With the start of monsoon season, the timer starts ticking for all the comfort food in this world and its combinations. It doesn’t matter whether you are a health-conscious, fitness freak who completely avoids junk and unhealthy snacks. But, to be honest, who in this world can say no to classic food combinations when it’s raining? Yes, exactly, it’s not the taste that I’m talking about; it’s the feeling that makes you cosy.
While we all are working at our offices in the afternoon; and we peep out of the window to catch a glimpse of rain pouring heavily. All we want is a hot cup of tea and a plate full of pakoras; this isn’t always possible. However, it may be considered on the weekends. The situation gets notified when the satellite television starts dysfunctioning 30 minutes prior to the first drop of rain entering the atmosphere. I know it’s really irritating. Nonetheless, at the same time; it’s a call to brew a hot beverage of your choice and fry some snacks.
Here, in this article, we shall be discussing the classic food combos which make your mouth watery during the rains.
Everyone loves a cup of tea in the monsoon. And nothing is better than a hot cup of chai in the cool rainy weather. The warmth that the body receives with every sip of the hot tea is pure pleasure. Plus, the added intake of caffeine is ecstasy to enjoy.
Not just in India, but, across the globe, there is a practice of having tea with some light and flavour full snacks. To be honest, I don’t know if there is a medical reason behind it or not, however, it’s a common practice.
The most popular combination in India is to have pakoras with tea. You may travel to any city across India; you will always find a pakora vendor right next to a tea stall. Pakoras are deep-fried vegetables that are dipped in a savoury batter. The batter is traditionally prepared with (besan) gram flour as the base.
I’m sure that everyone has tried and tested this monsoon combination a thousand times, but, a list of monsoon food combinations is incomplete without Chai-Pakora.
Idli & Coffee
Coffee & Idli is a rather old school and conventional food combination. Rava (rice flour) is the base of the batter. The batter then cooks in a steaming pot. Being a steamed dish, idli is the healthiest snack on our list.
Idli is usually served with Sambhar (curry) and coconut chutney. However, being a baked dish, the moisture content is very less. And, often rice flour chokes up the oesophagus. So, coffee pairs up as a fluid. Not only does coffee act as a cleanser, but the coffee flavour also enriches the palate.
You can find this monsoon food combination throughout the year at any Udupi (Classic South Indian Restaurant).
Pav-Bhaji & Coke
If you have ever been to Mumbai, then you very well know that Mumbaikars love their food, be it the golden oldie, Vada Pav or the modern fast-food meal, Pav-Bhaji. With time, Pav Bhaji now holds a spot on the menu of any restaurant across major cities in India.
Pav-Bhaji is every Mumbaikars comfort food. And what is a better time to have comfort food other than rains? And, as we all know, Mumbai experiences a considerable amount of rainfall year on year.
For those who don’t know what Pav-Bhaji is? Here is a brief gist; Bhaji is a gravy-like dish made from mashed potatoes, tomatoes, onions, capsicums and green peas with a touch of garlic for taste. And Pav i.e. bread is sautéed in an open pan in butter.
As the serving is piping hot, something cold is essential to even the balance, hence Coca-Cola. In fact, a decade ago, Coca-Cola India, launched the campaign – “Food Tastes Better with Coke” and Pav-Bhaji was one of their key dishes. This is not exactly one of the classic monsoon food combinations, but, it’s surely for Mumbaikars.
You can say that it’s a ritual, get drenched in the rains at least once have a plate of Pav Bhaji. This is literally food for the soul.
Once again, we have tea on our list. Well, it’s not a wrong thing to say that tea is indeed the best comfort food in sickness and in health. And for people like me, who start their day with a hot cup of tea, know what comfort-tea means.
Leaving all jokes and personal feelings aside, let’s fry boil down to Chai & Samosa. Pakoras and bhajiyas are common in the east, west and south India, but, when we talk about a deep-fried snack, the in the north, there are only Samosas.
Samosas are conventional Indian snack with spicy potato filling in a deep-fry flour coating. Deep fry ensures a crunchy outer crust with a hot and spicy filling. Perhaps, this combination has the widest reach across the country.
Toast Sandwich & Tomato Soup
Nobody likes to toil on the streets when it’s raining. All we want is comfort food. Something that makes us feels secure and cosy. Well, this monsoon food combination is unconventional and more modern.
Tomato Soup & Toast Sandwich – Two of the very common and ordinary dishes which can be found across any fast food joint across the globe. These are simple dishes with humble flavours. This when you realize, “Simplicity never goes out of fashion.” Yes, simple things are enough to make us feel warm and cosy. Sometimes, these simple meals make us feel at home and complete.
A hot bowl of tomato soup cuts through the tenacity of the bread and gives flavour to the sandwich. You shall not find this combination on any menu, but, it surely makes up for staying in on a rainy day.
Hot Chocolate & Cookies
A warm cup of hot chocolate or in this case, Bournvita; under the blanket is pure pleasure. And, a dish full of cookies surely intensifies the pleasurable experience.
Just visualize this; you are in your bed, wrapped around in a blanket, watching some late-night show with a cup of hot chocolate and cookies on the side stand. Yes, it’s definitely the kind of high we all work for day-in and day-out. Just the visualization gave you comfort, didn’t it? Now, how about experiencing it? You have the weather and bed. All you have to do is boil some milk, add chocolate powder and open a box of cookies. Voila! You are experiencing it now.
Instantaneously, you have a box full of happiness and mouth full of classic monsoon comfort food.
Green Tea with Stirred Fried Vegetables
This is comfort food for some of our health-conscious readers. Even if you aren’t health conscious, still you can try it. It’s refreshing, healthy and delicious.
Although, it involves a lot of preparation. You might need some vegetables in your refrigerator and spices in the cabinet. Dice up some veggies, sauté them in oil and toss them the pan high and low to get the flavour of all the spices incorporated in every little piece. Trust me; it’s one of the healthiest and most delicious comfort foods. The added bonus is that in spite of being comfort food, it’s not cheating on your diet.
Pan-fried vegetables often crave some fluids, and a cup of green tea serves the purpose. The tea helps in cleansing the palate as well as adding the raw bitter-sweet taste to the after taste of veggies, oil and spices. Yup, it’s a healthy mouth-watering monsoon food combination.
Red Wine & Pasta
Nor all of you drink neither everybody likes pasta on a monsoon evening. Yet, sitting on the balcony with a glass of red wine and dish full of spaghetti in marinara sauce is elegantly a guilty pleasure. Nonetheless, isn’t comfort food supposed to be a guilty pleasure?
Let the wine reach deep, taste oregano and basil in the marinara sauce and allow yourself to flow with the tomato juice. It’s an enchantment, if not for soul then body. Alone time is when wisdom strikes, plus wine makes your vision a bit hazy; allowing the mind to see things clearly.
Not the classiest of food combinations for Indian monsoon. However, respecting the western culture at times has always proven to be fruitful.
Puneri Misal & Piyush
A hint of chilli on the tongue and flavours of hot and spicy masalas exploding in your mouth, that’s misal.
A classic Maharashtrian dish made from various pulses in different parts of Maharashtra. However, Pune is considered as the origin of this authentically spicy dish. Moth beans are the core ingredient of Misal, yet, some versions also feature white peas as the core ingredient.
Misal is usually served with bread and chopped onion that add flavour to the spiciness and leaves a remarkable after taste in the mouth.
Piyush balances the hot-chilli flavour of Misal. Piyush is a sweet cooler prepared from sweetened yoghurt (shrikhand) and buttermilk. Addition of spices like cardamom and saffron enriches the taste.
This is one other classic food combination suitable for all the weathers. Nevertheless, it’s eccentric in monsoon as the spiciness from Misal gives energy and Piyush refreshes the palate.
Mac & Cheese with Milk
You must be wondering, what kind of a crazy person would suggest Mac & Cheese with Milk? Well, I encountered this combination for the first time in the feature film, Home Alone. On Christmas Eve, Kevin portrayed by Macaulay Culkin is having is dinner: Mac & Cheese with Milk just before his fortress is attacked by two hilarious goons.
Ever since Mac & Cheese with a glass of warm milk has been one of the favourite dishes amongst kids. It’s tasty, comfortable and hassle-free.
Well, we all know that Mac & Cheese is a comfort at the best, and milk is the blanket of warmth on a cool rainy afternoon. Pair the two and you have a monsoon food combination. Simple, yet elegant!
This is our list. What are your favourite monsoon food combinations? Do let us know in the comments section below.