Piping hot pakoras, a steaming cup of chai and winters share a strong relationship that hasn’t crumbled with time. Like 50 years ago, even today, a cup of warm chai and hot pakoras would be served to guests visiting an Indian home during winters. Apart from pakoras, there are many other snacks that take on an exalted status during the colder months. Here’s a list of snacks from around the country that should feature on every foodie’s to-do-list.
Chole Bhature in Delhi
Chole and Bhature are served round the year, but in the winter months, the queues outside eateries increase manifolds. There’s a scientific explanation for this. When the temperature goes down our body craves for comforting, warm, carb-rich or starchy food. So you would fancy hot chole bhature more than a cold salad or sushi. No wonder, Delhiites can’t do without this decadent treat in the colder months. The bhature is made after the dough has been fermented at least for an hour. It’s smattered with a bevy of Indian masalas and stuffed with fresh crumbled paneer and deep fried. The chole or chickpeas curry is seasoned with a medley of spices and tastes delish with freshly fried bhatures. The combo is usually served with a side of green chutney and pickle.
Mirchi vada in Jodhpur
Mirchi vada is made by frying slit green chillies stuffed with potato filling and dipped in gram flour batter. This popular street snack that originated in Jodhpur is now served at various cities across the country. However, nothing can beat the perfect crispy texture and the burst of flavours that each bite of the vada offers in the blue city.
Phulkopir shingara in Kolkata
The Bengali version of the samosa acquires a unique taste in winters. The regular potato filling is livened up with fried cauliflower florets. Most of the sweet shops in Kolkata sell this variety in the cooler months and it’s easy to trace and sample it if you visit that part of the country in winters.
Chakkara pongal in Hyderabad
Chakkara pongal is made during Pongal in mid-January and is offered to the deity to mark the harvest festival. This sweet, creamy preparation is made by simmering rice in milk and is sweetened with jaggery that lends the dish a brown colour. It’s often garnished with coconut and dried fruits such as cashew nuts and raisins. Though it’s mostly made at homes, restaurants now include it in their menu around Pongal.
Thukpa in Shillong
The noodle soup is a Tibetan dish that has found its way to eateries and homes in Shillong. As the evenings get colder in the hill station, grab a hot bowl of thukpa--you can opt for the chicken or meat varieties or go for the ones with a wide variety of winter veggies--and sit down in any cosy restaurant. FYI, a warm and fuzzy feeling is guaranteed after you have slurped a bowl of thukpa.
Gajjak in Madhya Pradesh
Though Gajjak originated in Morena, Madhya Pradesh, it is available in most cities of the state and Delhi as well. Made from sesame seeds and jaggery, this sweet is delightfully crunchy. It’s mostly eaten during winter months as sesame seeds are known to generate heat in the body to keep it warm. These seeds also boost immunity to help you ward off the common cough and cold.
Vegetable bhajis with filter kaapi in Bangalore
This combo is a favourite of people living in Bangalore. When the temperatures drop or at the sight a grey monsoon cloud, people would head home or queue up at road side tea stalls for this delicacy. The light and crispy bhajis come in different varieties such as raw banana bhaji, aloo bhaji, capsicum bhaji or uddin vade (vada made of urad dal). This is usually relished with coconut or green chutney and grated carrot and onion salad. A glass of aromatic filter coffee goes amazingly well with the bhajis.