A global treat: Comfort food recipes for the monsoon, from all over the world

  • Anubhuti Matta, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 06, 2016 13:03 IST
Would you rather some Ethiopian stew or a Turkish soup over chai and bhajia the next time you see it pitter-patter?

You’re probably done with the annual monsoon rituals — shopping for neon raincoats and trendy gumboots, getting steaming chai and spicy pakodas, hunting down the perfectly roasted corn on the cob.

Ever wondered what the pitter-patter means for the rest of the world? While in India, it means kickstarting cravings for spicy, crunchy munchies, in China and Ethiopia, rainy days aren’t about chai or samosa.

Step up to the plate this season — make yourself comforting dishes that have brightened up many a cold, rainy day in other parts of the world. We’ve got you a bunch of recipes to start with. Take the Doro Wat from Ethiopia — a long-simmered sour and spicy stew, traditionally served with flatbread called Injera. Lentil soup from Turkey will leave you with a warm soup belly on a windy day, and China’s Dan Dan noodles could make up for your spiced cravings. Elevate your cup of chai to Hong Kong’s Kopi Cham, a heady mix of tea and coffee.

“Stews and soup make for warm, hearty meals, perfect for the rains,” says Ananya Banerjee, home chef and author of Planet Gastronomy: 100 Most Popular Global Recipes.

“In the monsoon, you want to eat hot dishes that are umami-rich and full of flavor,” says chef Kelvin Cheung, owner of Bandra restaurants One Street Over and Bastian. “Noodles are a good way to go, as they are known to be comforting mood-lifters.”

It’s time to travel the world, one bowl at a time.

Dan Dan Noodles, with roots in Chinese Sichuan cuisine

Serves four

Chef Kelvin Cheung says Dan Dan noodles are perfect mood-lifters in the rains.

For the soup base, add a kilo of de-stemmed mushrooms to 2 litres of vegetable stock. After boiling, add 2 stalks of lemongrass, 50g each of green chillies and dried red chillies, 2 cups of peanuts and 2 cans of coconut milk. Gently simmer for 2 hours. Blend until smooth, then strain the mixture.

For the mushroom mixture, heat half a cup of oil of your choice in a large pan, on a medium to high flame. Add cleaned mushrooms and roast until golden brown.

Then add 100g of chopped garlic and 50g each of green and dried chillies. Add 50g of szechuan peppercorns. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once cool, add the mushroom mixture to the food processor and lightly chop.

When ready to serve, drop soaked rice noodles into boiling soup base. Top with a heaping spoon of mushroom mixture. Garnish with roasted chopped peanuts, chilli oil, and chopped scallions.

Recipe: Chef Kelvin Cheung, owner of Bastian and One Street Over, Bandra

Read: How Chinese food has taken over the Indian palate

Mercimek Corbasi from Turkey

Serves four

The lentil soup from Turkey will leave you with a warm soup belly on a windy day.

Heat a large tablespoon of butter in a pot. Chop 1 large onion and a carrot and fry them till soft. Then add 1 cup of boiled red split lentils, 6 mugs of chicken or vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently until lentils are soft. Blend the mixture in a food processor till smooth. Once the mixture is ready, season with salt, pepper and cumin to taste. Serve steaming hot with wedges of lemon and crusty bread.

Recipe: Ananya Banerjee, home chef and author of Planet Gastronomy: 100 Most Popular Global Recipes

Doro Wat from Ethiopia

Serves four

Traditionally served with the crusty Injera bread, this spicy Ethiopian chicken stew can be eaten with the Maharastrian amboli or a thick uttapam.

For the berbere paste, mix a cup of chopped onion, 1 tbsp each of ginger, minced garlic and paprika. Add 1 tbsp each of cumin, turmeric, chilli flakes, cardamom, fenugreek seeds, peppercorn and cloves. To this, add 2 to 3 dried red chillies and a pinch of nutmeg powder. Add half cup of oil, a cup of water and salt to taste. Dry-roast mixture and grind all the ingredients in a food processor. This paste can be used in most Ethiopian cooking.

For the stew, marinate 4 pieces each of chicken drumsticks and thighs in 1 tbsp of lemon juice and salt for 30 minutes. Puree 1 cup of onions and 1 tbsp each of minced garlic and ginger.

Heat 1/4th cup oil and 1/4th cup butter in a large pot. Add 2 tbsp of paprika to color the oil. Stir in half cup of berbere paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion-garlic-ginger puree and sauté until oil leaves the side of the pan. Add half cup of water or stock and 1/4 cup red wine, and stir-in the chicken pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.

Cover and let it simmer for 25 minutes. Add 4 whole hard-boiled eggs and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is very tender. Served best with a traditional Maharastrian amboli or a thick uttapam.

For vegetarians, the stew can be made with soya chunks instead of the chicken, without the eggs.

Recipe: Ananya Banerjee, home chef and author of Planet Gastronomy: 100 Most Popular Global Recipes

Roti Helicopter from Malaysia

Serves two

You could coat Malaysia’s Roti Helicopter with jam or eat it with ice-cream.

For the coconut jam, whisk four eggs with 200g of demerera sugar, 150g coconut cream and 200ml of coconut milk. Strain the mixture. Set up a double boiler. Caramelise 50g of castor sugar, and add into the bowl on the double boiler. Slowly add the egg mixture and continuously mix using a spatula, making sure the paste doesn’t curdle. Add 3 knotted pandan leaves and cook on the double boiler, stirring constantly for 20 minutes, till the mixture thickens slightly. Make a slurry of 10g of cornflour and add to the mixture. Cook for another 2 minutes. Take it off the flame and transfer to another container and let it cool.

For the roti, take 70g of naan dough and roll to make it paper thin. Apply 2 tablespoons of oil on it. Place the flattened dough on a hot griddle. Cook on each side and sprinkle a mixture of salt and sugar on one side. Cut the roti in half on the griddle and roll into two cones. Finish on a plate with a drizzle of 20g coconut jam and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Recipe: Chef Atul Kochhar, owner of Michelin-starred restaurant Benares in London and NRI and Lima in BKC

Read: Home run: Chef Atul Kochhar is bringing back Indian food that went international

Kopi Cham from Hong Kong

Serves one

Kopi Cham, a heady mix of tea and coffee, can be served hot or iced.

Boil 2 cups of water. Add 1/4 cup black tea leaves and simmer for 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of milk or condensed milk and simmer it for 3 minutes.

Stir in 2 cups of strong coffee, add sugar to taste. Strain and serve hot or chilled over ice.

Recipe: Roopanshi Bhat, owner, Tea Villa Café, Bandra

Read: This monsoon, have ‘chai-pakoda’ delivered to your door

also read

Your furry best friends need some love: Tips to keep dogs safe this Diwali
Show comments