In continuation of our journey across North India’s seasons, in this episode we reminisce soaking up the sun while chomping on red carrots, radish, green guavas on winter afternoons with family. Somehow, chilly North Indian winters make our appetites larger and we find ourselves indulging in more decadent foods, almost as if we were bears prepping for hibernation! Most food stuffs we eat have a ‘Garam Taseer’ or a warm composition according to Ayurveda. But as soon as the spring season comes with the festival of Holi, we gradually start gravitating towards foods with a ‘Thandi Taseer’ to cool down. The best thing is that all this plays along beautifully with what is available during the season.
With a focus on fresh produce, nuts and plenty of fruits, our larger appetites make room for all sorts of preparations, savory and sweet. The episode notes below list some vegetables, fruits and nuts we mention along with some musings we discuss in the episode.
But before we go on, there are a lot of foods and drinks that we may have missed out, but love nonetheless! Chhuare or Dry Dates in milk, Besan ka Sheera and Besan wala doodh are some of the drinks that keep us warm during the cold, especially during winter weddings. With the arrival of spring around Holi, we love relishing Thandai and yogurt based chaats like Dahi Bhalle.
Juice Stalls in New Delhi – a Graphic Artists’ Dream
Fresh fruit juices and mixed juices are a staple of small roadside “Juice Bars” in cities, especially metropolises like New Delhi. These bright, colorful stalls often feature portraits of well known actors from the Indian film industry alongside bold, artistic fonts. We talk about these in the episode and you can read about Kitsch Fonts used by Juice carts in North India here.
How many kinds of Jaggery are there?
We discuss the use of jaggery in tea in this episode and then go on to share our confusion about the kinds of jaggery available in North and South India. The colour and texture of jaggery vary with age. There are, of course other varieties of jaggery besides sugarcane based, like those derived from coconut and palm. Some varieties of sugarcane based jaggery, we both concur, split milk in tea while others work like a charm. The question remains, which is the best kind of jaggery for Gurh wali chai?
Names of Winter Vegetables mentioned in this episode:
- Gobhi – Cauliflower
- Gajar – Carrots, usually red
- Shalgam/Gogji – Turnips
- Moongre – Pods of the Radish plant, which is called Mooli in Hindi.
- Sarson Ka Saag – Mustard Greens
- Hara Lassan – Green Garlic
- Mooli – Radish, red and white Daikon like variety
- Bathua – Pigweed or Chenopodium Album
- Paalak – Spinach
- Methi – Fenugreek leaves
- Matar – Fresh green peas
- Lobhiya ki phali – Fruit/pod of the black eyed pea plant
Some Fruits and Nuts we spoke about:
- Santare/ Santre – Oranges, Clementine, Tangerine – could be either variety. Check here for further reading.
- Malta – Citrus sinensis/ Navel Orange/ Sweet Orange
- Keenu/Kinnow – A hybrid orange variety that is juicier and sweeter than Santara.
- Amla – Indian Gooseberry
- Kamarakh – Star Fruit/ Carambola
- Imli – Tamarind
- Ber – Indian Jujube
Ingredients and foods mentioned in the episode:
- Achaar – Pickle, can be made with fruits and/or vegetables.
- Doodh – Milk
- Khurchan – derived from the word scraping; a sweet dish made by cooking down milk and scraped milk fats.
- Methrey – Fenugreek seeds
- Gurh – Jaggery
- Shakkar – Sugar processed from sugar cane juice, usually unrefined and brown. Shakkar is also a colloquial term for all kinds of sugar.
- Murabba – A sweet fruit and vegetable preserve.
- Mattha – Punjabi, in this conversation it refers to hung curd as it is called in Punjab; might mean buttermilk in other parts of India.
- Safed Makkhan – White butter, often homemade.
- Momos – Tibetan or Nepali dumplings.
- Chikki/ Gajak – Jaggery brittle made with sesame seeds, peanuts or choice of nuts.
- RevRi – A sugar based brittle-like sweet dumpling with sesame seeds. Can also utilize jaggery instead of sugar.
- Ajwain – Carom seeds.
- Mathi – Savory flaky biscuit, usually fried.
- Daulat ki Chaat – An airy dessert only made for a brief period during the winters. Also called Nimish in Lucknow. Discover more here.
- Chandi ka Varq – Beaten silver foil.
Kaadh dete hain doodh ko!
- Chabbis Janvary – 26 January or India’s Republic Day
- Khatta – Tart
- Meetha – Sweet
- Gal jāta hai – Over ripe or over cooked, softens more than desired.
- Gutha hua Saag – A saag with roughly chopped herbs instead of pureed. Traditionally saag is made ghutta hua using a Madhani to agitate it instead of pulsed in a blender.
- Madhaani – A wooden or metal churner, found in most Indian kitchens; used to mash, whisk and churn.
- Oas – Dew
- Tāseer – The quality and impact of a food; does it cool or warm your body? Read more in this article in the Telegraph India.
Yes, we eat Yogurt in Winters too!
Ever since both of us started making yogurt at home, we have found great ways of enjoying it whatever the season. While the thandi taseer of yogurt is much revered during the summers, winters call for some creative use of Dahi in our recipes. We love yogurt as a side with stuffed parathas, stewed in a Kadhi or just used with spices to marinate meat. Do you find other uses of yogurt during winters too? Tell us in the comments.
Some Winter recipes on the blog
- Gajrela or Gajar Ka Halwa
- Haak Ka Saag
- Makki Methi ki Roti
- Chai Flavourings/Masala Chai
- Shakarkandi ki Chaat
- Atta Halwa
- Besan Halwa
- Besan Ke Ladoo
- Green Chutney
- Methi Paratha
- Gobhi Paratha
- Palak ka Shorba
- Matar ki Sabzi
- Sabz Kadhi
Aapke ghar mein dhoop aati hai?
Tell us what you think!
This attempt at listing and conversation about our favourite winter foods and food habits is in no way comprehensive. Did we even mention our love for shelled peanuts in winters? Or activities like de-shelling peas from pods while sitting in the sun? There is still so much many foods and dishes to discuss in detail. So tell us what are some of your favourite winter and spring time foods? Write to us at [email protected] or leave a comment below.
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P.S What do those phrases mean? Read on.
Aapke ghar mein dhoop aati hai? – Does your home get sun (during winters)?
Kaadh dete hain doodh ko – They cook down the milk till it is reduced.