Monsoon magic

Written by Garima Pant | Updated: Aug 1 2010, 05:46am hrs
Associated with festivities and abundance, the monsoon season has always been celebrated with a lot of fervour across the country. Festivals such as Teej and Ganpati, Rakshabandhan and Onam are an integral part of the monsoon season. And thus we have everything from jave (typical of Rakshabandhan), golen and ghewar (for Teej) to fresh coconut-filled modaks, a favourite of Lord Ganesha, not to mention his devotees a part of the festival food, says curator Anoothi Vishal.

As we sat down for lunch, the clouds opened up, making up for a perfect setting. Beginning with Tambli, a buttermilk like drink from Karnataka with a slight hint of ginger, tomato saar, a thin Maharashtra style tomato soup and batata vadas with peanut chutney, what followed was an array of monsoon specials. Naturally sour, astringent and bitter foods were supposed to be included in the diet supposedly to benefit the stomach and keep diseases at bay in this season. So while the tomato-based saar and tenga, or the hot menas kai may be consumed even during other months, in monsoons they gain a special relevance, says Anoothi. She adds that the recipes had been collected from families belonging to different parts of the country many of whom didnt even remember whether their traditional diets ever had anything special for the rains.

The best part of the meal was usal (soaked sprouts ) with a flavouring of Maharashtra kala masala and the home-style Karachi halwa, very unlike the typical Karachi halwa we get at sweet shops. The festival is on till today at Fire, The Park Hotel.