd. Then there are some people like me, who relishes these fritters with daal-chawal (lentils & rice). But I guess nothing can match up to the spirit and essence of Moong Daal ke pakode with mint chutney.
Monsoon is incomplete without a plate of Khichdi. I have seen the craze of tea and fritters all over North India during the rainy days but back in my West Bengal, I have seen rather grown up in the atmosphere of Khichdi-some monsoon. Moong and Masoor daal (types of lentils) are mixed with rice grains along with all the seasonal vegetables (beans, capsicum, carrots, peas, cauliflower, potatoes, pumpkin, etc.). It is served with a generous amount of Ghee or clarified butter. Also, comes along is a whole platter of fried things – onion fritters, brinjal fry, pumpkin flower fry, potato fry, coconut fry (with a pinch of salt, turmeric, and sugar), spicy cabbage, fried fish especially Hilsa, etc. I terribly miss being at home during monsoon only for the huge love for food.
The Bengalis cannot leave their love for fish. The biggest reason why Bengalis love monsoon in spite of all the atrocities in towns and cities of Bengal is that this is the season of the “king of fishes” Hilsa. The Ganges of West Bengal or the Padma of East Bengal (Bangladesh) – both bless this community with an amazingly tasty fish. The price in this season sometimes reaches up to 22000 also. This fish is simply fried or made into various gravy items with mustard, coconut milk, or curd. With a plate of rice, this fish takes the Hilsa lovers to heaven – literally!
My grandfather taught me to enjoy Hilsa with Khichdi – and this combination is also worth a try.
Available everywhere in India during the monsoon months, this is a popular evening snack. The corns are taken out of its cover and roasted in high heat generously. Then a dash of black salt and lemon is applied to it. Some prefer to have boiled corns while some prefer the crispy corns which are stir-fried with onions, tomatoes, and capsicum. In any form – corns taste amazing.
Aloo Tikki Chaat:
Your mom and grandma must be telling you not to have chaat outside. But do you know how blissful is it to enjoy the chaats when it is raining outside? The Aloo Tikki chaat with mint chutney, curd, and chaat masala is very dear to all. In some shops, this aloo Tikki chaat is available with black grams also. The stomach may ache later but don’t worry there is medicine for that.
The fame of this triangle-shaped snack is huge. As a breakfast item or as an evening snack– the crunchy and tasty samosas are dipped in mint chutney, imli chutney, tomato sauce, etc. and savoured. It comes in a variety of fillings – potatoes, peas, paneer (cottage cheese), cauliflower, noodles, soybeans, corns, etc. The joy of having Samosa doubles in the monsoon and of course that is supported by a cup of tea.
This one is a famous dish among the Mangalorean Catholics. It is a coconut-based curry made with green amaranth stalks, Colocasia stems, and hog plums. It is a seasonal specialty and is cooked for the feast of the birth of the Virgin Mary.
Do you know there is something called Malabar Coffee? During the monsoon season, this Malabar Coast sees harvested coffee beans. They are exposed to moisture-laden monsoon air for at least 6 weeks. The coffee beans then swell up, lose some of their acidity, and obtain that signature mellow notes. With some fritters or simple biscuits – this cup of coffee is a prized possession I must say.
Which one among these is your favourite? Whichever it is, I hope you all are enjoying the drizzling season with a sizzling platter.