Who doesn’t love monsoons? The smell of wet earth, watching the raindrops, ducking for cover when you realise that you didn’t pack your umbrella or sharing an umbrella with a friend and getting half-drenched in the process! There’s nothing like reaching home and unwinding with a steaming cup of chai or kaapi along with a nice hot snack. While it won’t hurt to occasionally give into your temptations and sink your teeth into those crisp onion or mensinkai (chilies) bajjis , for all those who are looking for healthy snack options that you can munch on those rainy days, here are a few:
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Dhokla with spicy chutney: These steamed Gujarati snacks made from besan and curd are perfect when teamed with chutney. Light, spongy, full of flavor and a protein-packed snack, just try not to use too much oil when making the tadka.
Vegetable/Egg chutney sandwich: This is easier if you have a sandwich maker, but can be done in a tava if you don’t. Use some left over palya/sabji from lunch as a filling on whole wheat bread, add some chutney, ketchup (optional), press it together and toast (in a sandwich maker or on a tava). And voila! You have a yummy toasted sandwich. Egg lovers can add some sliced egg slices to the sandwich along with the sabzi before toasting.
Corn on the cob: Or simply put ‘jola’ (bhutta/ makkai). There’s something about the rains and eating a grilled jola, it brings back happy childhood memories of standing in the rain and watching the corn being grilled over red hot coals! Have it with just salt and lime juice or spice it up with red chili powder or the special green masala and it’s a treat for all ages.
Bread upma: A simple yet yummy dish made with onions, tomatoes, loads of coriander leaves and spices, this makes a wonderful filling snack. Make them with whole wheat bread instead of white or sweet bread.
Vegetable Tikkis: Instead of plain aloo tikkis, add some mixed veggies and palak to make it more nutritious. To reduce the oil absorbed by them, I usually coat them in ‘rava’ instead of maida or bread crumbs and shallow fry them on a non-stick tava. Kids love this and it’s a great way to get them to have some extra veggies!
Popcorn: You can make your own popcorn in a cooker instead of using those ready-made packets that are loaded with oil/butter. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a cooker, add some corn seeds, salt and a little turmeric and cover till you hear the corn popping. Shake the cooker with the lid on to prevent the corn from burning. The aroma of popcorn being made is just too addictive and will have both the kids and adults coming back for more!
Keep yourself healthy
While you may be tempted by the paani pooris and chaat at your neighbourhood chaat wala, be aware that the monsoons are also the time for water and foodborne infections. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep yourself from falling sick this monsoon:
- Stay away from raw, uncooked food when you eat outside: This includes chaats, salads, cut fruits and fresh juices.
- Drink boiled and cooled water (or those that have been purified).
- Carry your own bottle of water if you don’t want to buy a bottle of mineral water.
- Wash your hands well before cooking and before eating food. Keep your nails short.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables especially green leafy vegetables that can carry a lot of dirt and mud. Wash them thoroughly and rinse them out before using them.
What are your favorite monsoon snacks or favorite monsoon memories? We’d love to hear about them – share them with us!