You may not be able to wish the summer sun away, but you can certainly try to make the heat more bearable by choosing what you eat wisely. Chefs say that juices, salads and smoothies should feature on all menus this season, while rich stews, curries and masala-heavy gravies should make a comeback only when the weather is cooler.
"Go for apples, litchis and watermelons. Opt for cucumbers, coriander and mint, as they have high water content. They have a cooling and hydrating effect on your body," says Gresham Fernandes, group executive chef fine dine, Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality Pvt Ltd (Salt Water Café, Smoke House Deli, Colaba Social, etc.).
Subhash Shirke, executive chef, Neighbourhood Hospitality (Woodside Inn, and Woodside - All Day Bar & Eatery), says that quinoa, lettuce, pomegranate, microgreens, lemon and star fruit are the ingredients he favours in the summer.
Fernandes says that since ghee is technically a cooling agent, one can cook with it, but the use of masalas must be minimised. "Go easy on the usage of ginger, garlic, chilli, peppers, etc. Stay away from red meat, eggs and pork, since they are hard to digest, and the body uses more energy to break them down," he says, adding that meat lovers can opt for chicken in summer, but fish is the best option.
These ingredients are your best bets this summer. Chefs suggest the ones you should stock up on and why:
*Tulsi seeds or sabja: A natural coolant, these seeds are good for those suffering from diabetes, constipation and acidity. They also aid in weight loss, and keep the skin and hair healthy.
*Cucumber: It keeps your body hydrated and helps flush out toxins. It is good for the eyes, reduces cholesterol levels, and is healthy for the kidneys too.
*Kokum: It boosts brain activity, immunity and digestion. Kokum also battles allergies and aids heart function. The antioxidant is also great for the skin.
*Tender coconut water: Drink it to boost your immune system, lose weight, keep your skin healthy, and cure kidney diseases.
*Bell peppers: They control diabetes, reduce cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, aid the immune and nervous systems, and are good for the skin and hair.
*Fenugreek/Methi: It is used to treat skin problems, reduce scars, reduce cholesterol levels, and control blood sugar levels.
*Watermelon: Rich in nutrients, this hydrating fruit has many benefits - it stabilises blood pressure, heals sore muscles, prevents asthma, aids digestion and gives you healthy skin.
- With inputs from Chef Vijay Anand Bakshi, head culinary operations, Barbeque Nation.