The season of the strong, hot, scorching sun is upon us again, and while in some parts of the world it might be a relief, for others it is a season of health issues due to high dehydrating factors in the environment. Luckily, in the Indian subcontinent, our ancestors had discovered important uses of certain vegetables that can help our body fight the long and hard summer.
A staple food item on the Indian palate is the age-old lentil soup. Easy to prepare, needs very less ingredients, and easier to digest when compared to other protein-based dishes, this dish has always been a hit in any kind of Indian household. But what makes a common lentil soup ready to fight the sultry summer? Here are a few quick tips that would make this soup a hit at a summer lunch table, and also provide a welcome change to your taste buds.
Addition I: Bottle Gourd
Also called lauki in Hindi, this vegetable is an excellent coolant, and is known to significantly lower the body temperature. Of course, you can make a standard stir-fry vegetable dish out of this item, but to make your life simpler in a hot day’s cooking, you may simply chop out a few big chunks of this highly nutritious vegetable, and add the pieces into your lentil soup while it is being cooked. It specifically adds an extra juicy flavor to the dish, and you don’t need an additional vegetable based item to balance your meal!
Addition II: Raw Mango
This additive is an absolute favorite in the summer season in India. Widely sold during this season, raw mango (also called kairi in some Indian languages) is a sour tasting fruit that adds a special tangy flavor to your lentil soup. For a finger-licking dish, cook a few pieces of a raw mango separately, and add to cooked lentil as a final touch. Be careful about the amount of raw mango you use, as people have different levels of tolerance for sour dishes. The sour element in this fruit is what keeps you going on a humid day.
Addition III: Tomatoes
Sound awfully simple, doesn’t it? Prepare a lentil soup that is lighter in texture, that is, has more water than others, add a good number of tomatoes (usually 5-6 large tomatoes for 1 cup of uncooked lentil), and the end result is a pinkish looking dish that is unbelievably simple to make, highly nutritious, and very light on your digestive system. If the tomatoes are a bit sour, then this particular property helps your body fight against the mad summer sun as well.
So there you go! These are three extremely simple, widely available vegetables that when added to your regular diet, gives your body that extra hydration it needs in order to simply walk out into the sun, and smile lovingly at it.
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