You might be thinking that a spicy curry is the last thing you would want in 40 degree temperatures, but let me assure you of this - most parts of India experience summers that are far warmer, drier and intense than what we are used to experiencing on Australia’s coastline. As a result of these prolonged summers, Indians have developed ways to keep chilled even during the hottest of times.
In India, summers mean less variety in the availability of vegetables (such as leafy greens). Salads and raitas are common accompaniments to main dishes. It also means a using a lot of yoghurt when cooking.
As we sweat our way through another sweltering Aussie summer (wouldn’t have it any other way!), we have put together some Indian-inspired dishes to help you to beat the heat down under.
Raita - A yoghurt dressing which accompanies rice dishes like pilaf and biryani. The tartness of the yoghurt always compliments rice-based dishes and also assists to temper down the spicy flavours. Click here for our base Raita recipe, which can be varied with a variety of crunchy vegetables.
Kulfi - I have always felt that Kulfi is a notch tastier and therefore more delightful than gelato. And that’s saying something, because I practically lived on gelatos when I went backpacking through Italy. Kulfi is Indian ice cream, and it is a perfect balance between the creamy and icy sensations. My favourite flavour is malai (cream) and I tasted the best malai kulfi when I travelled to Ujjain - a temple town in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. Click here if you would like the recipe for one of the all time classics - Pistachio Kulfi.
Lassi or Chaas - This is a yoghurt drink commonly consumed throughout India, especially during the summer. The most delicious lassi I have ever drank was in the holy town of Vrindavan, in Uttar Pradesh, a northern state of India. This region is renowned for its milk-based products and they have numerous shops selling lassi drinks adorned with nuts and dried fruits and served in earthen drinking pots . Click here to make your very own lassi - it is easier than you think! Our recipe has four variations, including salty, mango, rosewater and coconut with raspberry!
Falooda - A colourful dessert cum beverage akin to a thick-shake but filled with vermicelli, basil seeds, chunks of jelly, milk, rose syrup and of course, ice-cream all mixed together and served in a tall glass. If this mere description itself does not fill you up, then you can imagine what the real dessert will be like. Our falooda recipe will transform your kitchen into an old-school milkshake parlour complete with pretty waitresses on roller skates.
- Watermelon Rind Pancakes - We all love to sink our teeth into a nice bite of juicy watermelon, especially when the temperatures soar. But did you ever think that you would be putting the rind to good use as well? This recipe hails from the Konkan region of India (on the west coast) and makes for a great savoury summer snack.
We are all about keeping things cool here at No Worries Curries, so stay tuned for part two of our cooling Indian-inspired dishes series!