Wintertime and I think of visits to my paternal grandmother’s house in Kolkata and the various date palm jaggery sweets (known as Nalen or Nolen Gur) we ate from morning to night. Starting with homemade ‘moah’ made with puffed rice and gur eaten pre-breakfast with mandatory silver bowl of milk..
I’ve always begged Gujarati friends to share their homemade Undhiyo with me every winter and now having a Punjabi husband, I associate winter with the most delicious sarson ka saag and have to think of where I can pile on to get as much of this delicacy as possible while the season lasts.
Winter is our harvest season and many of these dishes are warming and have immense nutritional benefits.
With Sankrant, Lohri and Pongal coming up, here’s a shortlist of places in Mumbai where you get the best of the season’s traditional fare and 21st century versions.
Sarson Da Saag
Sarson ka saag is a popular traditional Punjabi dish made in the winters which is also the harvest season. Paired best with makki ki roti, homemade butter and jaggery.
B Bhagat Tarachand, Marine Lines and Majiwadi, Thane West
Lashkara by Punjab Sweet House, Bandra
Papa Pancho Da Dhaba, Bandra
Pratap da Dhaba, Oshiwara
Undhiyo is a Gujarati winter speciality that’s made with papdi along with other vegetables such as yam, brinjals, sweet potatoes, etc together with traditional heat-generating spices to make a sweetish and fiery preparation. It is eaten with puris, roti or with methi muthiyas. Or even pav!
Shree Thaker Bhojanalay, Kalbadevi
Panchavati Gaurav, Marine Lines
Swati Snacks, Tardeo
Chheda Stores, Matunga
Society Stores, Santa Cruz West & Lokhandwala Andheri
Ponkh is a regional and seasonal Gujarati delicacy – it’s the tender jowar or white millet grain. Had with pepper sev and green-garlic chutney.
Golden Star, Charni Road
Himson’s, Vile Parle (West)
Get ‘Charred Hara Chana Salad’ and ‘Hara Chana Hummus’ regional delicacy
A rice dish made to celebrate the harvest festival. There are two versions, sweet and savoury.
Hotel Ram Ashraya, Matunga
Ayyaappan Idli Stall, Matunga Central
Café Madras, Matunga
Mani’s Lunch Home, Matunga and Chembur
Gughan Supreme South Indian, Marine Lines
Banana Leaf, Seven Bungalows
Gajar ka Halwa
One of the most famous winter specials, Gajar ka Halwa is an all-time favourite and is served as dessert at all-winter weddings. This sweet dish cooked with white butter or ghee, laden with dry fruits, gets yummier during winter due to the availability of the red, desi, sweet carrots.
Guru Kripa, Sion
Farzi Café, Kamla Mills, Lower Parel
Amber Sweets, Mira Rd
Village 12-20, Kharghar
Yes, Nolen Gur is available in Mumbai and across the city in the form of Sandesh. But try the ice cream too.
Rossogulla and Sandesh: Sweet Bengal, all 22 outlets
Ice cream: Bhojohaari Manna (various outlets), Pabrai (Seven Bungalows)
Rewari and Til Gud are best homemade, but are sold widely. Good Gajak is hard to find, we always get ours from up north!
Tara Bose Kapur is a foodie, a foodie and a foodie. When she’s not discussing food, she’s possibly talking about food. But there’s loads (or loaves) more that she does in life. Like being a communications consultant to the rich, famous and needy, and advising some of the hottest brands in the world in PR. And she runs a chhota bakery in Bandra that makes some yum (and sinful) stuff. For Xyngr, Tara Bose Kapur reviews eatspots around town. Xyngr reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.