Last year, in March, the pandemic left us confined to the four walls of our homes. A lot of the sectors were adversely affected by the health situation in the country because there were government-issued guidelines to avoid any kind of physical contact and limit social interactions. Amidst such a situation, the rising number of Covid cases added to the scare and people preferred to stay indoors for the longest time. While, on one hand, the need of the hour was emergency wards, oxygen supplies and efficient medical care, there were certain industries, on the other hand, who were having a tough time to sustain. One of the worst hit sectors in this regard was the hospitality sector, particularly the food and beverage industry. 

Since people weren’t eating out or travelling, they resorted to their home kitchens to make the most of their time. No wonder Google India’s Year in Search 2021 features dishes like methi matar malai, matar paneer and enoki mushrooms among the most searched recipes on the search engine. For the unversed, Year in Search is a concept that was launched by Google in the year 2002 by the name Google Zeitgeist which was later renamed Year in Search from 2013 onwards. This annual review by the search engine brings out a report of the most searched phrases by people in that particular year. 

The idea behind this is to provide people with a capsule of events and happenings that have taken place in the year gone by and give them a glimpse of what affected people the most. For instance, this year, how to heal saw a major upsurge in search volumes which reflects the overall mental health condition of the world during the pandemic. The two-minute video by Google takes you through a virtual tour of the incidents and issues of the past along with providing a sense of community and resilience. 

From the dalgona coffee to oreo maggi, there was no dearth of food experiments in the past year. With the evident interest in cooking apart from the “How to book slots for vaccine?” during this period, people Googled several recipes from different parts of the country. Here are the 10 most searched recipes in the year 2021 on Google India and how you can make them at home. 

1.  Matar Paneer 

A delightful combination of peas and cottage cheese, this semi-gravy dish is quite popular in most parts of North India.  From Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to Uttarakhand and Delhi, the recipe for matar paneer was quite a hit on the search bar. Made with a tomato-onion curry, the soft paneer cubes are diced and dunked into it to be relished with naan, roti or rice. Wondering how to make it? Here’s a quick recipe to try. 

2.  Chicken Soup 

A piping hot bowl of soup is dream come true in winters. Given the dipping temperatures, we aren’t surprised that chicken soup made it to the search list. A classic chicken soup is made with a light chicken broth and shredded chicken mixed together and brought to a boil. Sprinkled with pepper and salt, this healthy and light meal is a treat in the chilly weather. 

3.  Enoki Mushrooms 

These Japanese-style mushrooms have actually created a rage in the North-eastern states of Mizoram and Assam with the most searched numbers coming from there. What makes them unique is their mild flavour and lack of chunkiness, unlike other mushrooms. From soups to risottos, enoki mushrooms can be added to a variety of things. 

4.  Palak 

The emphasis on health has been on the rise since the pandemic and what better way to source nutrition than from green leafy vegetables. Spinach or palak, can be spruced up into a saag, paired with palak paneer or simply blanched into a soup. Whatever be the way of including it in your diet, vitamins and minerals are guaranteed. 

5.  Lasagna 

Wait, what lasagna? Though it is quite surprising to see a foreign delicacy like lasagna be among the top 10 most searched recipes in India, it seems like Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram as well as Goa and Puducherry have a large lasagna fan base. The Italian pasta dish is layered with cheese, vegetables and/or meat and baked. 

6.  Modak 

The dessert (search) bar hasn’t been left vacant this year too with modak being the only sweetmeat to grab its place in the top 10. The dumpling-shaped sweet is generally made from mawa or khoya and comes in a variety of flavours, from kesar to paan and chocolate. This dessert is a quintessential Hindu prasad, distributed on Ganesh Chaturthi since it used to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite. Although the festival is widely celebrated in states like Maharashtra, the highest searches appeared from Goa. 

7.  Methi Matar Malai 

Yet another creamy and lip-smacking vegetarian delicacy from the North, methi malai matar, as the name suggests, has three components. The creamy malai and the thick methi pair well with the chunky matar to form this subzi. 

8.  Porn Star Martini 

Seems like this classic cocktail of the 2000s has made comeback this year with a huge search among the North Eastern states and neighbouring regions. The tartness and sweetness of the drink is well-balanced with the fresh passion fruit sliced on the side of the glass. 

9.  Cookies 

Just like lasagna, cookies have also been featured in the most searched recipes. Baking seems to have emerged as a preferred method of cooking and these baked bites are among the top 10. Chunky, gooey and bigger than biscuits, cookies are best paired with a cup of coffee or tea. 

10.   Kadha 

With the increasing demand for immunity-boosting drinks and food around the world, the traditional Kadha has resurfaced as a popular strengthening agent in India.