Officially, summer may be nearing its end (cue fits of grief), but the heat will remain, at least in its subdued form, until mid-Autumn (or later we hope). This means we still need to find ways to keep cool on both the inside and the outside.
We have put together another list of five Indian-inspired dishes and drinks which we know will cool you down during the heat! As expected, spices of some sort or the other are involved and you will be pleasantly surprised at how they not only add flavour, but also help to cool down your body.
Curd Rice - One of my favourite ways to enjoy rice is along with some plain dahi (curd). When I found out that a dish called curd rice existed in the southern parts of India and that already combined rice and curd in a more symphonic fashion that what I was used to, I knew it would become one of my go-tos when travelling. If you are hungry, but feeling too hot to eat (does this happen to anyone?), try making this with some leftover cooked rice and you will be satiated without breaking a sweat. Click here for the recipe (which also includes instructions on how to make traditional curd!).
- Jhaljeera - ‘Jhal’ means ‘water’ and ‘jeera’ means ‘cumin’, so this drink’s literal meaning is cumin water, though we like to employ the euphemism ‘Spicy Indian Lemonade’. This drink has a fresh spicy flavour, slightly sweet, salty and tangy all at once and helps to combat the nausea sometimes associated with prolonged high temperatures.
Kanji - This is a drink made from fermented vegetables and again, is tangy in flavour and assists digestion as well as keeps the body cool during the heat.
Thandai - This drink hails from the northern India and is especially popular in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. It is translated to mean ‘cold drink’ so you can be assured that it lives up to its name and sensation. During Holi (the festival of colours), it is served as a sweet energiser to those weary from the day’s play. More often than not during Holi, thandai is consumed with the addition of bhaang (powdered cannabis flowers and leaves). This does tend to intensify a celebration already renowned for its colour and fervour. I do recommend you try this without the bhaang first, so that you get the ‘authentic’ taste.
- Shrikhand - Another recipe with a curd base, but for the sweet-toothed souls out there. I remember when I first tasted Shrikhand, I was in Gujarat - a state famous for its milk-based products. I was only able to consume 2-3 tablespoons of this dessert, because it was so rich - dense thanks to the hung curd and sweet as a result of the sugar added. Perhaps this is why Shrikhand is enjoyed alongside hot puris (deep-fried flatbreads) which would be akin to eating icecream on plain toast, but far tastier. The combination of a generous dollop of thick, creamy and sweet yoghurt poised on top of hot, deep-fried bread is a match made in heaven. Enough said, time to get cooking!