Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Indian Monsoon Delight


A standard scene at homes during monsoon.
Monsoon is here and for Indians it is the time to indulge in Masala Chai (Spiced Tea) and Pakodas (Fritters). Imagine that long drive or that tiresome trek and then a cup of steaming tea and piping hot pakodas! Loving it? Or maybe a lazy evening, just catching up with someone or yourself, your thoughts – with a cup of tea whose steam fog your window pane that is being lashed by rains on the outside and you munch on some fritters to enjoy that moment? Sounds totally like an ideal monsoon evening right? Well of late I have been doing this quite often and this Sunday it just got a bit ‘Grand’ with flavours of monsoon served by Grand Hyatt Mumbai.

The set up at Grand Hyatt
Before I confuse you – this is a food blog post, but it has a lot to do with travel. Don’t believe me? Did you know different regions in India have different spices and forms of tea depending on the local spices? While ginger is predominant in Gujrati tea, Cardamom tea rules in the south, Oolong finds its fan base in the east while Kashmiri tea or Kahwah has a totally different set of spices. But more interesting is the story of tea’s companion Pakodas!

Lotus stem fritters famous in Kashmir during Monsoons.
Fritters or pakodas originated in India and travelled to South East Asia, England and Persia with time. Originally from west and South India, pakodas or bhajiyas were made famous in South East Asia by early merchants where they traditionally promoted chillies and bananas in form of fritters; and then picked up by Mughals, the traditional ways to making fritters travelled through north of India and all the way to Persia. Since monsoons in India is relatively cold fritters found way into many seasonal Indian Cuisines like Lucknowi, Kashmiri, Bengali and even Marwadi! 

Daal wadi or Pakodas of pulses!
All the regions made fritters of different ingredients, like Kashmir developed a taste of lotus stem fritters with the traditional Kahwah while, the Mughals adapted fritters of different daals (pulses) and the east created savoury fritters with different edible flowers. With Britishers bringing in new ingredients to Indian Market like Potatoes and Breads, the traditional fritters got innovative with the west soon developing bread pakodas, onion fritters.

The butta (corn) with a twist

You see - Food travels! And food culture of a lot of places tells you so much about the place and the influence of time and nature on those places. I never really indulged much with food travel, but for past some months I have been hooked to a show called Raja Rasoi and Anya Kahaniya which made me realize how much local or adapted food of a place can tell you about the area and people.

The menu of tGrand Hyatt Monsoon Hi-Tea
Anyways coming back to my main point, thanks to Grand Hyatt Monsoon Hi-Tea – I got a flavour of monsoon from various states of India in Mumbai! The monsoon special Hi Tea, which would be served at the hotel till 31st of August lets you taste monsoon in a very diverse way. With Kahwa to Caya, from Samosas to Daal Kachori – I travelled through some states virtually just through food which made me make a mental note – look out for regional cuisine next time you travel somewhere!

Yes well it is Hyatt, so everything is with luxury - the place.
Which place made you realise that the local cuisine is also a huge part of its identity? Or which food item made you think, where has it originated and how has it become a big part of locals somewhere. Let me know in the comments below.


P.S. You too can enjoy some very traditional Indian monsoon favourites with a twist at INR 450/-. So in case you are staying at the hotel or planning to go to Juhu side, you know a quieter classier place to enjoy the monsoon now.

Food for thought - Leaving you to think with some lovely samosas

8 comments:

  1. Sabudana vada and chai for me...not too fond of pakoras. Nice post

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    1. Woah Sabudana wada also!!! For me it is Masala chai and onion bhajiya! :D

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  2. I am still angry you didnt take me along with you, but loved the post.

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  3. Wah! Pakora and chai! How else can monsoons be so much fun!

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    1. Seriously! Best things for a foodie during monsoons :)

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  4. Hi Vaisakhi, I love pakoras and masala chai! In Malaysia, we do get pakoras and masala chai in Indian restaurants and we don't really care whether it's monsoon or not, we eat them here even though the weather outside is freaking hot! Thanks for sharing about the different fritters in the country :-)

    Cheers,
    Kat

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    1. Hi Kat! I remember having pakoda for starters at a South Indian Restaurant in Melacca and some people around us asking for more...since it was a buffet! I like Masala chai all round the year too.
      Thanks for visiting the blog :)

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