It’s too hot to eat — a common complaint we hear at the lunch table these days. Instead of reaching for boring greens to cool you down, make the most of the luscious fruits available this season — but move past pressed juices and salads. Chilled watermelon soup or spiced kairi curry, anyone?
“Fruits create a combination of flavours — sweet, spicy and salty — and create an intriguing twist by adding body to a main course dish,” says chef Rahul Kaushik, executive sous chef at The St Regis Mumbai, Lower Parel. “Eating more fruit in the summer has obvious health benefits, but they also add umami to the dish.”
The summer calls for food that is high in water content, adds Suvidha Raibole, nutritionist at Care 24, a care-giving company for patients. “Adding fruit to main course dishes will keep you hydrated and energised.”
At Indigo Deli outlets, the highlight of the summer menu is the kairi curry, which uses charred mango as the base. “When charred, the mango pulp gets a distinct, smoky flavour, which adds zing to the curry,” says chef Jaydeep Mukherjee of Indigo Deli. At the restaurant, the kairi curry is served with seared Andaman seabass and a jamun pilaf.
Here’s a list of summer recipes you can follow easily at home, compiled with the help of city chefs. So the next time you grab slices of fruit off the tray, get creative, and remember to spice things up.
Amrud (guava) ki sabzi (Serves 4)
Take 250 gms of medium-ripe amrud or guavas, deseed and cut them in medium-sized cubes. Boil, blanch and puree 75 gm of tomatoes. Take approximately 5 gm of ghee, and temper it with 0.5 gm of hing powder, 5 gm each of cumin seeds and green chillies, and 2 gm each of fennel, amchur, coriander and turmeric powder. Add salt to taste. Mix in the pureed tomatoes and let the blend cook for a while.
To the above mixture, add 75 gm of curd and mix well. Let it cook till you see oil on the sides of the pan. Now, add the guava cubes and let them simmer until they are soft. Check for seasoning and garnish with sprigs of coriander. Serve hot, with roti.
--Recipe by Soumitra Kulkarni, regional chef – West, Barbeque Nation
Kairi Curry (Serves 4)
Char one medium raw mango over charcoal or a gas flame to scorch the skin. Wash under running water and peel off all the charred skin; squeeze the pulp off the stone and strain. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan, and add 1 tbsp of mustard seeds and about 10 curry leaves. Let it splutter. Add 1 medium finely chopped onion, and 1 tbsp of minced ginger and sauté till translucent. Add the charred mango pulp and a pinch of turmeric; sauté to cook the turmeric.
Add half a litre of fish stock, and bring to a slow simmer. Add a cup of coconut milk and stir to blend well —take the pan off the fire. The curry is best served with rice, pulao or biryani.
--Recipe by Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee, Indigo Deli; at Indigo Deli, the kairi curry is served with seared Andaman seabass and a jamun pilaf
Chilled watermelon soup with basil (Serves 1)
Peel and dice half a kilo of watermelon and 200 gm of cucumber. Add 2 blanched tomatoes to this, and combine with 20 gm of red wine vinegar, along with five springs of basil. Add salt to taste. Let it chill overnight. When serving, garnish with two sprigs of basil and add crumbled feta.
-- Recipe by chef Dominic, Royal Tulip Hotel, Navi Mumbai
Narangi Phool (Serves 1)
Boil and roast 120 gm of cauliflower. In a separate pan, add 30 gm of chopped tomato and sauté it in ghee. Add half a tablespoon of salt and 30 gm of brown cashew nut paste, along with a dash of Indian spices to taste. Add 50 gm of chopped orange and fresh orange juice, along with half a tablespoon of yellow chilli, and half a tablespoon of ginger garlic paste. Once the mixture looks well-cooked, add the roasted cauliflower, and allow the dish to cook.
Garnish with a tablespoon of chopped coriander, slices of orange, cherry tomatoes and half a tablespoon of ginger powder.
-- Recipe by Rahul Kaushik, executive sous chef, The St Regis Mumbai
Phalon ka shorba--Spiced mandarin orange soup along with chilli dust (Serves one)
Heat a tablespoon of ghee, add 10 gm each of beans and carrots to it. Add 50 gm each of red and green apples, pears and oranges and sauté. Once the mixture cools down, make a paste of all the ingredients with 20 gm of curd. Reheat the paste and reduce it.
Add half a tablespoon each of salt, mace cardamom and dry ginger powder, and yellow chilli. Strain the mixture, and serve with chopped fruits, garnished with coriander.
-- Recipe by Rahul Kaushik, executive sous chef, The St. Regis