Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Cold Soups for Hot Days!

This year so far the hot season has been less hot than last year! Quite a relief! Currently, we are hovering around the 43C mark, albeit that the evening humidities are getting quite high. We’ve also had a number of magnificent thunder and lightning storms in the evenings. I am told this is more normal than last year which was very dry in the  hot season. These storms have resulted in some pleasantly cool nights – very nice for sleeping. Only on a couple of occasions has the nighttime temperatures not dropped below 30C.

We are also into the seasons for water melon (tåråbhujå) and mango (ambå) so inevitably milk shakes are the order for refreshment.   Now a watermelon is a bit daunting for one person, so it becomes a challenge to think of new ways to eat it  before it goes off.  So in addition to simple water melon, there is the aforementioned water melon milk shakes, and water melon juice, and spritzers, sadly non alcoholic – if I had rum there would be rum daiquiris!

Additionally, since I have a fridge with a small freezer compartment inside I have been making watermelon granita, and water melon ice sticks ( ice poles as we called them when I was a kid, or as the kids here call them szutsi or something that sounds like that). Actually freezing water melon chunks/slabs works quite well too and they are delightful to munch away on, very very cooling!

Then there is watermelon soup: yes, cold soups, they do exist! A great way to stay cool , keep up my fluid intake and satisfy my cravings for raw food. No one eats much in the way of raw vegetables here in India except with dåhi/curd and then it is usually just carrot (gajårå) and cucumber. Make sure all the ingredients are super fresh, and well washed, especially if you have a susceptible stomach. Here’s 2 wonderful cold soups to keep you cool on hot days!

Watermelon Soup

Ingredients: As usual with my recipes you will need to experiment with amounts to get it  to your own taste

watermelon (about twice as much as you have mangoes)

mangoes

I onion chopped

I green pepper chopped (actually I suspect a red pepper would work even better but I can’t get those here)

about 1 in ginger root chopped

several garlic cloves, crushed

salt to taste

Method:

Blend all ingredients together.

If you wish you can keep a small amount of the chopped ingredients to add in to the rest after they have been in the blender to give a bit more texture, but I don’t think this is really necessary.

Set aside in the fridge to chill. Serve cold.

Additions:

For those of you who like the taste of mint and can get it, a few leaves can be added to the mix.

 

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Ingredients:

1 cucumber about the length of your hand, chopped

1 green pepper chopped

1 green chilli chopped

I onion chopped

several garlic cloves, crushed

I cup of chicken stock (Tip:  if you are using stock cubes about half a cube should do it – you don’t want the chicken flavour to overpower the cucumber. You’ll need less stock if your cucumber produces a lot of liquid when blended))

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt to taste

Method:

Add stock, lemon juice and olive oil. Set aside.

Blend the rest of the ingredients.

Add stock mix, re-blend. (The thickness/chunkiness of the soup really is your choice – I like mine fairly liquid but still retaining a bit of crunch)

Set aside in the fridge to chill. Serve cold.

Additions:

Again if you have access to green herbs 1 or 3 leaves can be added to the mix eg lemon verbena, lemon mint would be nice

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