A grey sky, morose weather, damp roads and heavy rains falling like pins on the window; the rains seem to give a rather gloomy performance most times. While the dark skies bring people to crib about work, clothes hanging on lines, the lack of sun and even electricity cuts sometimes, this forlorn weather also brings forth an opportunity to plate up some delicacies to brighten up the mood. In fact, the rains provide a perfect setting to enjoy these delectable comfort foods. Here’s out list of soul food to try as you watch the rain trickle down.
Classic. The only way to describe pakodas is classic. No rainy season in India is complete without a piping hot plate of pakodas. A variety of vegetables (typically potatoes, chillies or onions—my favourite) are deep fried in gram flour and spices. Generally accompanied with sweet and spicy chutneys, these pakodas are the ideal indulgence for a rainy day.
To be honest, no particular weather is required to enjoy a strong cup of tea. But when it comes to having tea with rain spilling in the backdrop, no other beverage can compete. My favourite version of tea for the rains is masala chai. The recipe starts off typical— tea leaves dipped in water with milk— but the secret ingredient is the addition of spices. Ginger, cardamom and tulsi add not only flavor but also irresistible fragrance to the beverage.
Vada Pav is every penny pinching teenager’s saviour. Such a simple dish, yet unavoidable. A patty (vada) made from the combination of potatoes and spices is fried in gram flour batter, is sandwiched between two buns, somewhat like a desi burger. Packed with flavour, the simple Maharashtrian dish is an essential addition to this list.
Corn is a versatile ingredient used in diverse recipes across the world. In India, Bhutta is the most popular version of the crop. Roasted on an open flame, later glazed with butter and spices, the dish is an explosion of warmth in the cold weather.
It is hard to believe that anyone would dislike Delhi’s beloved Aloo Tikki. Spices and potatoes combined with breadcrumbs makes perfect patties drowned in chutney. Some like to add curd to the mix. Whatever way you eat it, the spicy-savoury dish is a fun feast to share with friends while you’re stuck in the house canopied by grey clouds.
It is almost forbidden to end a soul food list without a mention of samosa. Neatly folded pockets, these flour pieces are then stuffed with filling and deep fried. One can use any filling they desire. It is custom in some states to fill it with potatoes and spices, some others typically fill samosas with combinations of meat mince. With a generous helping of chutney, the dish is a treat—especially the flaky corners.