20 Best Winter Foods In India To Keep Your Warm
Visiting India during the cold winter months and Indian kitchens come alive with an array of hearty, delicious foods and soul-warming winter delicacies. The culinary landscape transforms into a haven of warmth and flavour.
From the North to the South, East to the West, each state boasts its unique winter food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Here are 20 must-try Indian winter foods that will not only tantalize your taste buds but also keep you cozy during the cold season. The best foods for this time of year!
Masala Chai (Tea)
While not a dish, no Indian winter experience is complete without a steaming hot cup of tea. Aromatic and spiced, Masala Chai is a favourite Indian tea blend during winters. The combination of black tea leaves with aromatic spices like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and milk creates a comforting beverage that the perfect time to drink would be chilly mornings and evenings. The best thing for this time of the year!
Kesar Badam Milk (Beverage)
A warm glass of Kesar Badam Milk, infused with the regal notes of saffron and the wholesome goodness of almonds, delivers both flavour and essential nutrients. Sip into a velvety blend that not only tastes good but also wards off the winter chill, making it a comforting choice. A drink that’s not just a treat for the taste buds but a wellness ritual for the season.
Khichdi, a vegetarian one-pot wonder, combines rice and lentils in a harmonious blend of simplicity and nourishment. It’s comfort food at it’s finest, offering a warm and satisfying experience. Drizzled with aromatic ghee and accompanied by the tang of yogurt or pickle.
This versatile dish, cherished across India, not only satisfies hunger but also provides a sense of comfort and balance. Its minimalistic yet flavourful nature makes it a go-to choose for those seeking a hearty, uncomplicated meal that embraces both taste and tradition.
Chole Bhature (Vegetarian)
A culinary icon of Delhi, Chole Bhature is a beloved winter dish that combines fluffy, deep-fried bread (bhature) with a spicy chickpea curry (chole). The bhature are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, providing a delightful contrast to the robust flavours of the chole. This filling and flavoursome meal is not only a street food favourite but also a hearty choice for warming up during the cold Delhi winters.
Makke Ki Roti with Sarson Ka Saag (Vegetarian)
A staple in North India (Punjab), Makki Ki Roti (cornmeal flatbread) paired with Sarson Ka Saag (mustard greens curry) is a hearty winter dish especially when slathered with a dollop of desi ghee. The robust and the earthy flavours with rustic appeal and nutritional benefits make it a popular choice during the chilly winters.
Ghee Roast Dosa (Vegetarian)
Hailing from Karnataka, the Ghee Roast Dosa is a morning delight that adds warmth to your breakfast routine. This iconic dosa is crisp and thin, generously smeared with ghee for a rich flavour. It is typically stuffed with a spiced potato mixture that adds a Savory touch.
The accompaniment, a coconut and tomato dip, enhances the overall taste profile. This breakfast treat is a perfect balance of crispy, spicy, and buttery elements, making it a cherished part of Karnataka’s culinary heritage.
Hailing from Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow), A slow-cooked, non-vegetarian stew boasts a rich and flavourful broth, making it a well-loved dish. Best enjoyed with naan or rice, Nihari is traditionally savoured for breakfast, offering a soul-warming experience during the colder months. The dish exemplifies a perfect blend of spices and tenderness, creating a hearty and comforting meal that reflects the essence of Indian winter gastronomy.
Litti Chokha (Vegetarian)
A traditional dish from Bihar, Litti Chokha consists of whole wheat balls (litti) Filled with powdered roasted gram flour (sattu) paired with a smoky, spiced mix of mashed vegetables (chokha) and a garlic dip. The hearty combination of earthy flavors and textures makes Litti Chokha a quintessential winter indulgence, offering a taste of authentic Indian culinary heritage that is satisfying on a cold winter day.
Paya Soup (Non-Vegetarian)
A winter essential in many North Indian households, Paya Soup is a nourishing broth made from trotters (the lower part of a cow’s or goat’s leg). Rich in collagen, this soup has health benefits as it’s believed to be a natural remedy for joint pain during colder months. Slow cooked with aromatic spices, the resulting broth is hearty, flavourful. You can’t beat a bowl of hot soup on a chilly evening.
Rogan Josh (Non-Vegetarian)
Originating from the beautiful Kashmir Valley, Rogan Josh is a visually striking lamb curry. The dish gets its vibrant red hue from a careful blend of spices like fennel and cloves. Slow cooked to perfection, Rogan Josh is a symphony of bold flavours, making it a delightful choice for warming up on frosty nights. It showcases the rich culinary heritage of Kashmir with every succulent bite. It’ll give you the much-needed energy to get through the winter chills of the month.
Misal Pav (Vegetarian)
Straight from the bustling streets of Maharashtra, Misal Pav is a spicy curry made from sprouted lentils, adorned with crunchy farsan (fried Savory snacks) and served with pav (bread). This fiery delight is offers a perfect balance of textures and flavours. It’s not just a meal; it’s an experience that satisfies the palate and warms the soul during the chilly winter days.
Goan Fish Curry and Rice (Non-Vegetarian)
Coastal regions offer the delightful warmth of Fish Curry. Escape the winter blues with the vibrant and tangy flavours of Goan fish curry and rice, with the rich flavours of coconut, tamarind, and aromatic spices that brings the warmth of the coastal sun to your winter table.
Undhiyu and Dhokla (Vegetarian)
A Gujarat specialty, Undhiyu is a mixed vegetable curry cooked with winter seasonal vegetables like surti papdi, purple yam, and baby brinjals. Winter brings an added delight to the spongy, steamed dhokla served with tangy chutneys. Spiced with a unique blend, this dish is a celebration of winter produce.
Rajasthani Dal Baati Churma (Vegetarian)
A quintessential winter dish from Rajasthan, Dal Baati Churma is a three-part culinary delight. It comprises lentils (dal), wheat rolls (baati), and a sweet crumbly mixture (churma). The lentils provide sustenance, the baati offers a hearty texture, and the churma adds a sweet contrast. Together, they create a wholesome and filling side dish, reflecting the robust flavours and traditions of Rajasthan.
Hyderabadi Haleem (Non-Vegetarian)
Hailing from Telangana, A slow-cooked stew of wheat, lentils, and meat, Hyderabadi Haleem is a winter delicacy that originated during the Nizam’s rule. Rich and hearty, this dish is often enjoyed during the winter festival of Ramadan. Perfect for those who love rich food and lots of it!
Gundruk Soup and Thukpa (Veg and Non-Veg)
In the North Eastern state of Sikkim, Gundruk soup is a fermented leafy green soup, known for its unique taste and gut-friendly properties, whereas Thukpa is a soul-soothing noodle soup that is perfect for winter evenings. Packed with vegetables, meat, and spices, hot soups are always a bowl of comfort that will keep you warm and satisfied.
Panta Bhat with Ilish Mach (Non-Vegetarian)
A Bengali winter delicacy celebrated during the harvest festival; Panta Bhat with Ilish Mach combines fermented rice (Panta Bhat) with hilsa fish (Ilish Mach). The fermented rice adds a unique sourness, and the flavourful hilsa fish enhances the overall experience. This dish not only represents the culinary diversity of West Bengal but also offers a burst of distinctive flavours, making it a must-try during the winter festivities.
Rajma Chawal (Vegetarian)
Himachal’s winter staple, Rajma Chawal known for its hearty and comforting nature. The primary ingredients are kidney beans, slow cooked in a thick, flavourful gravy made with a blend of aromatic spices. The dish is served piping hot over steamed rice, creating a wholesome and soul-satisfying meal. The warmth and richness of Rajma Chawal make it a perfect choice to ward off the winter blues during the cold weather.
Originating from Goa, Sorpotel, a Goan winter delight, is a spicy pork stew that harmoniously blends Portuguese and Indian influences. Encapsulates the region’s culinary fusion, making it a savory celebration of diverse cultural elements. The stew is a perfect balance of heat and depth, offering a warming experience during the winter months.
Bisi Bele Bath (Vegetarian)
A beloved dish from Karnataka, Bisi Bele Bath is a hearty and flavourful rice preparation. Packed with a medley of vegetables, lentils, and aromatic spices, this spicy and tangy South Indian dish is Karnataka’s winter comfort food. The name “Bisi Bele Bath” translates to “hot lentil rice,” signifying its piping hot and soul-warming nature. It’s not just a meal; it’s a celebration of Karnataka’s culinary richness.
Conclude your winter culinary journey on a sweet note with Kheer, a sumptuous vegetarian delight. This creamy rice pudding, crafted through slow cooking with milk and sugar, delivers a rich and satisfying finale to your feast. Adorned with an array of nuts and fragrant saffron, Kheer epitomizes the essence of Indian winter comfort foods. The velvety texture and sweet warmth make it an indulgent treat, creating a perfect harmony of flavours that lingers on the palate.
Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa or Pudding)
The famous Gajar Ka Halwa is a classic winter treat, widely enjoyed across India. This sweet and rich dessert is made by grating fresh carrots and cooking them in a combination of milk, ghee (clarified butter), and sugar. The slow-cooking process allows the carrots to absorb the flavours and achieve a soft, pudding-like consistency. Garnished with nuts like almonds and pistachios,
Gajar Ka Halwa is not only a delicious winter indulgence but also a celebration of seasonal produce. The warm, comforting taste and enticing aroma make it a beloved dessert during the colder months (the availability of the best carrot is now). Perfect to serve at the end of the meal. Great for a sweet tooth!
Down south in Tamil Nadu, Pongal takes centre stage during the winter season. This savory-sweet dish is made from rice and lentils, seasoned with pepper, cumin, and ghee, creating a comforting and wholesome experience.
Embrace the warmth of Indian food, where each dish is a celebration of flavours, traditions, and the joy of coming together around a steaming pot of culinary delight. Try these recipes and bring the spirit of India’s diverse and deliciously warm delicacies to your table this season.