The Winter Foodland – Part 3

Madhulika Dash

The final part of our three-part series, we round up the must-have eats which you should try this winter… 

Main Course

Rogan Josh: Stuffed with nuts and dry fruits along with fiery spices, this Kashmiri dish is a flavoursome foreplay of slow cooked succulent mutton seasoned to perfection with traditional spices.

Kashmiri Haaq: Even though the haaq is a staple of all Kashmiri thalis and is grown through the year, it is during early and later winters that this Kohlrabi green arrives in the mainland, making it a winter must-try. Stir-fried mostly with a little hing and dry red chilli, it is what helps digest the rich Wazwan. 

Bihari Mutton Curry: Interestingly the dish isn’t a winter special because of the use of mutton, but rather due to the liberal addition of mustard oil and ghee it is cooked in. It is the best way to enjoy litti in winters.

Undhiyo: The famous Gujarati dish is in fact a winter specialty that is an ode to the winter green basket: so aside from papdi, which is the main ingredient, the dish also has other winter goodies like brinjals, sweet potatoes, peas etc. which are tossed in traditional heat-generating spices to make a fiery, dry stew. Undhiyo is traditionally served with methi muthiyas, another winter must-have.

Shalgam- Gosht/ Chakundar Gosht: Cooking vegetables with meat has been an age old tradition in India, especially during winters. Like the Bhopali Chakundar Gosht or Shalgam Gosht. What makes the dish an absolute delight is the flavourplay of sweet-savoury and slightly spicy.

Chaa Gosht: A winter special from the hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh, the story goes that this dish was born at the same time as Channa Madra, as a herder’s winter staple. Made using buttermilk, besan and bay leaf, it runs the risk of becoming a comfort food with the very first bite!

Nimona: Made of peas, mangauris and tomato form, this spicy curry is an everyday winter classic from the  local kitchens of Uttar Pradesh.

Chaulai Ki Saag: The lesser known cousin of the popular sarson ka saag, this winter dish is a native of Uttar Pradesh and is made of superfood amaranth leaves. A rich source of vitamins, chaulai ki saag is traditionally served with bajre ki roti.

Haleem: Nowadays it is largely a celebratory dish at Eid, but originally Haleem was mainly served as a filling broth made of meat, wheat grains and lentils during cold season. Its popularity rose when it became a meal in itself, served at the sarai to soothe the tired body and soul of patrolling soldiers.

Zan: Unlike the Manipuri spicy relish Eromba (which is made of dried fish-fermented-bamboo shoots and raja chilli), Arunachal Pradesh’s  Zan is a made-to-order spicy porridge featuring a heap of vegetables and smoked meat. In fact it is the tastiest way to enjoy the Naga Smoked Pork!

Thukpa: If you love egg noodles textured with meat and a mix of white onion, ginger and garlic in a well-seasoned (harbouring towards spicy) soup, then Thukpa is the perfect comfort food for you this winter!    

Egg Daal/ Eastern Dal Tadka: If you are in Odisha in the winters and order a dal tadka, don’t be surprised if it comes mixed with an egg, whisked in right before plating. And while the composition of daal (moong, arhar and masoor) is the same, in Meghalaya version called the Egg Dal, cooks it with generous use of fresh turmeric and serves it with a soft-boiled egg instead.

Dolma: A gift from the Armenians who settled in West Bengal, dolma is an integral part of Bengali cuisine – what makes it a winter must-have is the fresh produce. Imagine a series of winter vegetables stuffed with gourmet goodness!

Click here to read Part 1 & Part 2 of Winter Foodland