We may be moving to turmeric latte and salads doused in masala ghee dressing nowadays, but Indian cuisine is most delicious in its authentic form. While a hot Mexican chilli spiced soup or a truffle oil drizzled mac and cheese could make for the perfect evening snack during monsoons, there’s something special about scarfing down the traditional snacks we grew up eating when the rains come pouring down.
Madhya Pradesh: Ajwain and palak pakora
This one has medicinal benefits and flavour rolled into one dish. The popular Indian spice ajwain, known for its digestive benefits, is a handy spice in Indian cuisine. This recipe by the chefs at Jehan Numa Palace Bhopal is a classic monsoon special that uses carom seed to flavour spinach leaves, before frying it like the traditional palak pakora.
3 bunches of spinach (chopped), 1 onion (finely chopped), 6 tbsp chickpea flour, ½ tsp rice flour, 1 tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp coriander seed powder, ¼ tsp ajwain, 1 pinch baking soda, oil for frying, salt to taste
– Mix onion with spinach leaves, chickpea and rice flour in a bowl.
– Add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander seeds powder, carom seeds and one teaspoon oil. Mix well.
– Heat oil and drop a spoonful of this mixture in it. Deep fry till it turns golden-brown and serve hot.
New Delhi: Aloo bhaaji with kachori
In New Delhi, monsoons mean a plate of hot kachoris and cutting chai. This recipe by The Westin Gurgaon urges you to savour this crowd favourite with a helping of spicy potato gravy and yoghurt-based raita, because that’s how it was traditionally eaten in this part of the country.
Ingredients for kachori pastry: 100gm refined flour, salt to taste, 20gm ghee
Ingredients for the stuffing:
20gm urad dal (soaked overnight and coarsely ground), 1 pinch fennel seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 pinch asafoetida, 1 tsp red chilli powder, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 pinch chaat masala
Ingredients for the bhaaji:
200gm potato (boiled and cubed), 100gm tomato (chopped), 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 pinch asafoetida, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp yellow chilli powder, 1 tbsp coriander leaves (chopped), salt to taste
– In a bowl, mix all the pastry ingredients.
– Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Once they start crackling, add all the ingredients for the filling and stir the mixture into a thick batter.
– Roll out the pastry flour, cut it out in mid-sized round shapes and place a spoonful of the filling in side one of these. Roll it back into a round ball and flatten it gently.
– Deep fry and place it on a kitchen towel.
– In a pan, heat oil and add asafoetida, cumin seeds and yellow chilli powder. Stir once and add tomatoes. Now, put the potato in and cook it for two to three minutes Add water and check the consistency, and sprinkle some salt when it’s done cooking.
– Finish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with kachoris
Rajasthan: Rajma pakora
In Rajasthan, nothing celebrates monsoon like the visuals of peacocks prancing in the gardens and the smell of pakoras wafting through the houses as the go-to meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This recipe, shared by Alila Fort Bishangarh, is a traditional Marwari rajma pakora recipe that has been given a contemporary touch by the way of an oats crumb.
200gm kidney beans (soaked overnight and boiled), 15gm coriander powder, 10gm cumin powder, 10gm coriander powder, 5gm turmeric, 20gm red chilli powder, 100gm onion, 10gm chat masala, 150gm chickpea flour, 500ml oil, 40gm roasted channa powder, 100gm oats, 5gm ginger (chopped), 10gm papad (crushed), 10gm green chilli (chopped), 10gm coriander leaves, 1 pinch carom seeds, 1 pinch asafoetida, salt to taste
– Mash the rajma and keep it aside.
– In a pan, heat oil and add asafoetida, coriander, ginger, onion, cumin powder, coriander powder, chopped green chilli, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and coriander leaves.
– Sauté all above ingredients and roll the mixture into small balls.
– Make a thin batter of gram flour, salt, carom seeds and red chilli powder.
– Dip the ball into the batter and roll in oats and papad.
– Deep fry and serve hot. Finish with chaat masala.
Kerala: Channa dal and moras vada
The channa dal vada is The Bombay Canteen’s take on the quintessential parippu vada, a monsoon street snack from Kerala. In their version, moras bhaji, a succulent sea purslane used in Gujarati homes in Mumbai during fasting season, is added to the traditional recipe.
2 cup chana dal (soaked overnight), 1 cup moras bhaji, ¼ cup onions (chopped), 1 tbsp green chillies (chopped), 1 tbsp vegetable oil, ½ tbsp ginger (chopped), 2 tbsp curry leaves, 1 pinch asafoetida, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp cumin seeds (toasted), chickpea flour as per requirement, 1 tsp sugar, salt to taste
– Coarsely grind the soaked channa dal.
– Mix it with onions, green chilies and moras bhaji.
– Heat the oil in a small pan and add cumin seeds. Once it splutters, add the curry leaves, ginger, turmeric powder and asafoetida, and quickly pour this over the channa dal mix.
– Mix the ingredients together, add salt and sugar to taste and form patties. Add chickpea flour if needed to hold the mixture together.
– Heat oil in a deep fat fryer and fry the vadas at for about four to five minutes, till it’s crispy on the outside but still soft inside.
Fried treats punctuated with fresh green peas make the ideal monsoon snack in Bihar. Bhabhra is usually savoured in the evening, along with a piping hot cup of chai. This recipe, shared by Neel, Tote on Turf, Mumbai, is great way to indulge your tastebuds during the rainy season.
1 cup peas, 1 cup chickpea flour, 1 onion (finely chopped), ½ tsp coriander powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp chilli powder, 4 green chillies, oil for frying, salt to taste
– In a bowl, mix all the ingredients (except the oil) with chickpea flour and gradually add water to make a thick batter.
– In a pan, heat some oil and pour the batter on it in a circular motion, to create a shape that looks like a small pancake
– Allow it to cook well on both sides and serve hot.