Monsoon cravings: Try these nostalgic delicacies as you enjoy rain

Cooking traditional monsoon snacks and savouring them as you watch the rain is a much-cherished rainy season activity for Malayalis. Representative image/iStock/asbe

There used to be times when the monsoon brought hunger with it to Kerala. A period when famine poured in just as the heavy rains. The family members used to huddle inside the warmth of their homes and wait for the local delicacies any, to be ready.

Those times are long gone. But, here are some delicacies that can be enjoyed equally by those who love to watch the world outside getting soaked in rain from the comfort of their homes and those who get wet in the rain outside to reach their homes. These distinctive local delicacies will leave your tongue tingling.

Fish vindaloo
Monsoon is the season of trawling ban as well. But still, traditional fishermen continue to venture out to sea and various fish varieties are available in local markets.

The rivers too are bustling with huge fish stocks during this time of the year. The prices, though, will be a little on the higher side. Irrespective of whether the prices remain high or not, fish tastes the best during monsoon.

While curries and fries of various fish varieties are common, we bring to you another delicacy – Fish vindaloo. The coastal people also call it vindali and to make it, any fish from Spanish mackerel or seer fish (neymeen) to varal (snake head) can be used. Sting ray (thirandi), which are caught from the sea, too can be used. 

Any fish from Spanish mackerel or seer fish (neymeen) to varal (snake head) can be used to make fish vindaloo. Representative image/iStock/SUSANSAM

Before planning to prepare the dish, have this statutory warning in mind - the government has imposed a ban on fishing in canals (known as ‘ootha pidutham’ in local parlance) as monsoon also marks the reproductive season of fish stocks. If caught, you may not get enough time to prepare vindaloo as you might get arrested. 

Now, here's the yummy recipe of fish vindaloo can be prepared in a clay pan:

1 kg fish
150 gms small onion
4 pieces of garlic
1 big piece of ginger
6 green chilli
2 spoons of turmeric powder
4 spoons of chilli powder
1 spoon of coriander powder
50 gms of Malabar tamarind
Coconut oil
1 sprig of curry leaves

Clean and cut fresh fish into small slices
Crush small onion, garlic, ginger, and green chilli
Pour some oil into the pan and add the crushed items as the oil becomes hot
Blend these ingredients
Fry the mix until the raw smell goes away
Sprinkle powdered turmeric, chilli, pepper, and coriander powder
As the mix begins to turn brown, add Malabar tamarind 
Add water as required
As the gravy thickens, add fish pieces 
Cook it further by putting a lid on the pan.
Cook them for 15 minutes in high flames followed by 15 minutes in low flames.
Once ready, add some curry leaves
Pour a spoon of coconut oil over it before taking down the pan
The piping hot vindaloo is ready to serve now
Make sure fish pieces do not get dried out or get shredded
The vindaloo can be relished along with boiled rice, puttu, or even raw bread 

Cauliflower Mappas

1 small size cauliflower
2 big spoons of coconut oil
Half a spoon of mustard
One onion thinly cut into small slices
Half a spoon of sliced garlic
One spoon of sliced ginger
Two green chillis to be chopped
2 sprigs of curry leaves
2 spoons of coriander powder
1 spoon chilli powder
Quarter spoon of turmeric powder
Half a spoon of garam masala powder
One tomato to be chopped
Quarter cup coconut milk (first take)
One cup coconut milk (second take)
One spoon of vinegar
2 spoons of chopped coriander leaves

Cauliflower mappas can be relished with chapathi or other breads. Representative image/iStock/Ilya_Rocket

Wash and clean cauliflower
Put it in a vessel with slightly hot water.
After 10 minutes, drain the water out.
Fry mustard seeds in oil till the seeds start popping and then add the finely chopped onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli and curry leaves
When the mix turns golden, add mustard powder chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt
Sauté it
When the masala boils, add cauliflower and tomato
Sauté for three minutes.
Add coconut milk (second take)
Stir the mix till the cauliflower gets boiled
Add coconut milk, vinegar and coriander leaves
When it boils, the dish is ready to be served hot

Spinach Dal Vada

200 gms dal soaked in water
200 gms spinach chopped into small pieces
50 gms small onion finely chopped
25 gms garlic finely chopped
1 piece ginger finely chopped
5 or 6 green chilli chopped
Half a teaspoon of asafoetida powder, turmeric powder

Crispy spinach vada
Spinach dal vada with a cup of tea can be savoured as you enjoy the rain. File Photo

Put all the ingredients, except spinach, into a mixer jar
Grind the mix slightly
Add spinach to the crushed mix using your hands
Make the mix into coin shapes after putting them on your forehand
Fry them in oil.


1 cup raw rice
A handful of parboiled rice
½ dried red chillies
A handful of split pigeon peas (dal)
A pinch of asafoetida powder
1 small cup of grated coconut

Wash and soak the rice and dal in water for about an hour
Grind the remaining ingredients to make the batter, ensure the consistency is not too thin
Heat oil in a pan
Slide the batter gently into the pan in the shape of dal fritters
Fry and serve hot

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