You know that winter has arrived when it suddenly becomes a lot harder to get out of a warm bed on cold mornings. But when you do eventually crawl out of your cocoon, at least you can always indulge in some comforting winter foods to get you through the day!
Different cultures have come up with their own versions of foods that do double duty during winter – by tasting great and warming you up at the same time. Here are some of my personal favourites:
A chunky soup is classic winter food to me – you can heat your hands up on the container as you drink it and also gulp it down without much chewing. Perfect for those times when you’re so ravenous that you just want to inhale your food. While most eateries put a seasonal soup on the menu in wintertime, some actually specialise in soups all year round. Expand your horizons beyond the staples of pumpkin soup and minestrone; try out more adventurous flavours like a Boston Clam Chowder or Indonesian chicken soup.
The more filling variation of this quintessential winter fare is the noodle soup which is often a speciality of Asian cuisines. Just to name a few examples – there’s Japanese ramen with miso, exotic Vietnamese pho with mint, as well as the lighter option of Chinese wonton noodle soup. The one thing that all these different versions have in common is a flavoursome broth base that leaves you with a satisfyingly full stomach if you choose to drink the soup after you polish off the noodles and toppings.
Curries and stews
A steaming pot of curry or stew is always a welcome sight during these chilly times and is a simple yet nourishing meal when combined with some rice or bread. Some great examples include a thick Hungarian goulash, a Thai massaman curry or Indian butter chicken. Add in a side of flaky roti bread or fluffy naan bread and you have yourself some very tasty options.
There’s nothing quite like the smoky taste of meat you’ve just freshly grilled yourself on a sizzling hotplate. For those of us who don’t have barbecues at home, you can feast on delicious marinated meat at Korean BBQ houses which have built in hotplates at every table. This means that you can pace yourselves by chatting to your friends, whilst cooking a steady stream of hot food throughout the night. Beware that your clothes will come out smelling like charcoal though – so don’t wear anything too fancy!
From the many cafes that do a creamy hot chocolate to the specialised chocolatiers who offer fondue sets with marshmallows and strawberries, we are very blessed in Australia to have so many options to spoil ourselves. My all time favourite is the warm chocolate fondant, with its gooey melted centre that oozes out once you crack the soft chocolate cake enveloping it. This dessert just epitomises the double duty concept of winter food – the decadent flavours that your tastebuds experience and the comforting warmth of the cake that makes winter all the more bearable.
What are your favourite winter foods and where do you find them? Let us know in the comments below.