Winter Solace

Food Issue 180 Nov, 2016

The bone chilling winter isn’t a season everyone looks forward to, but even those who swear on their lives to hate winter know that the season brings the best of food. 

There is already a nip in the air. The mornings are calling for a light sweater, and evenings seem to come early. One can smell the chill in the air. And, while there are countless things to anticipate with the onset winter in this city, food is definitely on the top of that list. Winter welcomes many and wonderful food delights that otherwise would have been missing from our already rich menu. Here are our top five picks:

Kwati: A warm soupy goodness of 12-beans broth, kwati is a mandatory dish to prepare and consume during winter. It is said that this special consommé restores and reenergizes our body to fight the ills that the cold season brings. Regardless of whether kwati actually helps fight diseases, one cannot argue with the fact that it is super delicious, and only a bowl of it is just not enough. Each kitchen may make a different version of the same 12-beans broth, but they all are undoubtedly fulfilling.

Ghyu and Chaku: As winter ensues, two of the most sought after ingredients in the market are the best quality ghyu and chaku. Proven to keep the body warm, ghyu-chaku is a must-have on the 1st day of the Nepali month of Magh. However, it is not limited to the auspicious day. Ghyu-chaku is ritualistically taken together with each serving of daal-bhaat throughout the winter season. And while they can be consumed separately, keeping them apart would be as cruel as killing Jay at the end of Sholay, and keeping Veeru alive. 

Takha-Nyakhuna: The mere name of the dish is enough to get me salivating. In the old days, both jelly-textured meats—takha made of buff protein, and nyakhuna made from fish and lemon—were made only during winter. Today, one may find either of the dish in the summer, too, because it is convenient to set them in the freezer. However, the fun and excitement of devouring these two dishes, whether at home or in the company of friends and relatives during feasts, is distinct in the nipping cold of winter.

Thukpa: This Tibetan dish doesn’t need a cold winter to be relished. Just a little downpour on a summer afternoon is enough invitation for a thukpa party. The soupy noodle dish can be adjusted to your taste and liking by adding to it a bit of soy sauce, a chilli vinegar concoction, and garlic oil. A serving of this steaming hot soup will keep you warm through and through, and can even heal you from the pestering common cold.

Bhogate Sandeko: The mighty treat of a dish that is bhogate sandeko needs no introduction amongst the Nepali denizens. A winter afternoon, soon after Tihar, calls for the entire family to lounge on the sunny terrace and enjoy this stupendous dish.  Bhogate or pomelo, a neither tarty, neither sweet fruit is marinated in yogurt and some regular spices. And while you relish every mouthful of it, you will also find yourself squeezing on its flesh and playing a little game of which-direction-will-your-spouse-come-from.