5 yummy snacks to enjoy this monsoon season
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It’s certainly a cliche but there are few pleasures that match up to the gentle pitter-patter of rain on your window, a freshly brewed cup of chai and a plate of piping-hot pakodas.This monsoon, chefs across the country are creating special monsoon menus. Here are our picks.
Blooming Onion Pakoda
At The Bombay Canteen, fritters occupy centre stage in the special Baarish Ka Menu. Inspired by regional dishes, these treats use seasonal and local ingredients. One of the signature dishes is the Blooming Onion Pakoda, a perfect blend of the desi kanda bhaji and the Western blooming onion. Served with a sweet chilli and garlic chutney, this pakoda is best paired with the cognac-and pumpkin-based Pick Me Up Toddy or the non-alcoholic Hot Not Toddy. You could also try the Moras Bhaji and Aloo Pakoda, made from the salty green succulents found near the sea, and Maharashtrian mandeli (golden anchovies) fry, which is served with a desi tartar sauce.
The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai
Price: Rs250, plus taxes
Crispy Tofu Buns
People living in towns and villages along the lush coastline of Myanmar whip up special dishes during the rainy season. The crispy tofu bun is one such popular street snack, especially in the Taunggyi area. Nearly every tea-house has the paukse or bun on the menu. And now Burma Burma has created a fun spin on this, with crumb-fried crisp tofu stuffed in soft steamed buns. These are paired with royal Myanmar tea, served with condensed milk. You could also try the lotus-stem crisps, dusted with paprika and curry leaves, with a lavender white tea.
Burma Burma, Gurugram and Mumbai
Price: Rs300, plus taxes
Crispy Corn Bhel
For most people, the monsoons evoke memories of paper cones filled with spicy, crunchy bhel decorating roadside chaat stalls. And SodaBottleOpenerWala has introduced a fresh take on this popular snack by tossing onions and green chillies with crispy corn and cheeselings.
SodaBottleOpenerWala, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Noida, Gurugram and Mumbai
Price: Rs200, plus taxes
Local Love—Fritter Platter
Tamil Nadu is famous for its fiery hot chutneys, crisp bhajias and crunchy vadas, and Cafe Mercara Express has introduced a fritter platter in tribute to this bounty. The restaurant uses seasonal ingredients and spins on traditional recipes to come up with snacks like keerai vada molaga bhajji. The platter also features the vazhakkai bhajji, made with local raw bananas, and the masala vada, served with kempu chutney, a wonderfully tangy concoction of tamarind, jaggery and Byadagi chillies. Pair these with steaming cups of filter coffee and tea.
Cafe Mercara Express, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai
Price: Rs795, plus taxes
Batata Wada Croissant
In this “Bombay meets Boulangerie Viennoise” dish, the idea was to marry the traditional flavours of vada pav with sophisticated European techniques. “The simple inspiration was to take memories of the monsoon to another level,” says Mandar Madav, executive chef, Conrad Pune. While the essence and soul of the dish remains the same, the only difference is that the vada comes ensconced in a buttery, flaky croissant, instead of the desi pav. It goes well with a masala chai or a mild green tea with lemon on the side.
Pune Sugar Box, Conrad Pune
Price: Rs300, plus taxes