In winter, we yearn for something hot and spicy that will warm us up from the inside. Indian food is the perfect option for those cold winter nights where all you want is something delicious. Indian food, while popular for being extra spicy and hot, can be adjusted according to one’s taste and palette. Every region in India has its version of winter dishes that taste good only when they are made in the season. Made with fresh produce, these dishes highlight the best of the produce available during wintertime. Here are some of our favorite Indian wintertime recipes - both spicy and sweet.
Khichdi is a popular rice dish eaten in all parts of India, and therefore there are unlimited variations of the recipe. It is the ultimate comfort food for wintertime and can be eaten regardless of what you do and do not have at home. Khichdi is made with rice and pulses (any that you have at home). You can also add vegetables like carrots, potatoes, cauliflowers, peas, capsicum, onions or any other available vegetable. To make this dish spicy, you can add chilli powder according to your taste.
Rasam is a popular partner for a lot of South Indian dishes including idli, vada and rice. Most South Indian families make garlic rasam during the winter for an added kick. The rasam is made with black peppercorns, chilli powder, split chickpeas, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic and tamarind. Due to the addition of garlic, this dish has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic can be added whole, crushed or even as a dried powder.
Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding)
The first sweet dish on our list, carrot pudding, is specially made during winter. It requires only four main ingredients: carrots, whole cream, sugar, and ghee (clarified butter). The carrots are partly cooked in clarified butter and then in the whole cream before sugar is added. To make this dish tasty, it is best to let it stew for at least one hour. Gajar Ka Halwa can be eaten warm, i.e., straight after cooking, or it can be cooled down. The pudding can also be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Chai tea is among the most famous Indian dishes in the world. However, Indians create a different version of chai tea during the winter. Packed with warmth from whole spices, masala chai is often served with breakfast, high tea or even an after-dinner snack. To make masala chai, you can brew black tea leaves with whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, ginger (dried or fresh) and nutmeg. The whole spices can also be crushed into a powder beforehand and then be added every time you brew the tea.