The Winter Foodland – Part 2

Madhulika Dash

In this three-part series, we round up the must-have eats and drinks which you should try this winter… So here’s part two…

Appetizers & Sweets

Pinni: A ladoo made of ghee, wheat flour/lentils and nuts, this is one of the sweetest ways to keep warm during winters! Fascinatingly, the extra calories which come with the liberal use of ghee, nuts and khoya (a modern day addition to keep the ladoos soft), work more for the immunity than the waistline!

Gajak, Revri and Gur ka kada: Fresh jaggery is another sweet perk of winter. In Eastern states, it is nolen gur (or new jaggery) that is used liberally in sweets, while in Madhya Pradesh, it is used in delicious revri (mini pralines with jaggery and sesame) and gajak, a dry sweet made of jaggery, sesame seeds and ground-nuts.   But if you find yourself in Amritsar during the winters, there is a good chance that the day will begin with a serving of gud ka kada.

Gond ka halwa: Gond is a natural gum made of hardened sap taken from two sub-Saharan species of the acacia tree bark. While commercially it is used as a binding and emulsifying agent in bakery items, ice-cream, cold drinks and even energy drinks, traditionally gond has remained a winter dish and antidote since the ages due to its curative properties (it keeps the heart healthy). Of course, the main desserts which bring out all its goodness with gourmet oomph, is gond ka halwa and ladoos!

Daulat ki Chaat/ Nimish: Among the most inimitable winter treats, Daulat Ki Chaat or Nimish or malai makhan is the original Indian soufflé (minus the egg). Light as a cloud, this sweet-and-savoury treat takes a whole night to prepare and uses three different milks to get its unique texture. It is served with a layer of khoya, nuts, cream and kesar – these ingredients are symbolic of money and wealth, hence the name of this sweet dish!

Panjiri: A seasonal staple of North India, Panjiri is made throughout the year with wheat flour and sugar, but takes on a special avatar during winters, when roasted makhana, nuts, raisins and dried khoya is also used – making it a comfortingly warm, sweet and crunchy treat!

Sakarkandi Ki Chaat: Called the winter cousin of potatoes, it can be had boiled or roasted with a pinch of chaat masala and lemon juice. What’s more, it is the healthier way to OD on your spud love – minus the worry of the flab slab!

Adrak/Mirch ka halwa: While gajjar halwa is most synonymous with Indian winters, there was a time when winter meant ginger, mirch and gosht ka halwa… at least for the royalty. Given the heaty nature, these dishes made for satisfyingly hearty winter treats. Another in this category is khus khus ka halwa.   

Arisa Pitha: Made of jaggery, rice powder, ginger and pepper, this devilishly-fried crisp pancake (originating in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha) is known for its bold flavors and long-lasting taste

Thekua: The Bihari version of cookies, this deep fried jaggery-whole wheat treat goes perfectly with your morning cup of tea.

Click here to read The Winter Foodland – Part 3