29 May 2017 | Last updated 02:31 PM

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Eat right, eat light
Anjali Jhangiani | Friday, 19 May 2017 AT 08:27 AM IST
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We speak to chefs from popular restaurants in the city to find out the challenges they face dealing with the hot season and what people can eat when they go out for a meal when temperatures are high.

Steamed, grilled or boiled  

Come summer, you have to keep an extra cautious eye on your kitchen,” says Gulshan Kumar, executive chef, The Orchid Hotel, Balewadi. He checks the temperature of the fridge regularly because the chances of bacteria forming is quite high during this season.

“In winter, we can make different varieties of gravy and store it up to two days, but during summer we have to make fresh gravy  in small quantities everyday,” says Kumar, who insists that people eating out must include a variety of steamed or boiled vegetables in their meal. He informs that it is also important to consume summer fruits such as pineapple, mango and watermelon because they keep you from getting dehydrated. “Include a mocktail like an Alphonso Punch or a Mango-Kiwi Duo, or a Fresh Mango Lime Soda in your meal,” he says.

Though it is ideal to keep your meal light with steamed or boiled vegetables, Kumar says hardcore non-vegetarians should also stick to grilled, steamed or boiled options when ordering their meat-based dish.

Given a choice, Kumar would order Grilled Lime Salmon with Mango and Avocado Salsa or Grilled Pomfret with Mango Basil Sauce to be served with a portion of Coconut Rice along with a side salad made with grilled pineapple, zucchini, broccoli and cherry tomatoes.

“Cilantro Lime Chicken or Shredded Boiled Chicken with some salsa makes for a fantastic meal too. We also noticed that people prefer having light and steamed Momos during summer. So, earlier this week, we made a new type of dumpling called Mango Chicken Siu Mai and we got rave reviews from our guests,” says Kumar, who believes that Mughlai preparations are heavy and should be avoided during this hot weather. “You shouldn’t eat what is available, but what you find fresh and suitable. So instead of the regular Mughlai preparation, we have come up with a lighter alternative with Green Mango Murgh Tikka, which is a combination of mint, raw mango, hung curd, spinach and a hint of tandoori spices for a mild flavour,” says Kumar, adding that if you’re cooking meat at home, use green chillies instead of the red variety.

Customise your food

Subhash Gawade, executive chef, Bhairavee Pure Veg Restaurant, Baner, believes that summer brings with it challenges for both chefs and the restaurant staff. “When a guest walks in to the restaurant, especially during a afternoon, they are flustered with the heat outside and take some time to cool down and think about what they want to order. The captains make them comfortable with a glass of water or a refreshing beverage and then find out what they want to eat and tell them that whatever they order can be customised according to their preferences,” says Gawade as he continues, “When we get the order in the kitchen, we make it according to what the guest wants —like less spicy, less oil, etc.”

He says that while cooking in general, he tells his staff to cut back on the use of garam masala (a mixture of cardamom, clove, and other heaty spices) and powered red chilli.

He claims that the best thing to eat during summer is Dal Kadhi with Steamed Rice. But if you fancy a full-fledged three-course meal, Gawade says, “I would suggest that before anything else, you order a glass of buttermilk. This can be followed with a portion of a light non-spicy Lemon Coriander Soup or Brocolli Cottage Soup or the all-time-favourite — Tomato Shorba.”

He feels that even if you don’t have the option of a cold soup, you must start your meal with a portion of hot soup which isn’t spicy.

“Next on my table, I would like a serving of Watermelon and Mint Salad, which would keep me cool and give me the energy I need for the day. Chances are that you might feel full with the salad, but if you aren’t, you can opt for a starter from our Tandoor section. I would prefer a mushroom starter. For main course, I would suggest a mild paneer preparation.”

Bhairavee has more than 300 dishes and keeps coming up with new ones by making slight changes to the dishes they have at present.

“You can select what you prefer and customise it according to your taste. The best meal on a hot day is the simple and humble Dal-Chawal. You can finish off your meal with a generous portion of ice-cream,” says Gawade.

Follow the writer on Twitter @purplesaga

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