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Cuisine that keeps you cool

Chef Aamer Jamal   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

Summer is the season that needs no special mention of how hot and annoying it gets. There’s an urge to drink more and eat less, but a nutritious balanced diet with vegetables, fruits and pulses go hand in hand in keeping us relaxed, controlling the body temperature and soothing the tired body which is sapped of energy. To make things easy, it is advised to eat things that digest quickly and doesn’t let the body utilise too much energy. Chef Aamer Jamal of Kebabs and Kurries at ITC Kakatiya is like a living encyclopaedia of cooking with the thinking cap on. He calls summer food as Hadaya-El-Seyf, gifts of nature and emphasises the need to treat one’s body in a way that can keep one relaxed. While doing so, he first chose to bust some myths; contrary to common belief, he says, mutton is ‘cooling’ than its other white meat counterpart — chicken.

Further he says, “What makes goat-mutton hot or heat inducing is how it is prepared. Look around. There has to be a reason why tender tamarind leaves and red-stemmed sorrel (gongura) are found in abundance now. Besides being the flowering seasons, it is nature’s gift and a way to recommend what should go into our diet.”

Hyderabadi cuisine is famous for its biryani and haleems but very few know that this is also the place where a lot of recipe exchange happened before Hyderabad came to its current state. “The Persian influence, the Mughal and then our own influence from the Nizam. The reason why we mostly use groundnut oil is because Nizam ‘sarkar’ had huge groundnut crops out of which oil was produced. And groundnut was a chief crop because our soil and temperature is conducive for a good crop,” adds Jamal.

Chef Jamal has a point to explain as he opens his special menu for summer. He clarifies that the red stemmed gongura is the ripe one and is best to be consumed to soothe the natural body temperature. He recommends the use of all natural souring agents during this season. “Add it to your meat, your pulses and even to your prawns. The caloric count of prawns is brought down by natural souring agents like gongura. Another recommendation for summer is ‘Begumati’, the food cooked by the begums or queens, which ought to be more simple and cooked to meet personal tastes. The other food is ‘Mehelati’, meaning cooked by royal chefs and that is recommended during winter months because of the use of dry spices.

Chef also recommends the use of deccani saag dish that’s easy to digest and the dalcha with bottle gourd. “Mint isn’t used for nothing in warm places. It has many properties and one of them is to cool the body besides fighting infections. Raw mango based preparation were recommended by our ancestors because it has the property to pamper a tired body,” says Jamal.

To explain what he means with cooking in nature’s bounty he suggests, ‘fish with methi’, taas kebab, kairi kebab, ‘pulao with meat’ and vegetables and ‘bagara rice’ with shaahi jeera.

So, now that we have had Ugadi pachadi, let’s make good use of the different flavours for a healthy summer.


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Printable version | Jun 8, 2021 4:46:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/cuisine-that-keeps-you-cool/article8451474.ece

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