Do you dread cooking during the blistering heat of Indian summers? We’ve put together some suggestions to make cooking during the hot summer months more bearable…

Come summer and we all dread the thought of going into the kitchen and cooking! The heat, the grime, the sweating…they are all guaranteed to make us tired and irritable. Then there’s the problem of the heat zapping our appetites. Well, here are some tips to make cooking during summer months more endurable.

  • Cook during the early mornings or late evenings. At these times, the heat is a tad more bearable and once you finish your cooking, you can have a long shower to cool down. I’ve found that this works best for me.
  • Air-condition your kitchen. Then you can cook at any time you want without worrying about the heat.
  • If investing in an AC is not possible, get a fan for the kitchen. While using it during cooking is impractical, you can at least have it running while you are chopping, cutting, grinding and preparing, and also when you are putting the finishing touches to your cooking.
  • Invest in a freezer. This way, you could cook once or twice a week and make large quantities and freeze them. Take out what you need and microwave it. Your time spent in the kitchen is considerably reduced. However, do keep in mind the fact that summer is when power cuts are at their peak. If you live in an area where there are frequent power cuts for long hours, this is not a practical solution as the food could get spoiled.
  • Keep the menu simple – for instance stew and idiappams, curd rice and pickle, a biryani and raitha, roti and subzi, dal, rice and a vegetable.
  • Alternatively, go in for-one pot meals or casseroles. For example, a khichdi can pack in all the nutrients required and serve as a healthy one-pot meal. It’s so easy to make too – cook dal and rice, throw in veggies and serve with curd and a pickle. Yummy and healthy. Or make soups with vegetables or stews with a healthy mix of meat and veggies. One-pot meals are easy to make and are tasty and nutritious.
  • Avoid using the oven as it generates heat and can really make your kitchen hot. Use the pressure cooker to cut down on cooking time. Alternatively, use the microwave since it does not heat the kitchen the way an oven does.
  • Cut down on the spices; they only make you hot and sweaty.
  • Make plenty of salads and raithas with fresh vegetables. They are healthy and tasty, they are easy to make and are cooling during the scorching summers.
  • Buy plenty of fruit and have a medley of fruits for breakfast. Or whip up the fruit in your mixer for yummy, healthy fruit smoothies.
  • Set plenty of curd. Nothing like curd during the hot summer months. You can always use the curd for refreshing curd rice, buttermilk, raitha or
  • Go easy on coffee and tea; instead, drink fresh fruit juices, fruit milkshakes or lassis, These are healthy and refreshing alternatives to serve guests too.
  • If you are entertaining, forget about baking cakes or making fancy puddings for dessert. Just buy ice cream and serve. It saves you the hassle of slaving in the kitchen on hot days; not only that, your guests too would appreciate chilled ice cream to beat the heat. You could also serve up fresh fruit like mango with whipped cream. Easy, tasty and no-fuss!
  • I find that playing some of my favorite music while cooking during summer helps distract me from the heat. Oftentimes, one is forced to cook in the afternoon. Then some peppy music helps me enjoy the tedious process!