Bored with summer veggies already? Vasundhara Chauhan
suggests some yummy, healthy, cooling alternatives
Summer's just getting into full swing, it even rains occasionally so the temperature is still bearable, but the ennui of kaddu, ghiya and tori has begun. This is the trouble with getting fed up with winter vegetables by February and starting on early summer vegetables from then on. Partly it's the ingredients, but there's little one can do about them. For the most part, though, it's what we do with the ingredients. If it's mutton or chicken, same old pyaz, lahsun, adrak? If vegetables, same old haldi, zeera, dhania? If it's soup, same old tomato, chicken, corn? And, worse still, everything hot, steaming, sizzling hot?
I find that building a menu around varied colours, textures and temperatures helps hugely. Fortunately we're flooded with bright red strawberries, dark green beans and cool, green cucumbers. Meat is always welcome. But much more so if made a little differently.z
The green bean salad with yoghurt dressing is cold and crisp - steam the beans just al dente and, when they're cool, spoon the yoghurt dressing on top. The piquancy of mustard and paprika rescue it from the blandness of mere "healthy" cooking and quantities get consumed.
Soup, we all know, is packed with good things. But the prospect of steaming bowls of nutritiousness is not particularly attractive in summer. So a cold soup, with the added coolness of mint, is ideal. The shops are full of cucumbers and their very flavour lightens the spirit. And this soup is not even cooked; just assembled after the ingredients have been cut and chopped.
Strawberries have so much going for them - intense colour, taste and flavour, crunchy texture - that the best way to serve them is just straight, with cream and powdered sugar on the side. But when you need a long cooling drink and don't want the same lassi programme, a strawberry drink is perfect: it displays all these attributes, looks pretty, and cools you down.
Quiche, from the German Kuchen (meaning cake), is basically an open tart traditionally filled with a mixture of beaten eggs, cream and bacon. Quiche Lorraine was not very popular in English speaking countries until quite recently because, despite the bacon, it was considered almost "vegetarian": therefore not fit for "he men".
Now there are innumerable variations: cheese, onion, mushrooms, seafood, chicken, even corn or spinach. So the name is, correctly, just quiche, no Lorraine. And the casing, which used to be made from bread dough, now has short-crust or puff pastry. But the problem with short-crust pastry in hot weather is that the texture becomes tough rather than tender and fragile. Because the butter melts when being incorporated in the flour - instead of staying cold and separate. The solution, then, is to make a quiche without a crust.
The writer is a food writer based in New Delhi, India.
200g strawberries n Sugar syrup (quanti
depending on tartness of strawberries) n 1 tsp lemon juice n 500 ml club soda
Wash and hull strawberries. Chop roughly and place in blender. Add sugar syrup and lemon juice and puree until smooth. Pour in club soda and pulse briefly, just to combine. Serve over ice in a tall glass.
* The strawberry puree (without the soda) can be frozen in an ice tray. When it freezes, take out "ice cubes" and store in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to a few weeks.
COLD CUCUMBER SOUP WITH MINT
n 1 hard-boiled egg yolk n 1 tbsp rice vinegar
n 1/2 cup chilled sour cream n 500 g cucumber,
peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces n 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, washed and
spun dry n 1/2 cup chilled dahi (yoghurt)
n 1 cup cold water n Salt
In a bowl mash together yolk and vinegar with a fork to form a smooth paste. Stir in sour cream until smooth. Puree cucumber and mint with dahi, water and salt until smooth in a blender. Pour puree into sour cream mixture in a steady stream, whisking all the while. Chill and serve.
* Remove seeds from cucumber: with a sharp knife, cut out inner part after cucumber has been halved
* Rinse soup bowls with very cold water and drain before pouring in soup
* Substitute rice wine vinegar with lemon juice if necessary
GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH YOGHURT DRESSING
500g green beans (french or butter beans)
1 egg yolk n 1/4 tsp salt n 1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp paprika n 3/4 cup dahi n 1 tbsp lemon juice
Top and tail beans; cut into 2-inch pieces. Blanch for 20 seconds. Refresh in cold running water. Drain and refrigerate until cold. Meanwhile, make dressing in small bowl: with a fork, beat together egg yolk, salt, mustard, and paprika until fluffy. Gradually beat in yoghurt and lemon juice. Refrigerate.
To serve, spoon dressing over chilled beans.
* The dahi (yoghurt) should be firm. If it seems to be a bit runny, hang it in a square of muslin for 15 minutes. Take care not to remove too much water; the consistency should be creamy.
* The egg adds texture and flavour, but can be skipped
11/2 tbsp fine dry plain bread crumbs
1 cup chopped onions n 1 cup diced cooked chicken n 1 tbsp butter n 2 cups grated Swiss cheese n 5 eggs n 1 cup heavy cream n 1 cup milk n Pepper
Preheat oven to 425*F (220* C) with rack in middle. Butter 10-inch quiche dish or glass pie plate, then sprinkle all over with bread crumbs. Cook onions with chicken in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 5 minutes. Spread in dish, then evenly sprinkle cheese on top. Whisk together eggs, cream, milk, and pepper and pour over cheese. Bake until top is golden and custard is set in centre, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting into wedges.
* Use processed Cheddar cheese if Swiss is hard to find
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
NEW DELHI: Parliamentarians from Pakistan and India met here on August 23-24 in their fourth round of the India-Pakistan Parliament .....more
Page 35 of 175
The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw