After a long and tiring summer season, the weather is finally changing. Days are becoming shorter and nights longer and colder. Sweaters and coats are taking over the closets and blankets are covering the beds. Some are enjoying this chill in the air while others are down with the case of winter blues. With everything around us changing, food choices are also altering to help the body adapt to colder temperatures. Let us talk about the different foods that make up our diet in the colder months.
There is a reason why certain fruits and vegetables are available in particular months only. Our bodies have varying nutritional needs in different seasons, and this seasonal produce is designed by nature to support these needs, so there are obvious health benefits. For starters, citrus fruits like oranges, clementine, and grapefruit are high in vitamin C which is needed in the winter months to combat cold as vitamin C is known to shorten their duration. Other fruits consumed in winters are persimmons, pomegranates, pears, apples, dates and several others. Just like fruits, there are seasonal vegetables too like spinach, cauliflower, turnip, and broccoli that provide the essential nutrients for the winter season.
Then there are specific cuisines that people prefer to eat more during the colder months, thereby making them winter specialties. Let us examine the eating habits of the general Pakistani population in the winter months.
Starting off with Siri Paye, they are mostly enjoyed at breakfast times but obviously not limited to it. The hot, steamy, and aromatic gravy makes for a perfect companion in the cold winter mornings. The most famous place for Paye in Lahore is PhajjayKePaye which is located in the walled city. People from all over Pakistan visit this place especially to taste this delicacy. HalwaPuri is also devoured frequently in this season. In some families, it is a tradition to have HalwaPuri breakfast on Sunday mornings. There are several famous HalwaPuri places in Lahore, like SadiqHalwaPuri, Capri, and Taj Mahal Sweets. Apart from these, Parathay are again well loved in breakfast, and not just in winters, but also year round.
SarsonKaSaag is also very popular in this season. It not only tastes good but has numerous health benefits too. For instance, mustard leaves are packed with antioxidants, iron, and fibre which are great for health. Fried fish is another highly demanded food item in the winter season. Hoards of people can be seen around street vendors selling fish. Barbecue food is also a fan favourite when the weather becomes cold. Many people have barbecue nights on rooftops as a celebratory gesture on the arrival of winter season. The hot grills and cold temperature makes for a perfect contrast. Other delicious winter delights include all sorts of Karahis with hot from the oven naan.
In desserts, a bowl of GajarKaHalwa and hot GulabJamun are quintessential. Even at winter weddings, these desserts replace the usual options of ice cream or Kulfa.
The downside of the colder months is the laziness it brings with it. A warm bed seems too good to leave, so the motivation for cooking may get lost somewhere, but this does not mean that the inner food enthusiast settles for anything less. As it is common knowledge, Pakistanis are big foodies so they will never compromise on good food. If they are not cooking themselves, then they will either dine out or order at home. So many new restaurants are springing up every other day to cater to the ever-increasing population. Then there are food delivery companies like cheetay.pk that are delivering all types of cuisines at their customer’s doorstep.One thing is for sure that every season brings with it its own pleasures that need to be enjoyed to the fullest.