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It is winter in India as soon as Monsoons subside. The temperature slowly drops below zero degrees in northern regions and hovers around 10-15 degrees down south.  It is the time when the country is filled with aromas of Winter Cuisine.

The food during this season gets more exciting, warmer, sweeter and spicier.

  • Some foods are cooked all night and eaten the next day morning. 
  • Some dishes are made using dehydrated ingredients.
  • While Home food is yummy and healthy, Winter Cuisine on the streets is not bad either…

Here list of yummy winter foods from various parts of the country. Let’s start with the sweet treats….

Sweets


Gajar ka Halwa is made from one of the healthiest vegetable – carrots that arrives in the market in hordes during winter. The carrots used here are red in color.  Grated and cooked in milk and sweetened with sugar, they are finally served garnished with cashews and a tinge of cardamom. This dish is a regular in north India but has now gained wide popularity down south.

Chikki or Peanut brittles are made using caramelized sugar/Jaggery and peanuts.  It is a healthy snack popular among kids.

Malai Makhan is made using milk, saffron, khoya, dried fruits and cream.  It is light and frothy.  Basically it is a street food that can be had in the alleys of Chandni Chowk, New Delhi.

Jalebi – this crunchy sweetmeat made of maida is a favorite with kids.  It is a famous winter dish in Delhi, Indore and Udaipur.  Some eat it for breakfast with Poha.

Panjiri – a sweet made with sugar, ghee(clarified butter) and almonds and Gond ke laddos –Rajasthani dish edible gum and ghee are equally famous.

Til Pitha are Sesame cakes flavored with Jaggery.

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Lapsi is another appetizing sweet dish for special occasions.

Hot Spice

Shakarkandi ki chaat is a winter special made using Sweet potato.  The abundant winter vegetable is first either boiled or fried.  Later, Chillies, chilli powder and cumin seeds are later to augment flavor. 

Ram Ladoos are again a street food from Delhi. These laddos are basically Pakoras made using moong dal, green daal, garnished with Radish and Mint/Coriander chutney.

Meat treats

Rogan Josh is a special dish from Kashmir. The northern most part of India is known to see temperatures below zero degrees.  The roads are full of snow, sometimes blocked even. The hearth is the only area with warm vibes.  The kitchen is all set to see the preparation of this special dish using pieces of lamb or mutton cooked with the most aromatic of all spices.

Gushtaba is another traditional meat dish. It consists of meat balls floating in Saffron yogurt curry that are just right for the Bone freezing winters in Kashmir.

Farm-fresh winter vegetables

Some vegetables are available in plenty in winter; Peas, cauliflower, carrots, beetroot, Radish, Cabbage and the like.  So, winter is the season some of the following dishes are made.

Beetroot Thoran, a dish from south India, is stir-fried Beets flavored with coconut scrapings and chillies.

Kootu literally means add on.  All seasonal vegetables available are cooked with Moong dal and spiced with grounded coconut, jeera and green chillies.  This is a typical Tamil Nadu or Kerala Dish served with rice for lunch.

Oondhiya belongs to Gujarati winter cuisine. It is a yummy spiced Vegetables and Methi dumplings dish looked forward to by all in the family.

And then there are old grannies involved in making the spiciest, tangiest or sweetest Pickles of the all the seasonal vegetables they can get their hands on.  The pickles can stay good for the whole year provided the family members do not intend to polish it off in one season.

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Roti aka Pancakes with delicious Gravies

Who does not know Sarson ka saag(Sesame gravy) and Makkai ki rooti(Corn floor dumplings)with butter – a hearty and wholesome Punjabi winter dish.

Chole Bhature (Fat Puris) with Chole (spiced Chcikpea) plus raw onions rings and Green chilli are out of this world.

Soups

Hot Soups can keep one warm at any time of the day.  Most of them are easy to prepare, delicious and filling too. 

Nihari is a traditional Soup curry cooked the night before and eaten for breakfast with Puris.  The soup is made using shank meat or mutton or lamb.

Thupka  soup is an North-Eastern winter special popular in states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland.  The highly spiced Noodles flavored with Garam Masala can burn your throat but warm your heart/soul with its unique taste.

Others

Choliya Pulao is a rice dish made with chick peas in the North and western parts of the country. 

Raab is millet porridge popular in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

And there are fritters that everybody makes but using different ingredients…

  1. Pakoras  of – onions, methi, cabbage …
  2. Kebabs – paneer kebab, chicken tikka , Hariyali kebab, mixed veg kabab

That are come to your plate piping hot and are devoured instantly to get instant gratification.

Most of these foods have a history, a tradition handed over from generation to generation. And assert the fact that cold can be combated – not only by warm clothes or warm houses – but also warm-hearted individuals sweating out in kitchens to bring the most delectable food to your plate.

Winter Cuisine In India

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