6 Bracing Regional Curries That Are Perfect For Monsoon

There’s a reason we crave a bowl of hot, steaming khichdi or piping hot chai during monsoons. As the temperature cools around us, we crave bracing, hot bites and warming beverages which feel invigorating. Indian cuisine boasts several regional dishes which are consumed particularly during the monsoon, since they feature seasonal produce and a healthy dose of spices which warms our senses. 

Take a spicy and vibrant Chettinad chicken curry, for instance, which involves a flavourful dry roast and has bold and spicy flavours. Chettinad cuisine is renowned for its aromatic spices and unique cooking techniques. It has chicken, black pepper, star anise, fennel seeds, curry leaves, and coconut; the spices are typically dry-roasted and ground to create a robust masala. The use of freshly ground spices and coconut gives it a rich texture and a deep, satisfying taste, perfect for warming up on a rainy evening. Here are some other regional recipes which are perfect for the monsoon.

Kolhapuri Chicken Curry

Known for its fiery cuisine, Kolhapur offers this robust chicken curry that is as bold as the region's cultural heritage. The curry is made with a blend of spicy Kolhapuri masala, which includes red chilli powder, cloves, black pepper, and dried coconut. Kolhapuri Chicken Curry is renowned for its intense heat and rich flavours. 

The blend of spices creates a depth of flavour that is balanced by the slight tanginess of tamarind and the sweetness of coconut. This fiery curry is a perfect match for the cool, rainy monsoon days, providing warmth and a satisfying kick.

To prepare this curry, start by making the Kolhapuri masala. Dry roast the spices and coconut until aromatic, then grind them into a fine powder. Marinate the chicken in this masala along with some yoghurt. Sauté onions, garlic, and ginger in oil add the marinated chicken and cook until done. Finally, add tamarind pulp and simmer until the flavours meld together.

Prawn Malai Curry

This delicately flavoured curry comes from the coastal regions of West Bengal. Prawn Malai Curry, or Chingri Malai Curry, is a testament to Bengal's love for seafood and its mastery in creating creamy, coconut-based dishes.

The primary ingredients include fresh prawns, coconut milk, mustard seeds, turmeric, green chillies, and a hint of garam masala. The curry often incorporates a bit of sugar to balance the flavours. Prawn Malai Curry offers a luxurious taste with its creamy coconut milk base, enhanced by the mild heat of green chillies and aromatic spices. The natural sweetness of prawns blends harmoniously with the coconut milk, making it a comforting dish for the rainy season.

Rajasthani Gatte Ki Sabzi 

Rajasthani Gatte Ki Sabzi is a unique vegetarian curry from the arid state of Rajasthan. It showcases the resourcefulness of Rajasthani cuisine, using gram flour (besan) to create dumplings called gatte, which are then simmered in spiced yoghurt gravy.

It features dumplings made by mixing besan with spices and oil, rolled into logs, and boiled before being added to the gravy. This curry is tangy, spicy, and deeply satisfying. The yoghurt-based gravy provides a creamy texture and a tangy flavour, while the gatte offers a chewy, hearty bite. The combination is perfect for the rain! 

Goan Fish Curry

Goan Fish Curry is characterized by its use of coconut and tangy ingredients like kokum or tamarind. Fresh fish such as kingfish or mackerel, coconut milk, kokum, or tamarind, along with spices like turmeric, coriander, and green chillies, form the base of this curry. The curry is tangy, slightly sweet, and mildly spicy, with a rich coconut flavour that is key to its creaminess. The use of kokum adds a unique sourness that complements the fish and adds more depth.

Kashmiri Rogan Josh

Kashmiri Rogan Josh is known for its use of aromatic spices and tender lamb and this dish reflects the Persian influence on Kashmiri cuisine. The curry is typically cooked in ghee to enhance its richness and add warmth; it has lamb, yoghurt, Kashmiri red chilli powder, fennel seeds, dry ginger powder, and asafoetida are essential ingredients.

Rogan Josh is a deeply flavoured curry with a moderate heat level. The aromatic spices and yoghurt create a thick, luxurious sauce that coats the tender lamb pieces. This curry is perfect for cold, rainy days, providing warmth and comfort.

Baingan Bharta 

Who can forget the hearty Baingan Bharta which is especially enjoyed during the monsoon when fresh vegetables are abundant? This dish is made by roasting eggplants until smoky and then mashing them with spices. Its roasting process imparts a distinct smoky flavour to the dish.

Baingan Bharta is smoky, earthy, and slightly spicy. The roasted eggplant provides a rich, creamy texture, while the tomatoes add a touch of acidity. This curry pairs well with hot chapatis or rice, making it a comforting meal during rainy weather.