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Colours of Winter: Week 1 - Orange

Special series on winter produce


The best part of staying here in north has been the quality of produce you find in winters.. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the best I've seen so far!! The greens and the veggies and the fruits are so lively and so fresh that you instantly fall in love with them! So, here's a tribute of sorts to the winter produce found here. The ingredients will include many locally grown fruits and veggies and some exotic produce too..


The spread is a mix of many cuisines and can easily scaled up to feed a large gathering..


Mediterranean Orange Salad:


This is a very refreshing salad that makes use of the best of winter oranges.. very easy to put together and tastes divine! Best salad you can serve at a party - can be arranged just before serving and the dressing is very simple too.. the presence of onions sounds a bit out of place, but trust me, the flavours work very well together.


Ingredients:

Locally available oranges 2

Sliced onions 1/4th cup

Pomegranate arils 1/4th cup

Fresh mint leaves 2 tbsp

Olive oil 2 tbsp

Juice of half an orange

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste


Method:

Prepare the dressing by combining juice of half an orange, olive oil, salt and pepper. For arranging the salad, peel the oranges and slice them horizontally (cross section). On a large serving plate, arrange the orange slices, sprinkle pom arils, onions and mint leaves. Add the salad dressing right before serving.


Pumpkin carrot soup:


A very healthy and wholesome dish, this is the perfect winter soup. Nothing represents winter better than some fresh carrots and pumpkins! This soup is easy to cook and can in itself become a meal.


Ingredients:

Pumpkin 1 cup

Carrots 1 cup

Tomato 1 cup

Water/milk 1 cup

Butter/olive oil 1 tbsp

Ginger 1 tbsp

Garlic 1 tbsp

Basil/mixed herbs 1 tbsp

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste


Method:

Steam/pressure cook the vegetables till soft. In a wok, heat oil and saute ginger and garlic and once sauteed, transfer it to a grinder jar along with the steamed veggies and basil leaves (if using). Blend everything till smooth and transfer the soup back to the wok. Add a cup of water/milk to thin down the soup and season it with salt and pepper. You could add croutons for the crunch, but it's totally optional.


Carrot Kosambari (Carrot and lentil salad):


A very nutritious and delicious salad! Very simple - just some grated carrots, soaked mung dal and a simple tadka!


Ingredients:

Grated carrots 1 cup

Soaked mung dal 1/4th cup

Freshly grated coconut 1/4th cup (optional)

Oil 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Lemon juice 1 tsp

Green chilli 1

A sprig of curry leaves

Salt to taste


Method:

Soak mung dal for at least one hour. Prepare a seasoning by heating oil and spluttering mustard, cumin, curry leaves and green chilli. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and add the seasoning. Toss it well and serve it garnished with coriander leaves.


Pumpkin sambar:


One of my personal favourites, this sambar is mildly sweet because of the pumpkins.


Ingredients:

Pumpkin 2 cups

Tur dal 1/2 cup

Sambar powder 1.5 tbsp

Tamarind 1 tbsp

Jaggery 1.5 tbsp

Salt to taste

Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp

Oil 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

A sprig of curry leaves

A pinch of asafetida


Method:

Soak dal in 2 cups of water for at least 1 hour. Pressure cook dal along with pumpkin and turmeric till dal turns mushy. Soak tamarind in 1/4 cup water and extract the juice. Put the dal and veggie mixture on low flame and add the tamarind extract, sambar powder, jaggery and salt to taste. Boil it for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat. Prepare the seasoning by heating oil and spluttering mustard, cumin, curry leaves and asafetida. Add the seasoning to the sambar. Serve hot with rice.


Carrot halwa with Saffron and honey cream cheese:


Indian winters are incomplete without healthy dose of carrot halwa 😁. The red carrots available in nothern parts of the country are specifically meant for preparing delicious halwas. Carrot halwa tastes great served in any form - some prefer eating hot halwa with a scoop of ice-cream, while others enjoy it with rabdi. I have given it a little twist by serving warm halwa with cold cream cheese. Do give this a try - I'm sure you'll love it!


Ingredients for Carrot halwa:

Grated carrots 2 cups

Full fat milk 2 cups

Ghee 1/4th cup

Sugar 1/4th cup

3 pods of cardamom

Cashews 2 tbsp

Raisins 2 tbsp

Almonds 1 tbsp


Ingredients for Saffron cream cheese:

Paneer 200 gm

Curd 1/4th cup

Honey 3 tbsp

A generous pinch of saffron


Method:

In a thick bottomed pan, heat ghee and add grated carrots. Saute the carrots till they shrink in size. Now, add milk and let it simmer till all the milk evaporates. Once the milk is completely absorbed, add in the sugar and the nuts and the cardamom powder. Cook till the sugar is completely dissolved. You may add more ghee - it definitely will enhance the taste.


In a mixer jar, add crumbled paneer, curd, saffron, and honey. Blend it well till you get a smooth creamy mixture. Let this cream cheese stand in fridge for 4-6 hours. Once cooled, the consistency will thicken a bit.


In a glass, alternately add layers of cream cheese and the carrot halwa. Garnish it with more nuts. Make sure that the halwa is not hot - this will melt the cream cheese and you will not be able to get beautiful layers.


Hope you enjoy your winter!! I will be back with another colour next week 😊


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