As promised I’m back with more food recipes for the summer. Different seasons need different diets to maintain the body. Eating small healthy meals at regular intervals with healthy servings of fruit and vegetable salads are the best method as they keep the body cool and also strengthen the vitamin content. Fruits and veggies are rich in fibre and help you stay full longer and also burn off calories. Summer is not the time for unhealthy fats and simple carbs – Proteins are what keep you cool, giving a natural, healthy glow to your skin and hair.
“According to Ayurveda, cooling foods are not necessarily colder in temperature; rather, they have a cooling energy,”
While my summer drinks were specific to India, I thought I should expand the summer foods to around the world. That set me off on a journey of researching different foods that are special to summer. And what I found was a treasure trove of food and recipes from different countries. So here are some interesting recipes from some parts of the world.
Hiyashi Chuka is a Japanese dish with chilled ramen noodles and various colourful toppings, including strips of egg crepes, cucumber, ham, and imitation crab. Be creative and add your favorite toppings to this Hiyashi Chuka. If you are vegetarian, add your favourite veggies instead.
There are various views about the origins of this dish but it seems that Hiyashi chūka was invented in Chinese restaurants in Japan in the 1930’s. When the Second World War ended, Japan suffered from severe food shortages, but after this period Hiyashi chūka was passed to various areas of Japan. It is called by different names: Hiyashi chūka in the Kantō region and reimen in the Kansai region and other parts of western Japan.
Layered Baked Ratatouille
Layered baked ratatouille is an elegant and easy way to enjoy this classic French dish of zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes. Ratatouille is a French peasant dish that originated in south France, in the Provence region. The original ratatouille was a simple vegetable stew that farmer’s wives would make to use up their summer harvest. The word ratatouille comes from the French verb “touiller” meaning “to toss” or “stir up”. This refers to the original way of making the dish, in which all the vegetables were tossed or stirred together as they cooked.
Laohu Cai (Chinese Tiger Salad)
Tiger salad is a refreshing, crunchy Chinese salad that is simple to make and full of flavour, originating in the northern regions of China. In some places it is served as a side dish with heavy meat main dishes, while in other places it is more often found as a light appetizer enjoyed with drinks before the meal. The name of this salad laohu cai (or lao hu cai) literally translates to ‘tiger vegetable’.
The name comes from the way the different shades of green from the julienned ingredients are supposed to look like a tiger’s stripes.
Ensalada Rusa (Oliver Salad)
Ensalada Rusa is the Spanish name for a salad that is popular in many countries but is best known as Oliver Salad, or Russian Potato Salad. This well known potato salad is full of vegetables, like peas, carrots, onions, and more. There are so many variations, it’s no wonder everyone thinks this salad is the perfect summer side dish! Ensalada Rusa (literally “Russian salad”), not surprisingly, has its roots in Russia.
Russian Potato Salad, or Oliver Salad, has its roots in Moscow, Russia, with French-trained chef Lucien Oliver at the Hermitage Restaurant in the late 1800s.
It is thought that Oliver’s famous salad didn’t start off as so much of a mixed potato salad side dish like we know it today. Rather, it was meant as a chaser for vodka, and what made it extra special was that Oliver topped it with fancy and expensive ingredients (like caviar).
Unfortunately, Oliver took the recipe for his widely popular ‘salad’ to his grave. But that didn’t stop people from trying to create the “Oliver Salad” on their own.
Kimbap (Korean Sushi)
Kimbap (or gimbap) could be called Korean sushi, and if you are a fan of sushi, you are going to love the light and slightly nutty flavor of these rolls. They’re the perfect recipe for summer picnics and lunches! Kimbap (pronounced keem-bahp) is often called Korean sushi, because, you have to admit, it looks a lot like sushi. Gim (or kim) means ‘dried seaweed’ in Korean and bap or bop means ‘rice.’ So, your basics of both rolls are the same: dried seaweed, rice, and fillings. Koreans were introduced to sushi in 1910, when Japan annexed Korea. However after the end of WWII, Koreans took that sushi and made it their own kimbap.
Jansson’s temptation (Janssons frestelse)
A traditional Swedish casserole made of potatoes, onions, pickled sprats, bread crumbs and cream. The dish is also common in Finland where it is known as Janssoninkiusaus.
This creamy potato and fish gratin is called Janssons frestelse in Swedish, which means Jansson’s temptation (apostrophes don’t exist in Sweden). The origin of the dish is not entirely clear as there are are a couple of theories. One is that it was named for a food-loving opera singer Per Adolf “Pelle” Janzon (1844–1889), remembered as a gourmand.
Whatever the origin, it is clear that the recipe was first published in 1940 and quickly became established as a classic. (Ansjovis in Swedish means Sprats. Do not confuse it with anchovies, which are called sardeller.)
Gemista (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes)
Big juicy tomatoes are perfect for stuffing with this healthy, vegetarian mixture of rice and summer produce. Greek Gemista is a tasty summer dish that is great hot out of the oven or prepared ahead and eaten chilled. Gemista or yemista (pronounced yeh-mee-STAH) means “stuffed” in Greek. You will find tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and even potatoes hollowed out for filling in this traditional dish.
It is assumed that Gemista became popular in Greece after WW1, when it was introduced by the Greeks who escaped from Turkey after the Greek-Turkish War.
Malaysian Chicken Satay
Hand-held skewers of tender Malaysian Satay, served with a nutty Peanut Sauce bring an exotic flair to your summer BBQ. Satay is a dish of slightly confused origins. Is it Thai? Indonesian? Malaysian? Many countries in southeastern Asia claim it as their own. Despite the many claims, it is most commonly believed that it was in Java, Indonesia that satay developed from the Indian kebab, brought over by Muslim traders. Though even India cannot claim the origin as it has a legacy of Middle Eastern influence.
Tandoori Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Spicy Tandoori Chicken served on crispy lettuce and drizzled with cooling cucumber raita and crunchy red onions. In addition, this makes for a delightful and healthy summer snack option.
Tandoori chicken, a dish of roasted chicken marinated in yogurt and generously spiced, giving the meat its trademark red colour is named for the cylindrical clay oven in which it is cooked, a tandoor. The dish is attributed to Kundan Lal Gujral, a Hindu from Punjab who fled newly formed Pakistan after the 1947 partition of India and opened a restaurant in Delhi.
Tandoori chicken can be eaten as a starter or appetiser, or as a main course, It is also used as the base of numerous cream-based curries, such as butter chicken.
Gazpacho also called Andalusian gazpacho, is a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables that originated in the southern regions of the Iberian peninsula and spread into other areas. Gazpacho is widely eaten in Spain and Portugal, particularly during hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool. There are many theories as to the origin of gazpacho, including one that says it is a soup of bread, olive oil, water, vinegar and garlic that arrived in Spain with the Romans. Once in Spain, it became a part of southern cuisine, particularly in Córdoba, Seville or Granada Castilian kingdoms using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. During the 19th century, red gazpacho was created when tomatoes were added to the ingredients. This version spread internationally, and remains commonly known.
I have covered only a few countries here, there’s so many more delightful summer meals around the world.
I hope you have fun trying some of these recipes. I am off to the kitchen to experiment.
Do share pictures and recipes of foods you might find specific to summer any part of the world.
Recipes for all the dishes mentioned above are available in the attached document.
**If you know someone in your area, an elderly neighbour who can’t go out for groceries, or someone quarantined – cook a meal and leave it at their door.**
While we may not be able to go out and eat, we can stay home, stay safe and cook. 😃
“Eating healthy food fills your body with energy and nutrients.
Imagine your cells smiling back at you and saying: Thank You!!