Two summers ago, food blogger Anusha Praveen, 28, reinvented the traditional brownie recipe, with something most chefs would be apprehensive of — adding a squash vegetable to the mix. To her surprise, zucchini — a summer squash — turned out to be an easy ingredient to work with in sweet bakes.
As Mumbai’s mercury rises relentlessly, and most of your weekend plans are pushed indoors, city chefs and food bloggers say it’s a good time to experiment and serve up quirky treats, with a healthy twist. Try your hand at recipes that are refreshing, out-of-the-box, and light on the stomach for summer.
“Fresh summer ingredients are conducive to interesting combinations, and allow chefs to be creative,” says chef Shipra Khanna, winner of Season 2 of culinary reality show MasterChef India. “For instance, you can use spinach and beetroot in cakes and cupcakes, while orange juice can add a tangy zing to curries. Dates and apricot can also create a different flavour in gravies.”
“The zucchini brownies are a great way to get children to eat their greens, without complaining,” says Praveen.
CANTALOUPE ORANGE COLD SOUP
(Serves 2) Blend ½ cup cubed cantaloupe, 1tbsp orange zest, ¼cup orange juice, 2tbsp hung curd, 1tsp grated ginger, ¼tsp nutmeg powder and cinnamon powder, and salt, for a smooth puree. Heat 1tsp olive oil (not extra virgin) and sauté 2tbsp finely chopped bell peppers for a minute. Add peppers to the soup and chill. Garnish with mint leaves and a dollop of hung curd. Serve cold.
Recipe courtesy: Food blogger Anusha Praveen, www.TomatoBlues.com
(Serves 4) For the crust: Preheat oven to 325F. Put 1/3 cup almonds and 12 Marie biscuits in a mixer or food processor to form crumbs. Add the crumbs to a bowl with 4 tbsp melted butter and stir. Press the crumbs to form a crust in a spring form pan or a lightly greased pie pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, and leave to cool.
For the filling: Blend 1 packet of softened cream cheese with 2 blocks of soft silken tofu until silky smooth, in a mixer. Add ¾ cup sugar and 3 eggs and pulse until mixed. Stream in orange juice from 3 oranges, zest from 2 oranges and 2 tbsp orange extract. Pulse until combined.
Place the cool crust on a cookie sheet, and scrape the filling onto it. Bake the cheesecake at 325F for an hour. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in for 20 more minutes, with oven door slightly ajar. Allow it to cool before refrigerating overnight. Serve chilled with orange slices.
Recipe courtesy: Food writer Kiran Srivastava
(Makes 16) Pre-heat the oven to 350F for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, add ½ cup whole wheat flour, ½ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup cocoa powder, ¾ tsp baking soda, ½ cup cocoa chips and a pinch of salt. Mix so that the flour coats the chocolate chips evenly. In another bowl, add ¾ cup caster sugar, 1 cup finely grated zucchini, ½ cup banana puree and ½tbsp vanilla extract, and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to this wet mixture and whisk well. Grease an 8”x 8” cake pan and line with parchment paper. Spread brownie batter evenly. Tap the pan to get rid of air bubbles. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Once done, let it cool for an hour before you slice into bars.
Recipe courtesy: Food blogger Anusha Praveen
DRY-FRUIT TRUFFLE DOSA
(Serves 2) For the dosa: Heat a non-stick pan. Take half a ladle of dosa batter and make four small dosas. Drizzle with oil or ghee. Cook on one side, then flip and cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter.
For the truffle: Add six seedless dates, six almonds, six walnuts, six cashewnuts and one green cardamom in a mixer, and pulse till the mixture turns into a soft pliable dough. Make small patties out of it.
For the sandwich: Place a truffle patty between two mini-dosas. Drizzle honey and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy: Food blogger Priya Srinivasan www.Icampinmykitchen.com
BLACK BEAN OR MILLET-FLOUR COOKIES
(Makes 9) Powder ¼ cup palm sugar in a mixer. In a mixing bowl, add 3.5tbsp butter and the powdered sugar. Whisk and add ¾ tsp vanilla essence. In another bowl, add ¼ cup of millet flour (can be substituted with black beans) and wheat flour, and whisk. Combine the two mixtures, and add 2tsp milk or water. Make small, flat balls of about ¼ inch each. Line butter paper on a baking tray and arrange the cookies. Bake the cookies at 180 degree celsius for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool and store in an air-tight container.
Recipe courtesy: Food blogger Sharmilee Prakash www.sharmispassions.com