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Comfort delicacies

In winters, our body craves for rich food which provides warmth along with nourishment. Any vegetable that takes time to grow, and in which the edible part grows beneath the surface of the ground is usually warming. Dry fruits, nuts and oilseeds are also warming. Here are a few delicious recipes from various parts of India popular during winters.

Keema Matar DoPyaaza
Ingredients

  • 1 kg mince mutton/keema
  • 250 gm fresh green peas
  • 4 big onions, finely sliced
  • 2 onions, quartered and layered
  • 5-7 green chillies, split
  • 2 tbsp.garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • A bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp.coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ cup plain curd, beaten
  • 100 gm ghee or cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

Method
Heat ghee/oil in a large heavy bottom pot, add cumin seeds, let it splitter, then add sliced onions and sauté until they start changing the colour. Now add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a few more seconds and add mince meat, little salt and beaten curd. Stir well. Sauté for 4-5 minutes on high flame, the curd and salt will help release the water, then reduce the flame to medium low and cook till the water is evaporated.

Now add all the dry masalas except garam masala. Add 1½ cups of water in the mixture. Bring it to a boil and add green peas, green chillies and quartered onion layers. Cook on low flame until the liquid is evaporated, the meat is tender and the texture is nice thick and creamy. Add chopped coriander and mix well. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with bread of your choice.

Makke ki Roti
Ingredients

  • 2 cups makki ka atta (maize floor)
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour (atta)
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup coriander, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee/Unsalted butter as required

Method

  • Take makki ka aata, whole-wheat flour in a mixing bowl. Add chopped onions, coriander, chilies and salt. Mix well. Knead to make a medium soft dough using warm water. Cover and let it rest for few minutes.
  • Divide into equal portions and shape into balls. Pat each ball between dampened palms to make a roti of medium thickness or roll out each ball between the folds of a greased plastic sheet. Remember unlike normal dough this will be quite crumbly so be careful while rolling and putting it on tawa. 
  • Cook the roti on tawa till one side is half-done. Turnover and spread some ghee/butter over the surface. Cook till both sides are golden brown. 
  • Serve hot with white butter.

Maa Chole Ke Dal
Ingredients 

  • 1 cup white urad dal
  • ½ cup chana dal
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp mango powder
  • 3 tbsp ghee/oil

Method

  • Wash both urad and chana dal and then soak dal in four cups of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Heat four cups of water in a pressure cooker with turmeric powder, salt and some oil. Cook the dal approximately for 15 minutes on low flame. After that switch off the fire. 
  • Heat ghee/oil in a kadhai, add ginger, onions and sauté for a few minutes, now add chopped tomatoes, very little water, all the dry masalas, mix well, cover and cook for a couple of minutes on medium-high flame. Add cooked dal to this tadka and let it come to a boil. Now add garam masala and cook on simmer till you get the required consistency.

Shufta (a very rich and delicious recipe from the royal cuisine of Kashmir)
Ingredients

  • 1 cup paneer, diced
  • ½ cup dry coconut, sliced
  • ½ cup almonds, blanched
  • ½ cup Pistachio, blanched
  • ½ cup cashew 
  • ½ cup apricots
  • ½ cup dates 
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup raisins 
  • 1 tsp dry ginger powder
  • ½ tsp pepper powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ tsp kesar
  • ½ cup ghee
  • ½ cup dry rose petals

Method

  • Soak dry dates for an hour in water, remove seeds and chop into small dices. Wash apricots, blanch for 30 minutes, after cooling remove seeds and chop into small dices (you can use readily available apricots). Chop all the dry fruits into small pieces and soak in warm water for at least an hour or two. Heat the ghee in a pan and fry paneer cubes till golden brown in colour. Keep by tossing so that it gets even color. Once done, remove and keep them aside. 
  • Now fry the sliced dry coconut in the same ghee. Add little water, sugar, presoaked nuts with the water in which they were soaked, add fried paneer cubes, kesar and all the spices cook on low-medium flame. Keep stirring till it the syrup thickens and coats all the ingredients. Garnish with grated coconut or dried rose petals and serve hot.

Winter Delights
Winters are associated with making the best of staying indoors. Ovens and stoves being more active in winters are an idea keeping in focus on inner warmth, and thus the season is associated with celebrating the warmth of eating.

Amplified hunger pangs during winters can be explained by the body metabolism working to generate enough energy in the form of heat to keep you comfortable. Certain dietary practices can ensure your body handles the cold well and ensure a healthy state of being. A few examples are:

Warming foods
Vegetables that grow with edible part beneath the surface of the ground like carrots make excellent winter choices. Food like meat and fish are warming too, and provide much-needed energy to keep one warm.

Compacted Foods
Denser foods make good choices during this season. Dried beans and lentils would fit into this category. Sunflower seeds and sesame seeds are other great examples of nutritiously compacted winter foods.

Fresh and Dried Fruits
Fruits that provide warmth include papaya and pineapple. Consuming amla is a good choice as well. Dates are magic winter food — alongside providing fibre, iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins (C and B3), they also provide an energy boost.

Spices:
Liberal usage of ajwain, black peppers, mustard, hing, and suva is recommended. Most of these are valuable remedies for winter coughs. Methi aids with bone and joint problems that show up in this season. And let’s not forget the healing capabilities of haldi. Grandmothers know best, after all.


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