Mushroom bhaji in a bowl with spoon
While most home cooks have a few favorite go-to comfort food recipes they gravitate toward when the cold weather hits, there’s actually a science behind why we crave comfort foods, beyond the nostalgic and comfy feelings they evoke. The act of eating comfort foods — which are typically heavy on carbs, sugar, and/or fat — triggers a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing dopamine, a feel-good hormone that activates the pleasure centers in your noggin, per Verywell Fit.
It makes sense, then, that many of us tend to crave comfort foods more during the cold winter months when it’s dark and dreary and we could use a good dose of those happy chemicals. Comfort foods don’t necessarily have to be bad for you, either. Nutrient-rich foods like salmon, frozen berries, and dark chocolate, as recommended by Today, are great ways to boost your mood when the cold weather hits. And if you’re looking to get creative in the kitchen, there’s a traditional Indian dish that’s perfect for cozying up to on a cold night.
Whip Up This Comforting Veggie-Packed Dish
A traditional Indian recipe, mushroom bhaji is a comforting vegetarian dish that can be served as a main course or a side, and it’s commonly packed with spicy flavors like garlic, chili powder, cumin, and coriander. Earthy, meaty mushrooms tossed in tomato purée are the star of this dish, making it both hearty and good for you, as mushrooms are packed with nutrients. It’s also a quick and comforting weeknight meal since it can typically be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
This versatile mushroom curry can be made with just about any type of mushroom, according to Flawless Food, but baby button or chestnut mushrooms are best, the latter of which will help give your dish a rich, meaty flavor. Regardless of the variety, the key to cooking the mushrooms perfectly for this dish is cooking them low and slow, so be patient (via Serious Eats). Try this recipe for mushroom bhaji, courtesy of The Perfect Pantry, for a comforting dish with an explosion of flavors, and if you’re interested in experimenting with more flavors in your kitchen, check out these delicious Indian dishes.