I have always preferred closed cozy interiors during winters than fiery summers. After having spent fourteen years away from the extreme climate of North, it took me a while to get readjusted to this variation once we came back to Chandigarh. But I can say that a chilly day still attracts all my votes over heat blazing days of summer. It somehow gives a feeling that I am hibernating in the cosy confines of the home.
I used to look forward to winters for many things. One of Gulzar’s songs just keeps coming to my mind when I picture a perfect winter day - जाड़ों की नर्म धुप और आँगन में लेट कर…(jaadon ki narm dhoop aur aangan mein late kar…)
Yes, nothing comes close to the comfort of experiencing pleasantly hot sun on the almost frozen body and enjoying the gentle massage of sun rays. Any good feeling remains incomplete without some mention of something to eat. For these perfect settings, there are many things that one can munch along - roasted peanuts and variety of gazaks are the stipulated ones. I vividly remember the days in my parental house before marriage. The aangan (backyard) used to get little sun and a little late in the morning but as soon as it did, our foldable cot was ready to be dragged to that side. We shared that small surface of the cot amongst ourselves and studied there as winters also meant serious study times. We kept changing the position of the cot to avail the maximum sun as it completed its designated trajectory across the sky. Often one of us curled on one’s own side of the cot for a power nap as winter sun makes one drowsy too.
Coming back to food. Sometimes mum brought out peeled radish along with salt to be had sitting outside in sun. She often mentioned many benefits of eating raw radish too. I can still feel the freshness, juiciness and the slight tanginess of those radishes.
Radishes are readily available in north during winters and how can there not be a radish parantha then? It is one of the most loved breakfasts in my home now and I make two versions of this parantha.
Radish : 2 big
Ginger : 1 inch
Salt : to taste
Carom seeds (Ajwain) : ½ tsp
Garam Masala : 1/3 tsp
Green chillies : 2 (finely chopped)
Coriander leaves : ½ cup (finely chopped)
Peel the radishes and grate them. Squeeze the water out of the peeled radishes and use this water to knead the flour. The grated flakes should be quite free of water now. Add peeled and grated ginger, ajwain, salt, garam masala, coriander leaves, green chillies. Mix all the ingredients well and the stuffing of the parantha is ready to be used. Take two small balls of wheat dough, roll them into small chapattis. Pick one and place 2 tsp stuffing mixture on it, spread it evenly. Now cover it with another chapatti and seal the ends well by pressing the edges of the two chapattis together. Sprinkle some dry wheat flour on both the sides and make the parantha thin by gently rolling the pin over it. Now place it on the hot tawa. Turn the side of the parantha after 1 min, turn it again and now spread some oil on the parantha. Fry the prantha well so that the exterior part of it is crispy.
Another version of the same parantha is a little exotic one and is obviously the preferred one too. The ingredients remain the same with addition of 1 tsp mustard oil. Take a wok and put mustard oil in it. Once the oil is heated, put grated radish(without squeezing the water out), grated ginger, ajwain, green chillies, salt and ¼ tsp turmeric powder and fry till all the excess water is absorbed. In fact, this method is adopted to use the nutritious water of the radish by letting it get dried in the mixture itself. Take the mixture out in a big bowl and allow it to cool down. Add garam masala and coriander leaves and mix well. The stuffing of the paranthas is ready and prepare the paranthas as mentioned above.