With the rising temperatures, this season it’s very much needed to make our kitchen experiences lighter and cooler. ‘Beat the Heat’ is one common discussion these days besides beating the COVID pandemic. With work from home concepts for most of us, it is at times not very comfortable to manage work and kitchen chores side by side looking at the lockdowns and set timings for movements, etc. So let us cook something cool this summer!
We need to be relaxed, keep ourselves well hydrated with water first, and think: Does it really need so much worry? Not really! Cooking just needs a little bit of planning and pre-preparation, and life’s good! The only thing to look at is the availability of ingredients and dry stores to conjunct them well onto our plates and enjoy the flavours of a cool summer!
A few tips on how to make life easy for cooking cool:
- List down all the fresh perishables like fruits and vegetables, non-veg, etc. which you wish to consume or prepare during the week. I usually do this activity on Sundays for the week to come.
- Once the list is made, keep a few options/substitutes as well on paper so that just in case you are not able to get a particular ingredient or vegetable or fruit, it can be modified immediately during the quick online or offline mode of shopping.
- Ensure that you have looked at the likings and preferences of all in the house. Re-check the dishes once again, especially those you have not made in the last 3 weeks.
- Creating variety in the menus and on the table has been one challenge for many in the last few months since everyone has had their own choice and preferences/moods as well to have certain foods.
- Being summertime try and incorporate more fresh vegetables. Greens, sprouts, tubers, root vegetables, etc. should be a part of your shopping list.
- Try and get fresh herbs like basil, mint, coriander at all times including Vitamin-C rich lemons, oranges, Malta varieties. Fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, chickoo, bananas, mangoes are in season too. Aam-Ras is an all-time favourite meal as well for most of us during summers!
- Try and use fewer spices and oil in the cooking for your recipes, preferably use the stir fry method, steaming, poaching, grilling, pan-frying as far as possible. Avoid deep-fried foods and heavily loaded butter and cheese during these times.
- Have brown rice and healthy grains millets. Jowar, Ragi, makai ka Atta, soy ka Atta, multi-grain flour, etc can be used to make your chapattis, avoid too much of refined flour, maida etc in cooking.
- Sugary foods and loaded sweets should take a little of a back seat in these times since we all have limited physical activities these days, we need to cut that sugar down drastically, have dates & jaggery!
- Have more herbal teas, green tea, cool mint tea, ginger lemon cinnamon tea etc. Avoid sugar in tea and coffees.
- Prepare your dals, sabzis using 1 tbsp. oil challenge. It may sound challenging sometimes but it is possible to use less oil and cut it down to less than half of your usual monthly consumption. Use non-stick cookware for your veggies etc.
- Work with recipes which can be done in a few minutes.
- Avoid too much onion, garlic etc. in dishes these days, use ginger, green chilli, curry leaves, tomatoes and a mild touch of spices. Use lime juice, aamchur, coriander leaves to finish off the dishes.
- Do more at once and be ready for the time ahead. It is advised to do a little multitasking as well to stay away from the heat in the kitchens. While the lunch is being prepared, we can also do a little pre-preparation for the evening dinner as well.
- Avoid canned/processed foods if possible and try to make them fresh at home to benefit more. Keep yoghurt in the fridge at all times to whip up some nice lassi & chhaas to beat the heat, and enjoy that in between during the day with a little mint, roasted crushed jeera to help digestion as well.
- If working with non-veg like chicken, meat, etc. try and marinate it ahead of time. Side by side, you may work on its gravy- paste, etc. Keep it in the fridge and use as & when needed to save time and keep us away from continued heat.
- Have a wholesome breakfast that is filling and keeps you up & active until lunchtime.
- Avoid junk and fast foods all the time as part of home cooking. This is an ideal time to cut those calories and gradually melt down those flabs, which keeps us heavy.
- Prefer one meal dishes like pulao’s or dishes like Burmese Khow-Suey – a pot rice concept in which rice and gravy along with non-veg or veg are all-in-one assembled and easy to serve & eat.
- As a recommendation, it is better to go veg for some time especially during this epidemic and COVID era. It is healthier, fulfilling, and acts as mindful cooking and eating as well.
- Cooking with a peaceful mind, full of positive energy and good thoughts through the process will always result in great recipes being dished out, avoid distractions like mobiles, work calls, laptop work, television and watching low energy programs, etc. while cooking. Sit together at mealtimes, have a good “we time” and spend quality time with family over meals.
- I also recommend making a few basic masalas/ base gravies, like boiled onion paste, ginger garlic-chilli paste / boiled corn / blanched spinach, etc. and keep in the freezer/fridge & use them as needed to reduce the cooking time daily.
Also Read: Brown Rice Relishes
Here are a couple of One Pot Concept Meal Recipes to quick fix during these times and relish with your family!
Recipe 1: Asian Chicken / Veg & Rice Pot
Recipe 2: Videshi Tadkewala Chawal
Mix-n-match rice concept
Recipe 3: Khumb Ki Masti Wala Pasta
Mildly spiced fresh mushrooms with pasta in a tomato-based sauce.
Recipe 4: Mili Juli Noodles Ki Baari
Stir-fried noodles with veg/non-veg as a pot meal.
Also Read: The Cozy Cauliflower
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are of the author solely. TheRise.co.in neither endorses nor is responsible for them.
About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.