The rains not only bring along respite from the heat but also awakens the inner foodie! With the first rains comes the demand for garma garam bhajiya (or pyaaz ki pakore, as they’re called in the North)! Kids step out to enjoy the monsoon while the parents watch the earth turn green with a cup of masala chai. It’s a routine formed over generations and a major reason why Indians love rains.
So, celebrate the arrival of the monsoon season with foods you simply can’t miss. Though your favourite chaat shop might be closed, you can still enjoy these delicious season special food combinations at home with our recipes.
1. Masala Chai & Bhajiya
Sipping a cup of chai is India’s favourite hobby and the answer to “chai piyoge?” is always yes. The rains call for something special and that’s masala chai. With a plate of hot and tasty bhajiyas. Also known as pakoras, fakkura, bhaji and fritters, they can be customised to your liking.
- 3-4 cardamoms (elaichi)
- 3 cloves (laung)
- ½ inch cinnamon (dalchini)
- 1 cup of water
- 2 teaspoons tea leaves/powder
- Sugar as needed
- 1-inch ginger, grated or chopped
- 1 cup of milk
- In a small pot, bring the water to a boil.
- Add all the spices along with sugar, ginger and tea leaves.
- Let this simmer for a minute or two on low flame.
- Once it becomes fragrant, add the milk.
- Boil the tea for less than a minute.
- Strain and serve with garam bhajiyas!
2. Manchow Soup & Stir-Fried Veggies
A big bowl of soup on rainy afternoons sounds great, doesn’t it? Add a side of some tasty veggies and you are set for lunch. The manchow soup satiates your craving for something umami while the stir-fried veggies turn healthy vegetables into an irresistible dish. Just like there’s chicken soup for the soul, here’s some manchow soup for your sehat!
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1-inch ginger, finely chopped
- 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 green chilli (hari mirchi), finely chopped
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- ½ carrot, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons cabbage, finely chopped
- ½ capsicum, finely chopped
- 5 beans, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons coriander (dhaniya) stem, chopped
- 4 cups of water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- ½ teaspoon pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon chilli sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
- ¼ cup of water
- 2 tablespoons coriander (dhaniya), finely chopped
- In a large kadhai heat, heat the oil and saute ginger, garlic and green chilli.
- Also, saute ½ onion until it shrinks slightly.
- Next, add ½ carrot, 3 tablespoons cabbage, ½ capsicum, 5 beans and 2 tablespoons coriander stem.
- Stir fry for a minute without overcooking them.
- Now pour 4 cup water and add ¾ teaspoon salt. mix well.
- Boil until all the flavours are well absorbed.
- Now add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons vinegar, ½ teaspoon pepper powder and 1 teaspoon chilli sauce. mix well.
- In a small bowl take 1 teaspoon cornflour and mix with ¼ cup water.
- Pour the cornflour slurry and stir well.
- Stir and boil until the soup thickens slightly and turns glossy.
- Now add 2 tablespoons coriander and give a good mix.
- Enjoy the soup topped with some fried noodles.
3. Jalebi & Samosa
Hot, sweet jalebis are an Indian favourite that are in demand at every event. From weddings to mundan and godbharai to monsoons, jalebis are a must. This spiral concoction tastes even better when served with samosas. Your favourite mithai shop being closed doesn’t mean you have to miss crunchy samosas. For all those who crave the combination of sweet-and-savoury during the rains, this samosa-jalebi duo is perfect for you!
- 2 cups maida or all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons ghee or oil
- 5 to 6 tablespoons of water
- 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- Salt as required
- Oil for deep frying
- 3 medium-sized potatoes
- ¾ to 1 cup of green peas
- 1 green chilli (hari mirchi) and ½ inch ginger, crushed to a coarse paste
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- ½ tablespoon oil
- Salt as required
- ¼ inch cinnamon (dalchini)
- 2 black peppercorns (kali mirch)
- 1 green cardamom (elaichi)
- ½ teaspoon cumin (jeera)
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (dhaniya)
- 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur)
- Take the flour, carom seeds and salt in a bowl. Mix well and add ghee or oil.
- With your fingertips rub the ghee or oil in the flour to get a breadcrumb-like consistency.
- The whole mixture should clamp together when joined.
- Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. begin to knead adding water as required.
- Knead to a firm dough. Cover the dough with a moistened napkin and keep aside for 30-40 mins.
- Steam or boil the potatoes and peas till they are cooked completely.
- Peel the boiled potatoes and chop them into small cubes
- Dry roast all the whole spices mentioned in the above list till fragrant.
- Once cooled, grind them in a dry grinder or coffee grinder to a fine powder.
- Heat oil in a pan. add the cumin seeds and crackle them.
- Add the ginger-green chilli paste. saute till the raw aroma of ginger goes away.
- Add the peas, red chilli powder, the freshly ground spice powder and asafoetida.
- Stir and saute on a low flame for 1-2 minutes
- Add the potato cubes and saute for 2-3 minutes with frequent stirring.
- Keep the filling aside to cool.
- After keeping the dough for 30-40 mins. Knead the dough lightly again.
- Divide the dough 6 equal pieces.
- Take each piece and roll in your palms first to make a smooth ball.
- Then roll it with a rolling pin keeping the thickness neither thin nor thick.
- Cut with a knife or a pastry cutter through the centre of the samosa pastry.
- With a brush or with your fingertips, on the straight edge of the sliced pastry, apply some water.
- Join the two ends bringing the watered edge on top of the plain edge.
- Press the edges so that they get sealed well.
- Stuff the prepared samosa cone with the prepared potato-peas stuffing.
- Apply some water with your fingertips or brush on the round samosa cone circumference.
- Pinch a part on the edge. This helps the samosa to stand.
- Press both the edges. Make sure there are no cracks.
- Prepare all the samosa this way and keep covered with a moist kitchen napkin.
- Frying samosa
- Now heat oil for deep frying in a kadhai or pan. Once the oil becomes hot, gently slide the prepared stuffed samosa and quickly reduce the flame to low.
- Drain the fried samosa on paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Serve hot with a side of dhaniya and pudina chutney!
4. Sangria & Pasta
Sitting on the balcony with a glass of sangria and a dish full of spaghetti in marinara sauce is a guilty pleasure. This fruity alcoholic drink helps elevate the flavours of oregano and basil. It’s a drink that perfectly complements the rich, red pasta sauce. So make sangria and whip up some delicious pasta to enjoy the pouring rain!
- 750 ml red wine
- ½ cup of vodka
- ½ cup of pomegranate juice
- ⅛ cup of apple juice
- 1 tablespoon ginger juice
- ⅛ cup of lemon juice
- ¼ cup of lemon soda
- ¼ cup of sugar syrup
- 2 cups of ice cubes
- ½ cup strawberries (or fruit of your choice), chopped
- 1/4 cup mint leaves (pudina)
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- In a large pitcher stir in the wine, vodka, pomegranate juice, apple juice, lime juice, lemon soda, simple syrup, ginger juice.
- Add the ice cubes, sliced fruit, mint leaves (pudina), crush them in your palm before adding.
- Next, add the lime slices, orange slices and stir well.
- Strain it into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice.
5. Misal & Piyush
A hint of chilli on the tongue and flavours of hot and spicy masalas exploding in your mouth, that’s misal. Misal is usually served with bread and chopped onion that add flavour to the spiciness and leaves an unforgettable after taste in the mouth. And to balance the hotness of misal, people have a tall glass of piyush. Piyush is a sweet cooler prepared from sweetened yoghurt (shrikhand) and buttermilk. The addition of spices like cardamom and saffron enriches the taste. This food combination can make your rainy evenings a lot more fun!
- 1 cup of shrikhand of your choice
- 1.5 cups of curd (dahi)
- ¾ to 1 cup of milk
- 2 to 3 tablespoon sugar or as required
- 2-3 green cardamom powder (elaichi)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder (jaiphal)
- 6 to 7 pistachios, sliced
- 1 to 2 pinches of saffron (kesar)
- First take the shrikhand, dahi, milk, sugar, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder in a mixing bowl.
- With a handheld blender or a wired whisk, just blend everything well till smooth and creamy. You can also blend in a jar in an electric blender. Keep the piyush in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours for it to get chilled.
- A suggestion is to add 2 tablespoons of sugar first. If the sweetness is less, then you can add 1 tablespoon sugar later.
- Pour the chilled piyush in glasses, and top with pistachio or almond slices and saffron.
- Enjoy with misal pav!
6. Hot Chocolate & Cookies
Who doesn’t love a tall mug of hot chocolate on a cold, rainy day? The warmth of the hot chocolate paired with some freshly baked cookies is a heavenly combination. Just imagine this: You are wrapped around in a shawl on the couch, watching Bollywood movies with a cup of hot chocolate and cookies to munch on!
- 6 to 7 tablespoons chopped or grated semi-sweet chocolate, at room temperature
- 2 cups of milk, full-fat or whole
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 4 tablespoons whipped cream, optional
- Pour the chopped chocolate in a small mixing bowl. Keep aside.
- In a saucepan add milk and sugar.
- Heat the milk until it comes to a boil and stir so that the sugar dissolves.
- Switch off the flame.
- Then take 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk from the hot milk in the saucepan and add to the bowl containing chopped chocolate.
- With a whisk mix the hot milk with the chocolate to a smooth consistency.
- Now pour this melted chocolate and vanilla extract in the hot milk in the saucepan. Mix very well.
- Pour hot chocolate in cups.
- Top with some whipped cream. You can also sprinkle some cocoa powder or chocolate shavings or gratings on top.
7. Idli & Coffee
This is a rather old-school combination that will remind you of your college canteen. Or even your favourite anna’s idli stall who served a variety of chutneys and that perfect filter coffee. Served with sambar and different chutneys, idli is not just tasty but healthy as well. So if you are craving something spicy and filling, idli is the dish of choice. And no coffee shop lattes can match the unique taste of filter coffee from an authentic Udupi restaurant.
- 3 teaspoons ground coffee
- 1 cup of water
- ¾ cup of whole or full-fat milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Boil water in a small pot and add the coffee powder.
- Mix it after 30 seconds and cover with a lid.
- Now let it rest for a minute to get clear decoction.
- Boil milk, add sugar and froth.
- Pour the decoction slowly leaving residue behind.
- Froth well and serve hot with steaming idlis!
Come monsoon and our hearts start yearning for something tasty and new. These classic food combinations perfectly fit the weather and brighten your mood. Make your gloomy, rainy day better with these monsoon foods!