From steaming momos and cocktails to the age old pakora,the monsoons are a time to revisit some of the age old food classics,along with some new ones
Usually associated with muddy puddles and bright greens all around,the monsoons are also home to some of the most interesting roadside as well as high end foods that can take a foodie on a gastronomical delight. The pakoras,hot chai,momos and the high end fritters and sizzlers are all a varied range of options that make people shiver with joy. While it is a well known fact that the monsoons awaken appetites,a lot of restaurants across Pune have planned special menus for the season,while some are simply revamping old monsoon favourites to delight them.
Take for instance the Courtyard By Marriott in Hinjewadi. They change their menu every season and Executive Chef,Sahadev Mehta has a number of suggestions for the monsoons. He says,My all time favourite in the monsoons are momos and you can make them with so many different ingredients. We offer different types of momos,with a chilli prawn preparation,Potsticker dumplings and asparagus and mushroom momos for the vegetarians. Another monsoon favourite is the Sikkimese Thukpa,which is a noodle broth,sometimes served with chicken or meat.A self confessed foodie,he is also excited about pakoras.
While this might be an upscale option,for a lot of people in the city,the little kiosks that have mushrooming across the city,with the onset of the first rains offer a lot of choices too. Right from various sandwiches,bhajji,to special chai,they are all on the list that people can relish.
There are some monsoon dishes that never go out of fashion and are all the more delightful for their affordability. Maharashtrian favourites like misal pav and curry can be found at joints like The Village at Hadapsar and Jhopdi Missal at Ganesh Peth. Rasam,a south-Indian hot and spicy concoction is great when it’s wet and chilly and you need something to give you a quick rush of warmth. Rasam can be found easily at famous South-Indian outlets in the city like Shivsagar or Bhairavi or any of the udipi restaurants across the city.
Chef Nader Shaikh at Le Meridien also favours pakodas or fritters whenever it rains and says,All-time favourites on our menu are the Paneer and Soya Croquette and Baby Corn Fritters. He adds that hot drinks and soups are a surefire hit in the season and recommends the Tomato and Pepper Shorba. Sometimes cocktails can help you to deal with the cold and get over the gloom. Daiquiris are popular in this season and they go well with sizzlers.
At Malaka Spice there are the Mint and Tomato Fish Steak,the Rendang Fish or the Pepper Crab especially prepared for the season. All three are inspired by the season and are accordingly hot,rich and comforting, says representative Farhad Patel.
The chefs suggest that amongst the hot desserts,one can opt for flourless chocolate cake and a walnut brownie. Amongst others are waffles and pancakes as they are easy on the palate.