The weather is gloomy, the world outside is overcast and grey. Even though the evening breeze is welcome, staying indoors can get weary after a while. A good idea however, is to spend the day cooking up something comforting to snack on to lift your mood. Here are several South Indian snacks that can give samosas a run for its money. Without further ado:
The Hyderabadi version of a samosa, lukhmis are little parcels of minced meat nestled in a crispy casing and deep fried. Unlike samosas, they are square-shaped and bite-sized. In fact, its small size is the inspiration for its name; 'lukhmi' means 'morsel' in Urdu. Although a mutton kheema filling is traditional, it is also possible to find vegetarian variations of this popular snack. A favourite starter at weddings, lukhmis are also the perfect antidote to this gloomy weather.
Paniyaram is the lesser known, but equally delicious cousin of dosasand idlis. Using the same batter as that of dosa-idli, this Tamilian snack is a cinch to make, the only caveat being that a specific pan is required to mould it into perfect roundels. Paniyaram is very versatile and can be both sweet as well as savoury. The savoury variety has sautéed onions and green chillies mixed into the batter. Soft and pillowy with a few spots where the onion has caramelised, and fragrant with ghee and chillies, this snack is best eaten piping hot with a generous serving of tomato or coconut chutney.
3. Pazham Pori
If there's one thing that is ubiquitous with the monsoons and train journeys in Kerala, it's banana fritters or pazham pori. Crispy on the outside with sweet succulent pieces of ripe banana nestled inside, this is comfort food at its best. Making this dish at home involves slicing bananas lengthwise, dipping into a batter made of rice flour and maida, and deep frying until golden. The key to making the best possiblepazham pori is to use the ripest bananas you can find.
4. Parippu Vada
Deep-fried, spicy and fragrant, this dish of lentil fritters has all the makings of an indulgent snack. Along with pazhampori, parippu vada is a staple train journey food. It also happens to be the most popular snack offered at chaya kadas (tea stalls) throughout the state of Kerala. A bite of spicy parippu vada quickly followed by a sip of piping hot tea is a joy unto itself.
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The favoured snack of hungry beach-goers in Chennai, sundal is the perfect antidote to all the fried, greasy food that is inevitably consumed during the rains. Chickpeas sautéed with shredded coconut in a mixture of spices and curry leaves, sundal is best eaten out of paper cones and with a cup of filter coffee, sand between your feet is optional.
6. Rasam Vadai
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Vadai, made from a mixture of lentils that have been ground to a thick batter and deep fried are crispy on the outside and cottony-soft on the inside. This Tamilian classic that has now become a favourite all over South India, is at its delicious most when served in a bowl of piping hotrasam. Rasam, which is sort of a peppery and tangy soup, is perfect for cutting through the richness of the vadai.
7. Fruit Chips
Although banana chips are available throughout the year, the sweet variety tastes all the more delicious during this time of the year. Unlike the more popular salted banana chips, the sweet chips are made from ripe bananas and fried in coconut oil.
Breadfruit chips that are made in households during summers are also perfect to snack on while watching the rains. It involves cutting the breadfruit into paper-thin slices, soaking them in turmeric and salt, and deep frying until crispy. When stored in an airtight container, these can last for days. The same method is applied to jackfruits that are abundantly found in Kerala. For a crunch, sweet and salty snack, look no further than these sticks that look like little rays of sunshine on a rainy day.
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