How Indians Celebrate Winter Through Food

How Indians Celebrate Winter Through Food

With the sun a bit softer, the breeze a little cooler, and marketplaces filled with fresh and colourful vegetables, a drop in body temperature stimulates the appetite and experience of hunger. Every end of the year, India celebrates winters through its diverse food culture setting up a warm and cozy delight. We at The Food Affairs bring to you a range of seasonal ingredients that can be consumed and savored in this frigid weather to stay warm and healthy.

Oranges, regarded as slices of the sun on the plate throughout the winter, are typically available in huge quantities at a lesser cost than during the off-season. Peeling a fresh juicy orange or pouring a glass of orange juice can be a simple step to add some distinctive flavor and a boost of health benefits to winter recipes. Fresh oranges are also an excellent source of fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamins.

Sugarcane is also quite refreshing in the winter as it completely hydrates the body, which may be dehydrated owing to less water consumption in the colder months. Carrots, beets, and tomatoes are the most responsive winter vegetables. They can be consumed in a wide variety of ways and provide many health benefits when integrated into the diet. Being rich in different health-beneficial compounds, they are great choices for cold season consumption, whether eaten raw or juiced.

Instead of the frozen peas we typically eat in the summer, the winter is all about savouring the fresh, juicy pea pods. These peas offer excellent nutritional advantages, especially during this season of the year. In the winter, cooking a deliciously healthful dish with strong body-warming benefits, such as the evergreen bajra, is a strong alternative. In addition to being warm, it is highly favoured as it digests slowly, thus, making one feel fuller for longer durations. Make the most of this gluten-free food in any form preferred to be consumed as—roti, khichdi, khakra, or fritters.

Jowar, Makki, and Ragi are three winter-specific millets that improve one’s health. These millets and grains are full of medicinal value and encourage well-being, so integrating them into a balanced diet can be a wise choice, aiding a healthy lifestyle. ‘Poonkh’ and ‘Hudha’ are common names of these millets in Gujarat and Maharashtra, where they are mostly cultivated. Along with names being varied, the manner in which they are presented and consumed in each culture is also very distinct. In Gujarat, they are seasoned with lemon and a few masalas and then topped with a variety of sev, a specialty of the region. At the same time, in Maharashtra, they are commonly offered with ‘thecha’, a dry peanut chutney.

How is it possible to overlook desserts when addressing food culture? Delicious milk-based desserts are more common in the winter. Daulat ki chaat is an ethereal delicacy made with a pot of milk and dew from a chilly winter moonlight night. Even today, in certain regions of northern India, traditional makers of the sweet work through the nights to whip up massive pots of milk into a delicate froth whilst richly garnishing it with nuts and silver foil. The outcome is a sumptuous yet light dessert with a nutty flavour and a frothy melt-in-your-mouth softness. The dish is also more well-liked in Kanpur and Banaras, where they are referred to as Malaiyo and Makkhan, respectively.

Our culture is nurtured to be mindful of all seasonal changes and find occasions to celebrate them with food. It would not be difficult to list many more winter delicacies, but it would be invaluable to try and comprehend how the social and cultural landscape around us, at both the micro and macro levels, responds to the external environment through regional meals.

Here wishing all a well-fed winter!

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