It's raining in UAE! Time for some ... poha, pav bhaji, kadhi pakora and kurkuri bhindi

It's raining in UAE! Time for some ... poha, pav bhaji, kadhi pakora and kurkuri bhindi

Monsoon menu in India focuses on a blend of spicy, sweet and tangy flavours

Pakistani-style kurkuri bhindi
Pakistani-style kurkuri bhindi Image Credit: Gulf News/Stefan Lindeque

The UAE Met Office is talking about rain in parts of the UAE, along with chances of cloud seeding. The reporter is typing away furiously, as I hear her talking about rain along the Dubai-Al Ain highway, can't but help get an instant craving for a hot cup of sweet, milky tea infused with the sweetness of cardamom, the bite of ginger and the heat of cloves. In short, a cup of masala chai!

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Tea mean tea-time and that means food, it's too late for a samosa but early enough to plan a nice monsoon-inspired dinner. Rummage through our recipe lists and up come these gems that are a must try. Some quick, some slow but each dish is equally delicious. Of course, couldn't resist and added in a recipe for the Kolkata Singara or a tiny, samosa filled with a flavour bomb of spiced potatoes. Yes, I did add chai to the list....

Poha or flattened rice cooked with fresh coriander and spices

Chopped onions combined with curry leaves, fresh herbs, peanuts and chilli are cooked with flattened rice for a really quick meal. It takes all of 15 minutes to rustle up!

Here's the recipe for it...

Poha is flattened or beaten rice, steam cooked with ingredients like onions, spices and herbs. Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Mumbai's famed pav bhaji

It's almost like a secret weapon to get everyone to eat your basic five vegetables in one dish. A popular streetfood that includes potatoes, peas, caulifour, capsicum, tomatoes and herbs. Definitely not for the calorie conscious, as the dish would not work without its dollops of butter melting into a pool at its warm heart, served with freshly toasted bread rolls. Here's an excellent guide to making it at home.

Pav bhaji
Pav bhaji Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Mac and cheese

Elbow macaroni and two different cheeses blended with a well-made roux create a classic comfort food dish that can be made in under 30 minutes. Here's the recipe.

Mac and Cheese in a bowl
Mac and cheese can be made with a mix of cheddar, gruyère and emmental cheese Image Credit: Shutterstock

Beef croquettes

As the chilly air bites, a crispy, golden-brown beef cutlet sizzles in the pan, promising warmth and savoury satisfaction. Tender inside, with a comforting crunch, it's perfect for chasing away the cold. Here's the recipe.

Guide to making Kerala special beef cutlet
Guide to making Kerala special beef cutlet Image Credit: Supplied

Kurkuri bhindi or crispy okra in spices

Okra you think... healthy but as a snack, you wonder? This recipe from a Dubai-based restaurateur works perfectly as a starter, or as part of a main course. It's crunchy, spicy and can even be served as part of a chaat combination. Here's the recipe.

Pakistani-style kurkuri bhindi
Pakistani-style kurkuri bhindi Image Credit: Gulf News/Stefan Lindeque

Singara or pastry with spiced potatoes from Kolkata

I discovered this Eastern snack relatively recently as part of my culinary journey of eating through India. Many might mistake it for the samosa but it definitely is not the same. For one the filling is spiced very differently, secondly the casing is more substantial and feels like shortcrust pastry to the taste. Also, most importantly, much smaller in size, so the guilt factor is lower. Do try this recipe from our food bloggers Bong Eats.

These crispy packets of dough stuffedwith a spicy filling Kolkata's most important snack Image Credit: Supplied/Bong Eats

Kadhi pakora or gram flour dumplings in spiced yoghurt gravy

This dish is a complete meal and best eaten with some hot steamed rice. A high protein vegetarian dish that includes crunchy flour diumplings soaked in a tangy, sweet yoghurt base balanced off with spices. Some like to ramp up the heat level with fried chillies as garnish, the choice is yours. You can event eat it as is. Try this classic recipe from a Dubai-based chef.

Kadhi pakora... cooked to perfection for a rainy day Image Credit: Shutterstock

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