Food for a rainy day

If there is anything that is better than Dilli ki sardi, it has got to be Mumbai ki barish. This beautiful city just got more beautiful following the past few days of rains! Monsoons in Mumbai are magnificent! One of my favorite things to do when it is pouring outside is to sit in the balcony of my Juhu home with a cup of tea and listen to music and read a book. The pitter-patter of raindrops is absolutely synonymous to the sweet melody of Kishore Kumar’s voice. However, these luxurious days do not happen as often as I would like them to, thanks to a busy work schedule. I have had a ball of a time shooting for Master Chef India – season 3. The passion and love for cooking that the contestants has inspired several other people to pick up their karchis and pans and step into their kitchens, while I step into the sets of my show on FoodFood – Sanjeev Kapoor’s Kitchen. Time flies during the shoot and the only time I realize how beautiful and rainy it is outside is post pack up! Also, I have been travelling for my Live Shows in Jodhpur which was yesterday and tomorrow will be in Ahmedabad for the same. Work doesn’t stop amidst the rains as well, that’s what the best part is about the Mumbai rains as well. The spirit of Mumbaikars never dies and they are on the go and moving, unless really stuck!

This kind of weather also manages to work up quite an appetite. At the same time, we are also finicky about eating out during the monsoons. The best thing to do is to whip up something for yourself at home, sit by the window and enjoy the rains while basking in the glory of the dish that you have prepared. The dark skies and heavy clouds make us lazier than ever so you don’t want to make something that is too complicated or involves too much preparation. The good thing about this is that more often than not the simplest dishes are the best ones. I’m sharing with you 3 things that are sure to put you in the right monsoon spirit and satiate your hunger on days when it is pouring cats and dogs outside!

Soups: Soups are a palpable choice for rainy days. A bowl of hot soup on a chilly rainy day is what bliss really is about. Besides the comforting factor, soups are also great for you because they are highly nutritious and easy to make. The best part about homemade soups is that you can alter the soup to your preference and taste. Whether you are making a Chinese soup, international stew or an Indian shorba, soups give you ample freedom to tweak the recipes. You can also use a number of side dishes like vegetable sticks, croutons, bread sticks and salads, etc. and make a complete meal out of it.

One dish meals: When I think of rainy days and one dish meals, the dish that comes to my mind is laksa. Laksa is originally a Malaysian noodle and coconut milk based stew. The spice from the chilli paste and the sweetness from the coconut milk offer a perfect balance of flavours for a stormy monsoon day. While my favorite is a Prawn Laksa, a chicken or beancurd laksa is equally delicious. You can also make rice and vegetable casserole or my all time-all season favorite kadhi chawal. These are minimum effort-maximum satisfaction dishes which are all you need for monsoons.

Pakoras: It will be unfair if I’m talking about monsoon treats and don’t mention pakoras or bhajiyas as they are called in some parts of the country. While deep-fried garma-garam onion and potato bhajiyas are classic, it is time to move on and explore more different types of pakoras, for example, something like chawal ke pakore which can be made using left over rice or a paneer sandwich pakora or even a pasta pakora. One thing that comes along with the joy of eating pakoras is the guilt for cheating on your diet. The solution to this is baking instead of deep-frying. Try baking pakoras, I assure you that they are as tasty as the deep-fried version and obviously a lot healthier. Have them with a hot cup of green tea with honey instead of masala chai with sugar and you can wave bye to all of the guilt associated with pakoras and chai.

If you live in Mumbai or for that part in most parts of India, you will realize that you can either love the rains or hate the rains but there is no way you can ignore them. Luckily for me I have always been a fan of the rains and thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the monsoon, especially how beautiful and green it makes our surroundings. Combine some good food with this weather and you will for sure have a smile on your face. I would love to know about your favorite monsoon food and food stories. Tell me what you are cooking this monsoon.

And as I end, giving you some of the Monsoon specials to try on:
Baked Pakore 
Chicken Laksa
Chicken Laksa 
Chilli Lemon Stewed Vegetables with Noodles 
Keep cooking, keep eating and make the most of the rains while they last!
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor 

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