When the mornings are nippy and getting out of the bed a struggle…when the skies wear a gloomy grey hue…when the sun sets a little early every day, leaving you with longer evenings to be spent indoors, the blues are bound to set in. Every sworn food lover will agree that there is no better way shake off the feeling of inexplicable lows than with some mouth-watering, soul-satisfying food. Thankfully, our winter cuisines abound in foods that can make us all warm and fuzzy inside, instantly lifting up our moods. Here are 9 comfort foods for winter you must dig in to beat the blues:
Come winter, and the sniffles become a regular feature in your life. Thukpa, the Himalayan Noodle Soup, is all you need to feel better almost instantly. This Tibetan broth with noodles, veggies and chunks of shredded chicken with a hint of pepper and chilli is the quintessential comfort food for winter. A complete meal in a bowl, and a nutritious one at that, the Thukpa will soothe your body and soul at once.
Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is the classic example of comfort food for winter, one that you just cannot go wrong with. Soft macaroni coated with generous amounts of gooey cheddar and parmesan cheese, seasoned with pepper, smoked paprika and kosher salt and enhanced with toppings like bacon or caramelised onions – one helping of mac and cheese is all it takes to melt your blues away.
Your chosen cuts of chicken marinated in a thick layer of batter and deep-fried till it gets that perfect crunchy coating on the soft, succulent meat. Oh, heavens! If that doesn’t say comfort food for winter, we don’t know what will. Make your own or order a bucket from KFC, and enjoy it with your favourite Netflix show. Bye-bye blues.
Gajar ka Halwa
We just had to include gajar ka halwa in our list, even at the risk of sounding predictable because you cannot talk about comfort foods for winter in India without salivating at the mere thought of a bowl full of this red goodness. Yes, making the perfect gajar ka halwa requires at least half a day’s labour but it is every bit worth the effort. Besides, keeping yourself busy and looking forward to the end result is the best way to take your mind off the boredom induced by being confined to the house when the weather plays truant.
Sarson ka Saag and Makki Ki Roti
Speaking of traditional comfort foods for winter in India, sarson ka saag and makki ki roti with dollops of homemade butter and ghee is yet another quintessential food you cannot overlook. Nothing comes quite as close to celebrating winter than a Sunday lunch of sarson ka saag and makki ki roti eaten while basking in the sun. This single meal is sure to help you tide through at least a week of blues.
Cheese-stuffed Pork Chops
If you find yourself melting away at the mention of pork chops, just imagine what a helping of pork chops stuffed with mozzarella cheese will do to your spirits. Yes, it is a guilty pleasure to indulge in but this has to be your go-to comfort food for winter when nothing else works.
Cheese and Egg in a Hole
This one is a personal favourite to help kick-start a day that feels awfully slow and gloomy. Two slices of bread cut hollow in the centre and filled with grated cheese and eggs sunny-side-up style and seasoned with pepper, chilli flakes, salt and oregano. Oh, pure bliss! No other breakfast quite compares to this comfort food for winter for me, not even gobhi ke paranthe.
Chikki and Gajjak
Nuts are known as a bite-sized powerhouse of energy, and that’s why pistachios, peanuts, walnuts and cashews become a regular fare for our winter snacking habits. Chikki and gajjak are a great way to load up the heat-generating benefits of these nuts without loading up on excess cholesterol and add a depth of flavour to your munch. These are also the most addictive of comfort foods for winter, and you can easily end up polishing off an entire pack in one go.
This offbeat choice can work as your perfect comfort food for winter when you are not in the mood for anything too mainstream. The process of toasting helps to caramelise the sugar in marshmallows, giving them a distinct colour and flavour. To enhance the taste more, you can dip a freshly toasted marshmallow in some Nutella and treat your taste buds to a flavour ride to the heaven and back.