Easy Recipes to Beat the Heat

As the scorching heat of Indian summers takes a toll on our bodies, with hot flushes, acidity, and general discomfort due to the blazing temperatures, it’s crucial to find ways to beat the heat and stay cool. One aspect that often gets affected is our dinner choices, as we crave light and refreshing meals that don’t require too much time in the kitchen. Here are five easy summer dinner recipes that you can whip up in no time:

Lemon Rice

A popular South Indian dish, lemon rice is a flavorful and tangy rice preparation that pairs well with yogurt, raita, or chutney. To make lemon rice, you will need coriander seeds, mustard seeds, vegetable oil, curry leaves, green chilies, ginger, peanuts, lemon, and rice. Heat some oil in a pan and add the seeds, chilies, ginger, and peanuts. Let them cook for a while, and then add the rice and give it a good mix. Your refreshing lemon rice is ready in no time. Here’s a recipe for lemon rice:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • Few curries leave
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 1 small piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Cook rice as per package instructions and keep it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add coriander seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chilies, grated ginger, and peanuts.
  3. Let them cook for a few minutes until the peanuts are slightly golden.
  4. Add the cooked rice, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Mix well.
  5. Serve hot with yogurt, raita, or chutney.

Curd Rice

Another popular South Indian dish, curd rice is a comforting and cooling option for summer dinners. All you need is vegetable oil, chilies, mustard seeds, curd, and rice. Heat some oil in a pan and add the chilies and mustard seeds. Once they splutter, mix them with curd and rice, and let the rice cool down for some time. Your simple and delicious curd rice is ready. Here’s a recipe for curd rice:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 cup curd
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Cook rice as per package instructions and keep it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add green chilies and mustard seeds.
  3. Once the seeds splutter, add the cooked rice and curd. Mix well.
  4. Add salt to taste and let the rice cool down for some time.
  5. Serve chilled as a refreshing summer dinner option.

Aamras and Roti

Aamras, a popular Indian summer delight, is loved by households all over the country. It’s cooling and refreshing taste glides through your mouth, providing a revitalizing sensation. When paired with soft roti, it becomes a simple yet satisfying dinner option that can help you beat the summer heat in no time. For a recipe for aamras, click here and experience the most refreshing taste of summer.

Ingredients

  • Ripe mangoes – 2
  • Sugar – 2-3 tablespoons (adjust to taste)
  • Cardamom powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Chilled water – 1/4 cup
  • Roti (Indian flatbread) – as needed

Method

  1. Peel and chop the ripe mangoes. Discard the pit and place the mango pieces in a blender or food processor.
  2. Add sugar, cardamom powder, and chilled water to the blender with the mangoes.
  3. Blend everything together until you get a smooth puree.
  4. Taste and adjust the sweetness as needed by adding more sugar if desired.
  5. Chill the aamras in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve chilled aamras with hot rotis for a refreshing and delicious summer meal.

Cold Salads

Salads are versatile and perfect for summer. You can choose from a wide variety of vegetables or fruits and pair them with nuts or protein for a healthy and satisfying meal. The lightness of the vegetables in the salad may not make you feel acidic, making it an ideal option for a light summer dinner. To enhance the taste of the salads, you can prepare a dressing with herbs, spices, fruit zest, or even honey, adding a burst of flavor to your refreshing salad.

Ingredients

  • Mixed salad greens – 4 cups
  • Assorted vegetables and fruits (such as cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, etc.) – chopped or sliced as desired
  • Nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts) – 1/2 cup
  • Protein (such as grilled chicken, boiled eggs, or tofu) – optional
  • Fresh herbs (such as basil, cilantro, or mint) – for garnish

Dressing

  • Olive oil – 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons
  • Honey – 1 tablespoon
  • Dijon mustard – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper – to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the mixed salad greens and place them in a large salad bowl.
  2. Add the assorted vegetables, fruits, nuts, and protein (if using) to the bowl with the salad greens.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss everything together gently to coat the salad with the dressing.
  5. Garnish the salad with fresh herbs and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve the cold salad as a refreshing and healthy side dish or a light meal during summer.

Shrikhand and Puri

Shrikhand, a classic and delightful Indian yogurt sweet, is immensely popular throughout India, especially in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Made with hung and strained curd flavored with saffron and cardamom, it has a rich and dense texture that instantly refreshes you during summer. With the growing popularity of Shrikhand, you can now find a variety of flavors ranging from chocolate to badam pista. Indulge in the heavenly taste of Shrikhand by pairing it with crispy puris, and let the sweet delicacy melt in your mouth, leaving a lingering aftertaste. Check out the recipe of Shrikhand here and experience the ultimate summer dessert.

Ingredients

  • Hung curd (strained yogurt) – 2 cups
  • Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup (adjust to taste)
  • Saffron strands – a pinch
  • Cardamom powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Chopped nuts (such as almonds, pistachios, or cashews) – 1/4 cup
  • Puri (deep-fried Indian bread) – as needed

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the hung curd, powdered sugar, saffron strands, and cardamom powder.
  2. Mix everything together until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add the chopped nuts to the shrikhand and mix gently.
  4. Chill the shrikhand in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
  5. Serve the chilled shrikhand with hot and crispy puris for a delectable summer dessert or snack.