The time of the year when the monsoon rains throw caution to the wind and petrichor takes over our olfactory senses is here, and our bitter-sweet journey is accompanied by our favourite snacks! Be it the calming drizzle of the rain on the window pane, the bright green leaves that adorn the trees, or the pleasant breeze that ruffles through our hair when outside, there’s something about monsoon which makes us crave for food that is not only scrumptious and delicious but also comforting. This of course, is not limited to the meal times but all the in-betweens and multiple tea breaks throughout the day.
From sweet to savoury, morning or evening, these snacks will bring you the perfect warmth and comfort that you so crave for during the monsoons.
Momo: The dumplings which come steamed or fried, have stolen the hearts of many a foodie. Generally filled with chicken or vegetable, mixed with different ingredients such as garlic, ginger, coriander or even tomatoes are quite popular. The centre can be filled with cheese or the deshi paneer as well.
Corn: Corn or bhutta, popularly eaten roasted over fire and paired with tamarind sauce (something close to the Bengali’s hearts) and a mixture of spices, is a must have during monsoon. You can also have the humble corn in its steamed form brushed with butter while it is still hot or you could take the kernels separately, and mix it with your choice of butter and spices.
Aloo puri and Shingara: While these two are our best friends throughout the year, they are just extra special during the rain. Hot out of the frying pan with the circular centres filled with spicy mashed potato when it comes to the puri, while the belly of the shingara fits comfortably a mix of vegetables with diced potatoes as their king, these two really know how to partner up with a cup of hot tea.
Vegetable Pakora: Of course the pakora is here! It’s a monsoon staple. Its crispy, crunchy golden brown exterior with a soft centre is not only easily prepared or customisable to whichever vegetables you prefer, but is absolutely delightful as well.
Carrot and sweet potato fritters: Keeping healthy is key for all of us leading hectic lives but that doesn’t mean we have to compromise on taste. Enter- Carrot and sweet potato fritters. Season your mashed carrots and sweet potatoes with salt, add in an egg and flour, and milk if necessary, along with spices of your choice and mix well before frying or baking. Here is a party with each bite especially if paired with fresh yoghurt as dip.
Cinnamon Bun: How can monsoon snacks be complete without dessert? Cinnamon buns are especially close to my heart as it fills the house with a sweet aroma that accompanies baking bread with the scent of cinnamon and butter hugging each other within. A mixture of cinnamon and sugar is layered onto a bed of buttered dough which is then rolled up and cut into portions, ready to be baked. The sweet bun can be enjoyed any time of the day.
Banana Bread: The bananas that went ‘bad’ sitting on your table or refrigerator are actually wonderful for this snack, because the black spots or completely blackened skin that indicate ripeness is directly proportional to sweetness. Mashed up and mixed with flour, eggs, baking soda and some butter, the banana bread is almost a cake. If you’re making this in your house, expect your neighbours’ noses to go up in the air trying to follow the scent.
Tel er pitha: Widely favoured during winter, this pitha deserves a year-round presence, and if not that, definitely a second appearance during monsoon. These round pockets of sweet delight are made with a mix of water, rice flour and date jaggery. The runny mixture fluffs up when it hits the hot oil. The centre features an amalgamation of the doughy goodness while the circular circumference features a crunchy texture.
Gulab Jamun: Round berry shaped and bite-sized golden brown balls glistening from being doused in a sugary syrup, the gulab jamun is a favourite among all sweet lovers in Bangladesh. Served warm, the gulab jamun can make you see fireworks in the rain.
An Ode to the favourite- Khichuri: Although this isn’t a snack, for some of us, and I mean MOST of us, the first and last of rains, including those in the middle, call for plates full of bhuna or letka khichuri paired with mango achaar, beef curry, or fried eggplants. And on a day that you are blessed with the rains and do not have to traverse the water-clogged roads to school, university, or office, the khichuri is a must before a long nap in the middle of the morning.