The monsoon is finally here! While I like to watch the softly falling rain, there is one thing about the monsoon that bothers me—the fact that I can’t enjoy outside food. Yes, that’s true!
I am very particular about health and hygiene during monsoon which is why I avoid eating out. Instead, I try quite a few recipes at home itself besides the staple dal-chawal-subzi-roti.
Here are three monsoon delicacies that are a hit in my house. Try them out:
1. Chinese noodle soup: It’s true that all of us crave for something simple, hot and soul satisfying during the rains and this Chinese noodle soup ticks all these boxes and some more. Loaded with the goodness of vegetables, it’s a sure hit with my daughter too.
Finely dice vegetables such as French beans, mushrooms, carrots, and bell peppers. In a wok, add some oil and grated garlic and ginger. After 2 minutes, throw in these vegetables along with some sweet corn kernels. Put some uncooked noodles. Add water – a lot of it! Once the veggies are soft and noodles are cooked, add a mixture of 1-2 tsp of corn starch and water and a few drops of soy sauce. Season with salt and black pepper and your soup is ready to eat!
2. Pizza: You might say, what’s the big deal about making pizza at home? What if I told you that from the pizza base to the sauce, everything is home made in my house. That’s not all. I make pizza base out of normal wheat aata. I knead the wheat flour with a pinch of salt and water and roll out little thick rotis and bake in oven or gas tandoor. For the sauce, I skin tomatoes and grind them in mixer. In a wok, I then add some olive oil, ginger paste and crushed tomatoes and leave it on the gas on low flame. Once the tomato sauce acquires the right thickness, I add salt, oregano and finely chopped fresh basil. Once it is ready and cooled, I spread the sauce on the base, put some of my favourite toppings (I usually have a selection of thin julienne of green peppers, onions and mushrooms soaked in extra virgin olive oil and salt but you can customise it according to your preference) and grate lots of cheese over it. Finally I put it in the oven or gas tandoor and voila! Yummy, crunchy pizza loaded with the goodness of fresh vegetables is ready!
3. Pakoras: When the skies pour, all you want on your plate is some piping hot pakoras. Everyone in my home loves pakoras. I usually make them with vegetables like potato, onion and ajwain leaves (ajwain leaves is not only tasty but helps in monsoon related ailments too such as indigestion and common cold). I always add some ajwain seeds to my besan (gram flour) batter to make it more appetising. Vada pav with fresh garlic chutney (crush one whole garlic bulb with red chilli powder or soaked whole red chillies, add salt, 1-2 tsp of vegetable oil, jeera powder) is also a favourite monsoon dish in my house.
Making these delicacies is easy, but one should not forget the hygiene part of it. We avoid eating at restaurants because of the improper hygiene in monsoon and the fact that we don’t want our kids to fall sick. That’s why it’s essential that I maintain proper personal hygiene in monsoon too.
● I always wash my hands before cooking to avoid any contamination. The same instructions are with the house help too. I have a bottle of Dettol liquid handwash near the washing sink. Before we start preparing food, we make sure to first wash our hands with the liquid.
● The second hygiene tip that I follow is cleaning the kitchen top with a disinfectant. It helps in maintaining cleanliness in the kitchen and keeps flies and monsoon bugs away.
● I have a set of kitchen clothes – one for cleaning the kitchen top, one for wiping hands and the third one for wiping the utensils. All three of them after being washed are soaked in a diluted solution of Dettol antiseptic liquid and water for 10 mins.
Apart from the above foods, I also make panipuri, sevpuri, vegetable tikki, pumpkin soup, and other such dishes, but that will be for another time and another blog.
Happy monsoon to you!!