Feeling cold? Dig in to some Vasanu
|By: Sunday Team MiD DAY|| ||Date:
2011-01-02|| ||Place: Mumbai|
|From the Parsi dish that uses 30 ingredients to Ismaili laddoos made from garlic, winter food in the city is a gastronomic adventure. Follow the winter food trail with food blogger Shaheen Peerbhai |
This unassuming snack from Bihar is traditionally made by warming sattu (baked gram flour) in hot sand, which is then mixed with onions, ajwain (carom seed), garlic, coriander, chillies and other condiments to prepare a stuffing. The litti (ball) is made of flour mixed with curd, and the stuffing goes inside. The chokha is made of brinjals and tomatoes, and the dish is usually served with a bowl of melted ghee. Sample it at food stalls in Azad Nagar, and next to Dara da Dhaba in Ghodbunder.
Gulpoli is like puranpoli, except that it doesn't have chana dal (chickpea flour) mixed in it. The filling is usually a fragrant mixture of jaggery, cardamom and nutmeg, and can include sesame seeds and dry fruit. It's especially popular amongst Maharashtrians on Makar Sankranti, along with the famous til gud (sweet made with sesame seeds). Kutumb Sakhi (kutumbsakhi.blogspot.com) takes orders.
Vasanu, a Parsi dish, wins hands down as the most complex winter preparation on this list. It is made up of no less than 30 ingredients, ranging from lotus roots to dill seeds, so you're better off buying this one off the shelf. The slightly gritty, brown paste-like vasanu I sampled was from a tiny store, Waghji Virji, in Andheri (W). It was redolent with ginger and had a lingering aftertaste. It is also available at the Ratan Tata Institute.
Adadiya is an urad dal-based sweet packed with garam masala, dry fruit, ghee and goondar (edible gum). Like other winter sweets, its main function is to increase body heat and vitality. It's easy to find this in any farsan shop. I buy mine from Jain Dry Fruit store near Andheri station.
Green garlic in the market means only one thing in an Ismaili family -- lasun laddoo for breakfast. It's made of bajra (pearl millet), green garlic and (lots of) ghee. It's usually eaten with yoghurt, baingan bharta (brinjal) and papad. While it's not available in shops, Zarina (9930712762) takes orders.
Baajre ka khichda
This Rajasthani fare is made with bajra (pearl millet), gur (jaggery) and lots of ghee. It is eaten especially to keep the body warm in dipping temperatures. More than anything else, the warm, delicious-smelling khichda is the quintessential comfort food. Dig into it at Choki Dani, Thane.
Bhapa Sondesh is the closest you can get to a velvet-like feel in your mouth. While sondesh is available all year round, we in Mumbai can get the Bhapa Sondesh only in the winters. Nolen Gurer Rosogalla (a rasgulla made from fresh jaggery) is yet another winter specialty. Find both at Sweet Bengal outlets across the city.
Lolo -- Sindhis also refer to it lovingly as loli -- is a thick, crispy flatbread made from whole wheat flour. A piping hot lolo is taken off the pan and dipped in a mixture of sugar or jaggery syrup, scented with green cardamom. Oodles of ghee is of utmost importance in helping the lolo qualify as a winter winner. Eat this at Chandru Pure Ghee Sweets, Seven Bungalows, Andheri (W).
Sarson ka saag with makke di roti
This quintessential Punjabi winter dish is made from mustard greens, and served with maize roti and dollops of white butter. Any Punjabi would swear by the health benefits of fresh saag. Accompaniments to complete the winter meal include piping hot gaajar (carrot) ka halwa, loaded with mawa and dry fruit, of course. Head to any good Punjabi restaurant like Urban Tadka in Andheri to get a taste of the real deal.