Monsoon – moisture laden winds that cover the Indian subcontinent progressing from the southernmost tip to the Himalayas – is more than a weather event. This yearly seasonal event is much awaited and for good reason too since it brings majority of the annual precipitation for the country. But beyond the practical, the Monsoon has been romanticized for centuries. From classical ragas and dance, to Indian films, pop-music and literature, this is the season that makes us swoon. It is an experience that will make you fall in love with India, truly. From Petrichor of the first rainfall, to vigorous growth of foliage, rainy day holidays from school (yes, like snow days in the US!), to navigating water clogged streets, and young, playful flirting of college students; it is THE season for love. Needless to say, where there is such a mix of emotions, food plays a role. Monsoon recipes range from freshly made savory snacks like Pakore to sweet on sweet desserts like Malpua with Kheer.
If your mouth isn’t already watering, read on and try these simple, delicious recipes that will make your monsoon all the more enjoyable!
This seasonal dish from Punjab is one worth trying. It looks and feels decadent. Soft, cool kheer topped on warm, crisp malpua. Oh, bliss! One monsoon recipe you must, must make.
Plums are in season during the monsoons and they make for a tart, sweet chutney that can be mopped up with paranthe or slathered on toast with cheese. Make sure you have a cup of chai nearby!
Okay, you have to know this about rains in India, they are Pakora season. A Pakora is a fritter, usually chopped vegetables batter in a mix of chickpea flour and spices, deep fried and served with a fresh chutney. Common combination includes potatoes and onions. But there are many many kinds.
Another kind of pakora involves using good old sandwich bread, either by itself or stuffed with a potato mash. Bring on the carbs!
Kheer usually means a rice and milk pudding. But, like a lot of Indian recipes, there are multiple variations. Makhane ki kheer is a special kind because of the makhane – puffed lotus seeds, a unique ingredients grown only in a few places including Japan and Russia. This dessert is often made during fasts when people avoid eating grains like wheat and rice. Feeling experimental? Try this recipe.
And, now for the real deal. This kheer is made with rice, as kheer usually is but made even more luscious with the addition of homemade Gulkand.
Fluffy, fresh puris are a thing of perfection. They seem simple – a basic dough, deep fried and served hot – but can take a little bit of effort to master. Once you do master it, you’ll be thankful that you did!
If you want a more North Indian zhuzhed up version of aloo puri, make these crispy Bedmi puris with some tangy aloo sabzi with fragrant spices and lots of tomato. The tangy sabzi is the loveliest contrast to the rich khasta bedmis. Try it and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
Where there is Aloo Puri, can Halwa be far behind? No, Halwa is one our favourite things to make as soon as we hear the first pitter patter of raindrops. There is just something so comforting about the aroma of roasted Besan in the house, as the air gets heavy and cool during a downpour. And the results of the labour of roasting the Besan yields the most comforting and luscious dessert to be enjoyed as the monsoon spray refreshes you. And guess what, it’s also great for when you get a stuffy nose or allergies due to the weather change.
Speaking of Delhi, we just can’t help but think of steaming hot momos we ate at our favourite street food haunts. Since it really is one of our favourite monsoon recipes, we just had to recreate the magic of our favourite dumplings at home, and that’s how this Momo and fiery chutney recipe came about. We know you’re salivating already! Make it!
In the line up of monsoon recipes fried foods take center stage. Where there are pakoras can fried be far behind? These potato wedges come with a twist, they are battered in chutney and then deep fried. Alternatively, fry them first and then toss in mint chutney.
Do you think Aloo should be crowned the king of vegetables? We certainly do. It’s just so versatile and never disappoints. Like, look at this Aloo chaat recipe, all you need is some boiled potatoes to get started to this crispy deliciousness. It’s one of our most treasured things to eat during the baarish!
When flour, sugar and fat combine can it ever be bad? Of course not! Gulgule and Poode are the simple, country cousins of sophisticated desserts like kheer and malpua but no less satisfying. When its raining cats and dogs, whisk up an easy batter and fry up these dough balls to devour as you watch the rain fall. That is a real spectator sport in India. Verandahs and balconies are prime real estate during the monsoon with each family member angling for the best spot – away from the spatter, but exposed enough to enjoy a breeze and occasional mist from the downpour. You get it, don’t you.
Finally, can any snack time ever be complete without a hot beverage? Whatever the weather – rain, heat or cold -Indians love a cup of chai. It has to be hot, properly brewed – karak or strong, preferably – and with an appropriate seasoning. For cold, rainy days ginger is a must. So make pots full of ginger masala chai and get cosy!
And if Chai is not your cup of tea (literally), there is an Indian take on coffee, that is this phitti hui or whipped up coffee, to mimic the cappuccino to wash it all down. Of course it had to be a desi coffee since everything on the list is so quintessentially Indian.
Hope you enjoy the monsoons and these seasonal favorites!
We’d love to learn about your favorite season and seasonal foods. Which one of these monsoon recipes are you excited to make? Please share your feedback on any recipes that you might’ve tried from this list or the blog!