Student concocts conveniently cozy creations

Tanvi Shukla / The Mossy Log

Ah, winter, the season that turns us all into reluctant hibernating bears, layering up until we resemble sentient snowmen. Amidst the icy winds and frosty sidewalks, there is one question that echoes through the frozen corridors of our minds: What on Earth are we going to cook during this polar vortex?

Face it, answering this question depends on one’s cooking prowess and the sheer will to whip up a meal. Being a broke college student on a budget, I found refuge in crafting easy yet delicious, comforting meals in my dorm. I saw this snowy weather as an opportunity to create some amazing dishes from back home, complete with my creative takes on dorm-friendly recipes.

One of my top dishes during this chilly escapade was a regional delight called “Namkeen Chawal.” Complicated name, simple execution. Imagine a warm hug of spices throwing you headfirst into the nostalgia of winters in India. 


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 teaspoons Turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon Chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp dried mango powder
  • Half tablespoon garam masala 
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1/2 Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 cup Onion Chopped
  • 1 Cup Veggies (your choice)
  • 1 Green Chili chopped
  • 1.5 cups Basmati Rice washed
  • 3 cups of Water.

In simpler terms, it is a rice-based preparation that involves tossing tomatoes, onions and a medley of spices into a pot. So first add some oil to a pot and once heated add in your chopped onion, green chilies, ginger garlic paste, and tomatoes along with the spices listed above. As the aroma of spices like turmeric, chili powder, dried mango powder, and garam masala fills the room and the mixture starts leaving the oil, add your rice and double the quantity of water. You can also adjust the spice levels at this point by increasing or decreasing the amount of chili you put in. Now, kick back and wait for the magic to happen. Once the rice is cooked to perfection, you’ve got yourself a bowl of happiness. This ultimate comfort dish became my go-to during 76% of my winter break on campus — quick, easy and a dopamine booster.

Now, as much as I adore cooking, there are times when I do not even want to lift a finger, let alone chop onions and tomatoes. Enter the realm of laziness, where, like any normal human, I opt for a simple, quick bowl of ramen that has the power to heal the inner soul. Korean Ramen, Japanese Ramen or Maggie (the Indian version of ramen) — all these super-quick noodles come together to provide the satisfaction you need when your phone is blowing up thirteen times a day with snowstorm warnings.

In the grand culinary adventure of surviving the freezing winters on a college budget, creativity, simplicity and a dash of humor were the secret ingredients. So, fellow mates, let us toast to surviving winter with the warmth of spices and the simplicity of a ramen bowl — culinary triumphs that make winter a tad more palatable.

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