The heat is on. Finally.
And the amazing thing about heat is I happen to be from a place which specializes in summer recipes. You see, India has terrible summers. Terrible. Hot, humid, temperatures in excess of 120F. For almost three months. And nowhere is it more terrible than in the estern part. And that is where your's truly hails from :)
So naturally I got tons of recipes up my sleeve which is more than capable of beating the near enjoyable summer heat we have here. One very common thing used in Indian summer recipes is tons of fresh vegetables and yogurt. Both sort of cool you from inside. The veggies are mostly ligthly sauteed and then made into a soup like dish. This has a couple of advantages. One for the cook and one for the eater. The effective cooking time is reduced as these dishes double up as the veggie and the soup part. Lets call it a stoup. Thicker than a soup and thinner than a stew. I learnt this term from Rach ray. Love it. Oh sorry for getting so distracted :) The other advantage being for the eater. Such stoups are really light and hence great for the stomach. We also have a lot of fresh water fish. Sometimes simply added to the veggie stoup I was talking about. But generally a complete absence of meat. Lean or otherwise.
But one food disadvantage in such a weather condition is it severely limits the varaity of veggies available. Its almost limited to a few greens and eggplants. But here that's a different story. Summer is when varaity hits markets stands. The smell, the colors are just mind boggling.
So today's star are veggies from here and a recipe from there. That's lethal :) so once you master the technique, you just hit the veggie stand and go crazy. Its so good.
Any choice of summer veggies. I like a mixture of carrots, eggplants, some potato and bell peppers. But fennels etc will be great as well. One of each. Bite sized chopped up
1 tbsf whole cumin
1 tbsf whole mustard
1/2 tsp of grated ginger
1/2 tsp of turmeric.
1 bayleaf. Optional
1 cup of veg stock. Or you can simply use hot water.
1/2 cup yogurt. Optional
Salt and pepper for seasoning
3 tbsf oil.
Cilantro or parsley or chives or green onions for garnishing
All set...lets go get this one.
In a pot heat the 2 tbsf oil. Add all the veggie (save the bell peppers if you are using them). Saute for less than a min. Just make sure its all lightly oil coated. Take it out. You can also just grill your veggies or bake them at 450F for 10 mins. And return the pot to the fire :) such a cute thought :)
Anyway, add the remaining oil. Pop the cumin and mustard and the bay leaf and dump in all the veggies. This time around add the bell peppers too. Add the turmeric and ginger. Mix together everything. Season with salt. Add the stock/water. Cover and cook till veggies are tender. Stir in the yogurt. Its optional. So feel free to skip it if yogurt is not your thing. Check for seasoning. Add the pepper and some salt if you need. Garnish with the choice of your herb.
Have it nice and warm on your patio on a summer evening...those long lazy evening. Cools from inside and leaves you super refreshed. That's my promise.