Recipes of a few dishes to keep you warm in winter

As the temperature drops, Nature has a way of keeping our body warm — through the food we eat. Small wonder our choice of food changes with season. It’s the time when we crave for soups, stews, roasted meat and vegetables, chocolates, tea and coffee. Thankfully, pulses such as legumes, soybeans, lentils are useful for keeping the chill at bay and can be used in soups and stews. Traditional Indian wholegrain cereals such as bajra, oats, corn, maize and millets too have great warming effects. Winter is an excellent time to incorporate herbs and spices in the diet. Besides generating heat, spices such as cinnamon, ginger, garlic, cloves, pepper, and turmeric contain phytochemicals that act as decongestants and have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties too. Nuts and oilseeds such as almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, raisins, apricots, black and white sesame seeds are also ideal for winters. Honey and jaggery too have warming effects and are natural substitutes for sugar. Seasonal fruits and vegetables such as dark leafy greens are a good source of iron and folate, and help maintain a good haemoglobin level. Carrot, turnip, pumpkin, gooseberry (amla), oranges, tomatoes, and guava help fight the likes of the common cold, cough and flu. Lean meat, fish, and poultry are associated with increased heat production.

Here are the recipes for a soup, main dishes and a dessert to keep you warm during those chilly days.

Winter Soup

Ingredients

Onions: 2

Tomatoes: 2

Potatoes: 2

Carrots: 4

Turnip: 200 gm

Finely chopped spinach: Half cup

Fresh cream: Half cup

Milk: 1 cup

Pepper: 1 tsp

Butter: 1 tsp

Salt: To taste

Parsley — for garnish

Method

Slice the vegetables into big pieces. Wash, add eight cups of water and cook in a pressure cooker. Blend the mixture in a liquidiser and strain the soup. Add butter and boil for 10 minutes. Warm the milk. While serving, add warmed milk, cream, salt and pepper. Decorate with chopped parsley and serve hot.

Pepper Chicken

Ingredients

Chicken, cleaned, dried and sliced into pieces: 1

Coriander powder: 3 tsp

Cloves: 4

Small cardamoms, crushed: 3

Peppercorns: 10

Mace: 1-inch piece

Red chillies: 4

Chopped onions: 4

Minced garlic: 8 pods

Grated ginger: 1-inch piece

Saffron: A small pinch

Turmeric powder: 1 tsp

Cinnamon: 1-inch stick

Cumin seeds: 4 tsp

Fresh curd, well-beaten: 1 cup

Salt: To taste

Oil: For cooking

Warm milk – a little

Method

Take all the spices, including red chillies, and grind them to a fine paste. Rub this paste into the chicken and allow it to be absorbed for some time. Now, heat oil and fry onion, garlic and ginger. Add turmeric powder, salt and chicken pieces. Put it on low flame and let it simmer. Add a little hot water. Stir frequently and continue cooking on a low flame till the water dries up and the gravy becomes thick. Now take a little warm milk and gently dissolve a pinch of saffron in it. Add this saffron and the beaten curd to the chicken. Now, continue cooking till the oil begins to separate. Serve hot with chappati.

Methi and Green Peas Pulao

Ingredients

Rice: 250 gm

Methi (fenugreek leaves): 2 bunches

Boiled green peas: Half cup

Asafoetida: A pinch

Thick tamarind juice: 4 tsp

Coriander seeds: 1 tsp

Urad dal: 1 tsp

Chana dal: 1 tsp

Cumin seeds: 1 tsp

Turmeric powder: Half tsp

Red chillies: 2

Sesame seeds: 1 tsp

Grated dry coconut: Half cup

Salt and jaggery: To taste

Method

Fry the coconut, dals, coriander, cumin, sesame seeds, red chillies and asafoetida, and grind to a paste. Boil rice. Dissolve jaggery in tamarind water. Heat oil and put in methi, the paste, turmeric and salt. Cover lightly and cook till methi is properly done without adding water. Add tamarind, rice, boiled green peas and mix well. Cook on low flame till the rice turns dry. Serve hot.

Gajar Halwa

Ingredients

Fresh carrots: 1 kg

Ghee: 6 tbsp

Milk: 1 litre

Sugar: 2.5 cups

Sliced nuts: 100 gm

Cardamom powder: 1 tsp

Mawa or khoya: 200 gm

Method

Scrape carrots and grate them. Bring milk to boil and add grated carrots. Cook till milk dries and carrot mixture is soft and done. Now fry khoya without ghee and keep aside. Heat ghee and add cooked carrot mixture and fry. Add khoya and simmer. Now add sugar and cook till sugar dissolves and the halwa becomes thick. Add cardamom powder. Garnish with chopped nuts and serve hot.