Free Press Journal

This summer, savour food with a tasteful twist


Summer becomes more fun with some special fruits, veggies and dishes. Sapna Sarfare finds out a way to make the ordinary, extraordinary with a dash of lip-smacking makeover

Summer brings in the heat and everyone looks at the chance to stay cool and eat light. Of course, seasonal veggies, fruits and food items make summers more bearable. How about giving these veggies, fruits and food items a twist to make summers extra special?

Summer foods revealed

Chef Rana Dominic Gomes, Executive Chef, Hotel Royal Orchid Bangalore, feels India is blessed with the best of fruits and veggies. “Most have special values during summer. Bitter Gourd helps control hypertension & diabetes and cleanses blood. Snake Gourd cools the body, while cooling pumpkin improves digestion and heals the system. Bottle Gourd helps deal with heat due to its water content and solves summer stomach problems. Amongst fruits, watermelon is great in preventing summer damage, while vitamin c in oranges helps refill potassium lost through sweat. Lychee is filled with vitamins, protein, citric acid, fat, iron and phosphorus. Guava is also beneficial to beat dehydration while king of fruits mango is best thanks to its selenium and iron content.”

Chef Joy Dey,  Executive Sous Chef from Double Tree by Hilton Pune – Chinchwad narrates, “During summers, vegetables like cucumber, kidney beans, broccoli, amaranth leaves, pumpkin, and eggplant are found and best in this season as they have higher water content and have more micro nutrients in them. The same goes with the seasonal fruits like berries, tomato, peaches, cherries and muskmelon. These days, technology is available to grow any vegetable in any season. Though it is advantageous to have all vegetables available in all seasons, seasonal fruit & vegetables are healthy to use.”

Chef Master Chef Navtej Sawhney, owner of the acclaimed eatery Arthur’s Theme – Balewadi High Street, Pune, tells, “Who says summers cannot be interesting!! The only thing you need to care about is your selection of what you eat and keep yourself hydrated. There are plenty of fruits, food items and veggies in summer that are healthy and nutritious, such as almonds, spinach and cheese.”

Also Read: Home grown food enterprise takes the cue!

Just for summers

While certain dishes are summer specific, Chef Dey thinks they depend on individual tastes. “Some people like exotic items whereas some prefer it local. Some like a mix of both. There is a lot of scope for experimenting with all the fruits and vegetables available.”

Chef Navtej suggest some interesting food items to beat the summer heat like fruit and veggies salads or just fruits salad, curd-based dips and smoothies from fresh veggies and fruits. Chef Rana reveals, “You find vegetables dishes like Karele Ki Bhaji, Karele Dolma or Bharwan Karele, Lauki Tamatar Ke Kut, Lauki Channa Dal, Erissery (a sweet pumpkin dish from Kerala) and Padavalakai Gojju – a dish from Karnataka. You then have things like Mango Curry, Mango Pickle, Mango Lassi, Aam Panna, etc. One can eat Watermelon & Feta Salad, Guava Chutney, Tandoori Amrudh, etc.”

Twist to the taste

Of course, one needs to add a twist to make these specials interesting. Chef Navtej thinks cold soups with a twist are perfect anytime with the weather. “To give twists, prepare cold soups as it goes perfectly with the weather and can be had at any time of the day. Chilled Beetroot Soup and Lemon Coriander Soup are some options. Add cheese to salads like feta. You can use mint leaves in cool drinks and cold salads as it is great appetizer and promotes digestion.”

Chef Rana suggests, “If you don’t like bitter gourd for its taste but want it for its values, make a nice Meat of Prawn Dolma by stuffing minced meat or prawn with coconut milk and spices. Then Mango & Tender Coconut Frozen Drink with a hint of Mint is another option.”

Chef Dey thinks adding salt, chillies, lemon & sugar can add an interesting taste to salads and fruit bowls. “For example, fruits like watermelon can be consumed best with black salt, raw mangoes with chillies, jackfruit with lemon, and kokum with sugar. Even by combining the 2-3 fruits & ingredients together makes the dish tastier. These dishes when combined can be really a healthy summer recipe like raw mangoes with kokum sherbet, jackfruit with mango salad, etc.”

Better safe than sorry

It is always better to be careful while giving these foods a twist. Chef Rana reveals, “Do not try to experiment with something new. Do your research on our Indian traditional recipes, and give modern touch to it. The right combo of ingredients always works, but try not of add over powering spices. Keep the dishes simple and true to its nature.”

Chef Dey suggests everyone to consume cooked or heated veggies quickly as summer heat can spoil them faster. “After cooking, cool them down fast and then store in the freezers to avoid spoilage. Cooked & uncooked fruits & veggies should have the same temperature when they mix together to avoid spoiling of taste. Some veggies & fruits have great source of nutrients & fibres and have high water content. For a healthy lifestyle, they should be eaten at cool or room temperature.”

Lastly, Chef Navtej suggests, “The only thing to be taken care of is to ensure food/fruits selection is not heavy to stomach. Keep the food as simple as possible and avoid deep frying.”

Chilling out in summers get a new foodie meaning here.

Kacha Pakka Aam PannaW_end_Apr9_food kacha pakka aam panna


500 gms Raw Mango

250 gms Jaggery

1 tsp Black Salt

1 tsp Bhuna Jeera

50 gms Mint, chopped

100 ml Ripe Mango Pulp

Ice Cubes, as desired


Roast or boil the raw mango for about 30 mins till they become soft. Extract the pulp and add grated Jaggery, chopped mint, roasted cumin powder and black salt. Blend everything in a mixer till it’s a smooth paste. Add ice cubes. Squeeze the ripe pulp and add the juice in the bottom. Then add cubes of ice and pour the raw mango panna.  Garnish with lemon slice & mint and serve.

  • Recipe by Chef Rana Dominic Gomes


Mango Jujube with Caramelized SugarW_end_Apr9_food Mango Jujube


15 gms Mango Pulp

30 gms Sugar

30 ml Water

10 gms Gelatine

10 gms Castor Sugar


Warm the mixture of mango pulp, sugar and water. Then stir the gelatine till it’s not dissolved. Pour the mixture in the mould to get the required shape and de-mould the jujube. Once you get the required shape, coat it with caster sugar.

  • Recipe by Chef Joy Dey


George (Aubergine Moussaka)W_end_Apr9_food George


100 gms Sliced Aubergine

20 gms Diced Zucchini

20 gms Diced Bell Peppers

20 gms Diced Carrot

20 gms Diced Baby Corn

20 gms Diced Onions

1 tsp Garlic Paste

½ tsp Mixed Herbs

30 ml Fresh Cream

30 gms Cheddar Cheese

50 ml Tomato Concasse

Saffron, a few strands

Olive Oil, for sauté

Salt & Pepper, to taste


Wash and slice the aubergine. Sauté in oil till its golden brown. Keep aside. Sauté the zucchini, carrot, baby corn and onions in garlic and olive oil. Add the herbs, cream, salt and pepper. Add the concasse and cook till vegetables are done, add the saffron. Keep aside

For plating, place a slice of aubergine then layer with vegetable mixture, top with a slice of aubergine, repeat the process till 3 distinguish layers are seen. Top with cheese and oven bake. Serve hot drilled with concasse sauce and pesto sauce

  • Recipe by Chef Master Chef Navtej Sawhney