Spices and Seasons – Making Spices Work When its hot, hot, hot…


Whole Spices
Just as many had predicted, this year the weather has sky-rocketed from cool, rainy days to super hot weather. I have received a couple of queries from my blog readers that ask me to talk about how Indian food can be made for summer. Well, there are kebabs and the possibilities of working with flavorful marinades are endless and you shall see many such options before the season is over. This post is really about looking beyond the obvious.

Well, as with everything else, there are no absolutes, however, this is where I say, we have to think past the tikka masala, unless of course you are game for this slow cooked version. Well, seriously speaking in my household this time of the year, stir fries rule, and how one fits these stir fries in depends on the menu. Along with simple stir fries, you have the lighter vegetable curries that can pair beautifully with grilled food or be enjoyed by themselves. Summer after all is the season of veggies. A lot of these simple options can be enjoyed at room temperature and travel well, making them great for a summer pot luck.

Spices actually offer a great way to add a touch of lightness to otherwise heavier options, and this is where I think seasonal cabbage fits in. Yes, the vegetable of the week in our house was red cabbage and stir fried beautifully with just the right touch of crunch and spices they will offer your traditional coleslaw a run for its money.

So, here is a stir-fried recipe that offers a lovely alternative to the coleslaw, the key to working with spices in summer is to see where you can use them to add perk and lightness to the food. This is where you will be happy and the food will be balanced.

Another way to add some spark to your summer palate is by mixing up flavors while grilling. Think of lighter citrus based marinades, with loads of ginger and fresh herbs, all readily available and depending on how you want to play around with your flavors you can find endless ways to liven your weekly grilling repertoire.  To refresh you memory, here was a salmon kebab that I had shared with you last year.

These flavors would work just as well with chicken and or tofu, depending on what your protein preference is. I have lately been trying out grilled fruit, and have so far been thrilled with the results of grilling peaches and pineapples.


About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, loves meshing seasonal produce with fresh spices. Most of her recipes are inspired by her Indian heritage, and her cooking is practical, easy and well suited for a busy lifestyle on the go. As a mother with two young children, her recipes are also usually balanced and kid-friendly. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences and original recipes. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks: The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook that highlights culture, memories and recipes from her childhood transformed where needed for her Lohud kitchen and Spices and Seasons that marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and is also a contributor for Zester Daily.

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