There is something magical about rains, particularly in India. The overcast skies, the pitter-patter, the petrichor, the misty air and gusty winds, ‘washed’ trees, and bubbly kids as well as kid-like adults jumping in the puddles as they walk down wrapped in raincoats or under their umbrellas, pretty much sum up monsoon for us. For food lovers, it is just another excuse to enjoy yet another cup of masala chai with pakoras!
Most of us love to eat chaat and corn on the cob or bhajiyas and samosas when it is pouring outside. But what do Sindhis love to eat on a rainy day? Plenty sinful things I must say!
Read on to know some of our monsoon favourites.
Batan (Batar) Papdi Chaat: Savoury button-shaped rusks served with tangy tamarind chutney, along with boiled potato chunks and papdi is a famous Sindhi chaat that could be relished anytime, irrespective of the weather.
Chaap chola & Tahiri (R). Photo: Alka Keswani
Chaap chola: The wet weather calls for something hot, spicy and filling too. Chaap chola or a shallow fried potato patty (chaap) topped with spicy chole (garbanzo beans curry), mint chutney and onion slices, fits the bill. Quite similar to ragda patties, however the patty here is stuffed with spicy chana dal and is shallow fried in fat (generally a mix of oil and butter or ghee) and has a crisp crust. The curry is made by cooking kabuli chana in a spicy onion-tomato gravy.
Tahiri: An aromatic preparation of rice with jaggery or sugar, saffron, raisins, dried coconut slices and fennel seeds, tahiri is savoured with Saibhaji or with a potato curry cooked with onions and brinjal (who knows, this could be related to the Harappan brinjal curry that the world is talking about!)
Sindhi-style samosas. Photo: Alka Keswani
Samosa: A crisp or flaky crust stuffed with fillings varying from fennel and garam masala flavoured potatoes to the milder garlic flavoured ones or spicy kheema (minced mutton), these fried desi pastries are a favourite of one and all.
Bhee Tikki: Boiled lotus stem stuffed with Sindhi-style pesto (ginger, garlic, coriander leaves and green chillies, pounded), dipped in a besan batter and fried till golden brown, these traditional Bhee tikkis evoke feelings of nostalgia among the old.
Kuireen Khichreen: Piping hot khichdi prepared by cooking rice and husked green gram, flavoured with green cardamom, pepper corns and ghee is relished not only during summers, but also when it rains. Any dry subzi, fryums, pickle and papad are its best accompaniments.
Bhee tikki & khichdi. Photo: Alka Keswani
Mutton/ Kheema Pav: Slow cooked goat meat in a delicious onion and tomato gravy, mildly spiced with garam masala, served on a bed of torn pieces of pav, topped with green chutney and onion rings is a scrumptious way to keep yourself warm and satiated when the world around you is wet and cold.
Kadhi Chaanwaran: A signature Sindhi dish, this tangy gram flour kadhi ladled over rice in a bowl spells comfort food on a rainy day!
Thado:Thado means cold in Sindhi. Around July-August, when the community celebrates Gogro (Naag panchmi) and Thadri (in honour of goddess Shitladevi), foods like lolo (jaggery flavoured rotis or cakes), koki, lentil-stuffed parathas and dahi bhalla are cooked a day ahead and consumed cold the next day. They make for exceptionally great cold meals.
Sannah pakora: We also satiate our monsoon cravings for something crunchy and fried by making sannah pakora, which is nothing but double-fried besan (gram flour). Simply mix together some gramflour, chopped onions, coriander leaves and seeds, pomegranate seeds, green chillies, a pinch of soda bicarbonate and add a little water to make a thick batter. Drop spoonfuls of this batter in hot oil and fry on medium flame until almost done. Remove, break into smaller pieces and flash fry again till the fritters are brown and crisp. Serve with mint coriander chutney.