It’s December and we are in the mood to welcome the chill with some cool winter foods! Be it snacks loaded with sesame and jaggery or makke di roti with sarson da saag or everyone’s all-time favorite, gajar halwa –it’s all here on Holachef!
Pick your favourite from these seasonal hits- foods that are known to keep the body essentially warm. While the cold seeps in, body stiffens and tempts you into the comforts of the quilt, we are putting our best menu forward to ensure you don’t appear cold (pun intended)!
1) Gajar Halwa: Gajar ka halwa is synonymous with the onset of winter. One of the simpler desserts to cook, its claim to fame are the Bollywood scenes and dialogues from the 70s and 80s, making it a popular dessert across the country. Since times immemorial, gajar halwa has been a consistent winter feature in most Indian households. The sweet is made primarily with red carrots which are available during this season and is one of the reasons why it’s prepared when the chill starts setting in.
2) Gond Pak: A traditional winter food item, gond pak has always been listed under grandma’s favourite recipes. A fairly simple recipe, it involves mixing together edible gum, ghee, dry fruits, jaggery and wheat flour that team up well to provide warmth to the body. A recipe that has been passed down from generations, gond pak strengthens immunity and helps to keep winter diseases at bay.
3) Gud Papdi: Jaggery or gud is one of the winter ingredients that can be found in most Indian sweets- especially in barfis and laddoos. Sugar is replaced by jaggery as it is another important ingredient that provides warmth to the body. Gud papdi has ghee, wheat flour and nuts apart from jaggery. All these are cooked together and shaped into papdis or barfis to be consumed through the season.
4) Makke ki Roti with Sarso Ka Saag: No winter, especially in North India is complete without this meal, the much-loved Punjabi combination of makke ki roti with sarso ka saag. A star pair, the roti is made from corn flour and saag has mustard leaves. The tendency of both the ingredients to keep us warm, make this a seasonal delicacy. This signature dish from Punjab’s treasure trove of winter foods has always been a heartwarming one and never fails to make the season more enjoyable.
5) Til Barfi: All things sesame are delectable in winters. The seeds are known to increase body temperatures and hence consumed in high amounts mostly during winters. Sesame has a distinct flavour and once combined with jaggery or sugar make a delicious sweet, made in various ways and forms across the country.
6) Bajra Rotis: Millets are a distinct feature of the winter menu, especially in the western region of the country. Since ages, bajra or pearl millet has been used to make rotis and taste best off the hot pan with any vegetable preparation. Bajra is packed with many nutrients and is a good source of energy, which makes it one of the more popular winter foods. It is also easily digestible, is good for the heart and helps lower blood sugar levels. Bajra rotis have an earthy flavour and aroma that makes it all the more delectable.
7) Kashmiri Paya Shorba: Shorba is an Indian version of the soup, cooked with indigenous spices. Kashmiri paya shorba is an absolute must-have during winters and it helps in warming up the body. The ingredients consist of paya or lamb trotters, aromatic whole spices, turmeric and onions. The key to brewing a delightful paya shorba is simmering it over a low flame for a few hours. The slow-cooking is vital for the meat to absorb the flavours of the spices thoroughly.
8) Undhiyu: Undhiyu is a dish synonymous with Gujarat and the traditional method to prepare this demands a lot of hard work. The conventional recipe requires undhiyu to be prepared in an earthen pot which is then inverted and cooked in a fire hole dug in the ground. Nowadays, this dish is made in pressure cookers and works out just as well. Undhiyu is a specialty during this season because of the use of winter specific vegetables. They are cooked together with a masala of peanuts, sesame seeds and coconut and finished off with a final addition of methi muthiya.