Methi Paratha To Palak Bhajiya: The Flavours Of Autumn In India

Autumn and food share an enchanting love story where nature's bounty comes together with spices. As the leaves turn fiery hues and the air becomes crisp, the season brings out ingredients that are synonymous with comfort and indulgence.

From the earthy sweetness of pumpkins and sweet potatoes to the robust flavours of mustard greens and turnips, autumn offers rich seasonal produce. The kitchen becomes a canvas with the colours and aromas of simmering soups, spiced pies, and curries.  

Autumn in India, commonly referred to as the sharad ritu or post-monsoon season, holds a special place in the country's cultural and agricultural calendar. During this time, the scorching heat of summer begins to subside, making way for cooler and more pleasant weather. The landscape transforms with lush greenery and vibrant flowers, and farmers eagerly prepare for the harvest. In autumn, a variety of crops thrive, including rice, wheat, sugarcane, and various vegetables.   

Kaddu Ka Halwa 

Kaddu Ka Halwa celebrates the abundance of pumpkins in the country. This dessert is made by grating or pureeing pumpkin, which is then cooked with ghee, sugar, and spices like cardamom. The rich, golden-hued halwa balances the earthy sweetness of pumpkin with warm, comforting spices.

Garnished with nuts and sometimes flavoured with a hint of saffron, this halwa is a cherished treat during the autumn months. It not only fills the air with its inviting aroma but also warms the hearts of those who relish its deliciousness.  

Methi Paratha   

Methi paratha signals the arrival of autumn . As the season transitions from the monsoon rains to cooler, crisper air, fresh fenugreek leaves, or methi, flourish abundantly. These vibrant green leaves are plucked and finely chopped, then incorporated into the dough to create these hearty parathas. The taste of methi paratha is a perfect blend of earthiness and mild bitterness from the fenugreek leaves, balanced with the warmth of spices like cumin and coriander.

Cooked to golden perfection on a griddle with ghee or oil, they release an irresistible aroma that makes them impossible to resist. Often served with yoghurt, pickles, or a dollop of butter, they are a comforting and wholesome meal.  

Broccoli Soup   

Broccoli soup is indeed an autumn season special, as broccoli tends to be at its best during this time of the year. As the weather cools down and the leaves start to change colour, broccoli flourishes in its peak season. This vegetable is packed with nutrients, making it an ideal choice for a warming and nourishing soup.

The soup is typically prepared by simmering fresh broccoli florets with onions, garlic, and vegetable broth. It's then blended to a creamy consistency and often enhanced with a touch of cream or cheese for extra richness. The comforting, velvety soup not only warms you up but also celebrates the vibrant flavours of autumn, making it a perfect addition to your seasonal menu. 

Sarson Da Saag 

Sarson da saag is a quintessential Punjabi dish. This hearty and wholesome preparation features mustard greens (sarson) and other leafy vegetables simmered with spices. The leaves are typically harvested during the cooler months, when they are at their freshest and most flavourful.

After a slow and patient cooking process, the saag is traditionally mashed and often cooked further with ingredients like ghee, ginger, garlic, and various spices to enhance its rich, slightly bitter, and earthy taste. Sarson da Saag is commonly served with makki ki roti, made of cornmeal, topped with a dollop of freshly churned white butter.  

Sweet Potato Chaat 

Sweet potato chaat is a delightful and wholesome street food that captures the essence of the autumn season in India. As temperatures start to drop, sweet potatoes are harvested, and their natural sweetness intensifies. In this popular chaat, sweet potatoes are roasted or boiled until tender and then cubed.

These caramelised, slightly crisp sweet potatoes are tossed with spices such as chaat masala, cumin, and red chilli powder to add a hint of heat. To add a refreshing contrast, it's often garnished with fresh cilantro and a drizzle of tangy tamarind chutney, making it a beloved street snack during the autumn season.  

Shalgam Sabzi   

Shalgam sabzi is a dish that finds its place on dinner tables during the autumn and winter seasons. As the weather cools down, turnips come into their own, offering their earthy, slightly peppery taste. Cubed turnips are simmered in a spiced tomato-based gravy, often infused with ginger, garlic, and cumin. The result is a warm and satisfying sabzi that pairs perfectly with roti or rice. Shalgam Sabzi shows the essence of seasonal cooking.  

Palak Bhajiya   

Palak Bhajiya, also known as palak ke pakore, is a delightful Indian snack that brightens up the autumn season with its vibrant green hues and irresistible flavours. As cooler temperatures set in, fresh spinach is harvested, making it an ideal ingredient for this crispy and savoury treat. To prepare Palak Bhajiya, spinach leaves are coated in a spiced gram flour batter, which includes ingredients like turmeric, red chilli powder, and ajwain (carom seeds).

These are then deep-fried to a golden colour, resulting in pakoras that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Served hot with chutney or a cup of masala chai, Palak Bhajiya is a beloved snack that not only satisfies the taste buds but also adds a touch of warmth and cheer to the autumn season in India.