Wednesday, July 06
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Summer coolers add zing to Indian dinners

14 Jun 2022 summer coolers1

Make your summer meals a little more interesting by adding cool accompaniments that bring in a wave of refreshment to your dinner table. Here are a few popular summer coolers that go well with Indian dinners:

Sol Kadhi

Ingredients

10 pods of dried kokum (black Malabar tamarind)

2 cups thick coconut milk

1 green chilli

2 cloves garlic

2tbsp coriander leaves

½tsp cumin seeds – slightly roasted

Salt, to taste

Mint leaves – for garnish

Method

Soak kokum pods in 1cup warm water for 30 minutes. Squeeze the pods to extract the juices and strain out the clear red juice. Set aside. In a mortar and pestle, smash together the green chilli, cumin seeds, garlic cloves, coriander leaves and salt.

In a large bowl, add the coconut milk, kokum concentrate, crushed garlic and chilli spice paste and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Add two cups water and mix well. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes and serve garnished with mint leaves or chopped coriander. This is one of the best summer coolers that goes well with seafood.

Neer Mor

Ingredients

2 cups curds

3 cups water

½tsp mustard seeds

A pinch of asafoetida

1 green chilli – chopped

1tsp grated ginger

A sprig of curry leaves

1tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

Salt, to taste

1tsp oil

Method

Take the curd in a big bowl and whisk it well till there are no lumps. Add water and again whisk it for around 2-3 minutes to get a thin, frothy consistency. You could use a blender to blend the curd and water at low speed. For tempering, heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and asafoetida.

When mustard seeds splutter, add chopped green chilli, curry leaves and grated ginger. Saute for a few seconds, remove from heat, and add this tempering to the prepared buttermilk. Stir well, add salt to taste and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. This summer cooler can be enjoyed all day long to replace water.

Dahi Kadhi

Ingredients

2 cups yoghurt

½ cup gram flour

5-6 curry leaves

1 pinch asafoetida

1tsp mustard seeds

Salt, to taste

2tsp refined oil

½tsp turmeric powder

1tsp cumin seeds

½tsp red chilli powder

1tsp julienned ginger

2 green chillies – slit

1tsp sugar

Method

First, blend together curds, gram flour, turmeric and red chilli powder in a bowl. Then add 2 cups of water, little by little, and mix well to form a thin flowing mixture. Heat a curry pot, add the curd mixture along with turmeric and red chilli powder, and cook on medium-low flame, stirring continuously till the mixture boils – 5 minutes. Add the green chillies, reduce heat, and simmer on low flame – 10 minutes.

Now, prepare the tempering. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chilli, asafoetida, ginger, dry red chilli, mustard seeds and saute till they splutter. Pour the tempering over the simmering Kadhi. Switch off heat. Transfer it to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve warm. This summer cooler serves well as a curry with rice.

Thandai

Ingredients

10-12 whole almonds

10-12 whole cashew nuts

25-30 black peppercorns

10-12 whole raisins

10-12 whole green cardamoms

1tsp fennel seeds

1tsp melon seeds

Few strands of saffron

4 cups whole milk

¼ cup granulated sugar

1tsp rose water

1tsp dried rose petals – for garnish

2tsp slivered almonds/pistachios – for garnish

Method

Add almonds, cashew nuts, black peppercorns, raisins, green cardamoms, fennel seeds, melon seeds, and saffron to a medium mixing bowl. Add ½ cup water to the bowl and keep it over the counter for 5-6 hours or overnight.

Add the soaked ingredients to a blender along with the water and blend to make a fine paste. Add 2-3tbsp of milk if required while blending. Scrape the sides of the blender a few times while blending to get a smooth consistency without any crumbs. Set the paste aside.

Heat milk in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. When the milk comes to a boil, stir in the paste along with sugar and rose water.

Cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove the pan from heat and let the mixture cool down for 10 minutes. Refrigerate the milk mixture for 3-4 hours for the flavours to meld. Now pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and discard any leftover pulp.

Pour the Thandai into serving glasses. Garnish with rose petals and slivered dried nuts. Serve chilled. You can also add ice cubes, if required. This is one of the most popular summer coolers that can be enjoyed with or without meals.

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