Rainy affair: Binge on these lip-smacking monsoon snacks
Monsoon is incomplete without treats that are just too tempting to resist. Here are some culinary hacks to cook for a flavourful evening.Updated: Jul 25, 2020, 16:42 IST
Picture this. It’s a beautiful monsoon evening and you’re in your balcony. The aroma of fresh rainwater in the air, and the wind is blowing through your hair… What could be a better way of enjoying the evening than with a hot cup of tea and piping hot pakodas!
The connection between food and monsoon goes way back. “Monsoon brings joy in terms of distinct flavours and an array of choices, be it smoky bhutta, crisp pakoda, sinful chaat, steaming momos and kadak chai!” says chef Nishant Choubey.
Arun Sundararaj, executive chef at Taj Mahal, New Delhi, believes that just like an appetiser, monsoons have the power to enhance one’s food cravings. “Monsoons also bring with it a heightened sense of care towards what we eat and food handling. The best balance is, therefore, one of satisfying the taste buds as well as ensuring better immunity,” he adds.
If you’re looking for something other than the conventional chai-pakoda combo, here are some dishes you could try that will perfectly complement a hot cuppa:
Corn gets a Thai twist
(Recipe by chef Nishant Choubey)
Give your regular corn tikkis a Thai twist! You will need 200g of corn kernels, corn flour – enough to thicken, 1/3tsp of Soy sauce, 100ml of coconut milk, 1tsp of broth powder, 10g of kafirlime /lemongrass/bird eye chili (herb mix), milk – enough to boil the corn, oil – to sauté and fry. For Aromate, take 20g of onion, 20g of garlic and 1 red chilli.
Method: Boil the corn in milk. Puree to ensure that the paste is smooth. Heat a pan, in it, add oil and herb mix and cook for two minutes. Then, add corn puree, coconut milk, broth powder and soy sauce. Thicken the mixture by adding corn starch. Set in a greased tray and cut like a cake. Dust it with corn starch and deep fry.
For topping, fry chopped onion, chopped garlic and red chili in hot oil and combine together. Serve the corn cakes with the topping.
(Recipe by chef Ripu Daman Handa)
In the mood for something Mexican, but short of ingredients? You can always give regular quesadillas a desi tadka with some leftover chapattis. For this, you would require 2 chapattis, 2tbsp of butter, half bell pepper (red and yellow), 1 green chilli, 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), half an onion, 3 basil leaves, cheese (as required), salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of tomato sauce.
Method: To a heated pan, add butter and place one chapatti. Spread tomato sauce on it and begin placing the ingredients one by one. Once done, place the other chapatti on top of it and press lightly. Switch off the flame, cover with a lid and let it cook for about two to three minutes. Once evenly cooked, chop it in the form of triangles and serve hot.
Spinach in a tasty avatar
(Recipe by chef Arun Sundararaj)
An amalgamation of flavour and fitness, we’d say! Take 500g of spinach leaves, 250g of gram flour, 200g of corn flour, 10g of crushed coriander seeds, 10g of carom seeds, 10g of turmeric powder, 10g of yellow chilli powder, 10g of finely chopped ginger, 10g of finely chopped green chilli, 15g of coriander powder, oil, salt and black chat masala to taste.
For presentation: 2 big spinach leaves
For dry mango chutney: 50g of dry mango powder, 250g of sugar, 50g of Kashmiri chilli powder, 1l of water
Method: Remove stalks from spinach leaves and shred in medium size. They should be washed three to four times in a colander and left overnight for the water to drain out. Next, add the rest of the ingredients in a big bowl and mix well till it gets frying consistency. Now, make small marble-size balls with the thick batter and fry it till 70% done. Take it out from the oil. Let it rest for a while and then fry it again to make it crisp.
Dip the bigger leaves individually into thin gram flour batter with all the above ingredients, except carom seeds, and fry till crisp. Fry the balls till it makes noise in the bowl.
For chutney: Take all ingredients in a bowl and cook for 10 minutes on medium flame, till you get a chutney-like consistency.
Toss the fried balls with dry mango chutney and black chaat masala in a bowl. Put on the plate as shown in picture with a big leaf on top.
Desi Chinese delicacy
(Recipe by chef Guntas Sethi Bhasin)
Crunchy on the outside, spicy on the inside! For the filling, you will need 2 cups of shredded cabbage, 1 medium carrot (julienned), 1/2 bell pepper (julienned), 2 spring onions (white and green separated), 1-2tbsp of olive oil, 1-2tsp of soya sauce or soy sauce, 1tsp of vinegar, 1/2tsp of pepper powder or crushed pepper, salt to taste, 1 cup of cooked noodles.
For spring rolls, take 6 spring roll wrappers frozen, 1 cup of oil for deep frying or 1tbsp of oil for baking
Method: Add oil to a hot pan and saute spring onion whites. Add all the veggies, except onion greens, and fry on a high flame until half done yet crunchy. To this, add soya sauce and vinegar. Mix well. Add onion greens, pepper and very little salt. Also, add boiled noodles (al dente). Mix and take it off the heat. Allow it to cool completely.
To prepare the roll, spread one wrapper, place a spoonful of stuffing. Roll one edge towards the inner side covering the stuffing. Bring the sides to the centre. Dampen the left over edge and roll the wrapper to seal. Next, heat the oil until hot enough. Add in the rolls and fry evenly by stirring until golden. Remove them and place on a kitchen tissue. Alternatively you can also bake them for 15 minutes at 180 degrees or until golden-brown.
Serve vegetable spring rolls hot with Thai sweet chilli sauce.
(Recipe by chef Kuldeep Singh)
There’s no such thing as too much cheese, is there? You would need 6 big potatoes (boiled), 3tbsp of grated cheese, 2 green chillies, 1tbsp of coriander leaves, 2tbsp of corn flour, salt to taste, 1/2tsp of chopped garlic, 200g of bread crumbs, 1/2l of oil for frying, 10 cheese cubes (stuffing), few basil leaves.
Method: Grate potato in a mixing bowl. To this, add grated cheese, corn flour, green chilli, salt and coriander leaves. Mix nicely and form a smooth, non-sticky dough. To shape the balls, grease your hands with oil and divide the mixture into 10 equal pieces. Start shaping them into round balls. Then, gently flatten using fingers, place a small cube of cheese and cover it neatly with the same mixture. Before frying, refrigerate for around 15 minutes for better result. Once done, coat the cheese balls nicely with bread crumbs. You can even dip first into a mixture of corn flour and water.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high flame. Once the oil is hot, carefully add cheese balls in small batches. Fry till golden-brown and crisp from all sides. Garnish cheese balls with a sprig of basil leaves and serve immediately with tomato salsa or any dip of your choice.
Author tweets @srinidhi_gk