The preference for using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It’s common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters.
Celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor strongly advocates the need of eating seasonal produce. He says, “The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing. When this produce hits the market, there isn’t a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don’t. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption.”
When it comes to winters, the chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
Purple radish: Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets. You can make raitas, curries and stir-fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people with digestive problems
Sweet potato: A re-discovered favourite, sweet potatoes have created a space for themselves in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chaat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins
Flat beans: It is a winter specialty in the south that is added to sambar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bengaluru is famous for its flat beans mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, pani puri and even jalebis
Amla: The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found throughout the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity-building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat amla - it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called murraba, or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it