Word of caution before rains whet your appetite

Word of caution before rains whet your appetite
By Anuradha Sawhney Jun 09 2016
Tags: The Monsoon Magic, Foods and Drinks
Word of caution before rains whet your appetite
Hooray! The monsoon is around the corner, finally! Maybe the farmers around the country will be able to get a good harvest, and the groundwater, which has been badly depleted by industries, will be replenished. The looming water crisis will, thus, abate for a little more time. Let’s hope acche din aa gaye hai, anyway.


Rainy season is the time of the year when everything gets rejuvenated, including our spirits. Perhaps, the best thing one can think of when it is pouring outside, is to enjoy a cup of hot tea and freshly fried pakodas.

However, be careful. Pakodas, or anything deep-fried, can potentially decrease the digestive efficiency of the body and, hence, must be avoided. Heavy oils (extracted from mustard, peanut or sesame seed) used for frying increase pitta (a body element according to ayurveda), and moisturise and oil the internal digestive system, therefore inviting infection. Light oils like rice bran oil and olive oil are better substitutes.In monsoon, we also need to be extra-careful about the water we drink. A study by Christina Tang on river water collected during the monsoon in Kerala found that the samples contained 1,600 E coli bacteria per 100 ml of water on an average, far exceeding the WHO standards on drinking water, which call for zero E coli per 100ml. If this nonpotable water is used to wash utensils, it could enter our bodies through these utensils.

Anushree Sahai, a food specialist, says, “While cooking, wash all leafy vegetables and cauliflower carefully, as these can often contain worms and dirt from the streets. Have fresh, well-cleaned and steamed foods during the rainy season.”

During monsoon, viruses cause infection, cold and flu. So, eat lots of food with vitamin C to build your immunity. Infections like cold and swine flu, among others, spread through unclean hands, so use a proper hand sanitizer. Drink lots of hot soup, full of as many vegetables as you like.

Besides the soup recipe explained in the box, here is another one by Suchitra Pillai, theatre artist, actor, singer and VJ.

Take a carrot, a handful of french beans, three to four garlic cloves, one green chilli, one teaspoon sesame oil, one cup fresh corn kernels, straight off the cob if possible, three to four cups of vegetable stock, and salt and pepper to taste.

Chop the carrot and beans. Crush the garlic and chop the chilli fine. Heat some oil and sauté the carrot, green chilli and garlic. Add the beans and corns and sauté for another minute. Add some water and boil till the vegetables are tender. Cool then grind to a purée. Return the purée to the pan, add the hot vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Garnish with coriander leaf sprigs.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


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