As we continue to snuggle in our beds and struggle to leave our blankets on chilly mornings, the idea that winter is round the corner is becoming clearer day by day. And I am sure that most people are really looking forward to enjoying the changing weather.
Whether it’s the chill in the air, the warm attire, the atmosphere this weather creates or the delicacies that begin to hit our streets and neighborhoods through street vendors and cafes. If any foreigner comes to Pakistan at the time of a seasonal change, they will be in for a celebration. The whole scene changes when something new comes to Pakistan. I guess it’s safe to say, we are very ‘welcoming’ to almost everything.
Almost as a domino effect, as you go along the streets enjoying the changing winds, you start to notice the little things which let you realize that winter is here. Pakistan starts to have a different kind of special produce in the months of winter season. This will includes fruits like pomegranates, oranges, custard apples, apricots, and more. The same goes for vegetables – you can find carrots, beetroots, radishes, broccolis, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, turnips, cauliflowers and a whole lot more.
Pakistan becomes so loaded with fresh produce, especially in the vegetable aisle, that one can easily utilize it to make a good vegetable soup. Speaking of vegetable soup, here are some particular food items you will find yourself munching on in the winter season.
These are a special favorite of mine. My father from day one of winter would start bringing in these warm roasted peanuts in their unique little paper bags (made out of old phonebook pages) which would be your companion for the cold night. You can easily find these among the streets on what we have here known as thaylas (carts). The seller would ring a certain bell attached to their carts with this one lantern lit to light up the stacks of peanuts.
GAJAR KA HALWA
I’m sure if you have had this, reading its name would have made you salivate and a craving would have been aroused. This is one sweet dish you will find at every wedding, next to the other special warm delicious delicacy – gulab jamuns. Both these give you a warm cozy feeling inside with each spoonful bite.
ROASTED SWEET POTATOES
Like roasted peanuts, this too you can find on vending carts, and if you are a hygiene enthusiast, you can always buy them from a vegetable vendor and roast them in your kitchen.
ALL KINDS OF SOUP
Of course, you want to stay warm, and what better way to do it than consuming the hot yet fulfilling food item called soup. Whatever fits to your taste buds, hot and sour, chicken, tomatoes and so on, all flavors work during the chill the winter.
Let’s not forget the traditional hot beverage that shines in Pakistan in winter. Again, be it at weddings or home, everyone wants to have a cup of this pink, beautiful, aromatic tea garnished with pistachios and almonds.
The other hot drinks that accompany us through the winter season are coffee and hot chocolate. Usually, these are craved for after dinner time.
Roasted peanuts may hold its own place and importance, but let’s not neglect the rest of the dry fruits that enter our lives especially in winter. From walnuts to cashews, almonds and raisins, dry fruits are the healthy snacks in these cold days.
This may not be a specialty everywhere, but it is high in demands in the regions of Punjab, where winter hits its good peaks, than the province of Sindh.
I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to relish in these delicacies. Winter truly is a foodie’s favorite season!
Happy Winters Everyone!