Stay cool, healthy with cucumber

Last Updated 19 March 2014, 13:44 IST

Come summers and cucumber becomes an important inclusion in the daily diet. Used, generally, in salads and sandwiches, different dishes and even pickles can be made from cucumbers. You can experiment this season.

If you are fond of western cuisine, go for pickled cucumbers. Use a fork to run through the surface of the cucumber, vertically downwards, to obtain a fluted pattern when sliced. Cut cucumber into thin slices and put into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix well. Leave the cucumber for 10 minutes to absorb the salt then rinse with cold water. Grate fresh root ginger and add it to the cucumber slices. Combine sugar and vinegar too.Decant into a plastic container. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours before serving.

If you're looking for some summer soup inspiration, look no further! The cool cucumber lends its delicate flavour to this chilled soup. Place the cucumber and iced water in a blender. Blend until relatively smooth. Add yoghurt to the blender and pulse. Add salt, pepper, cumin, cilantro and mint and pulse again for up to a minute. Transfer soup into a large bowl and add the lime juice and stir. Cover soup and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. Just before serving, add sliced radishes to the soup.

Cucumber sauces, dips and dressing are also an option. A cucumber spread appetiser is easy to make at home. Combine minced cucumber, mayonnaise, sour cream, and salt. Now, spread it on bread or bun, top it with thin slices of cucumber. If you are a non-vegetarian add a piece of ham or chicken over it.

Going well with sea food is cucumber sauce. Chop cucumber, place in colander to drain thoroughly and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whip cream until stiff, fold in vinegar and chopped cucumber mixture. The sauce is ready to be served with grilled fish and salmon.For a cucumber salad dressing, process cucumber, yoghurt, mint leaves, lemon juice and ice cube in a food processor or blender until smooth.

One can also make cucumber salsa at home. Combine cucumber, peach, chopped fresh mint, salt, white pepper, and minced red onion and lime juice. Cover and chill for one to two hours to blend flavours, or you can let it stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Serve with grilled meats or as a dip with tortilla chips.

Since cucumber is a common ingredient in salads, one can go for cucumber lemon salad, tangy tomato salad, corn cucumber tomato salad, cucumber chicken salad, cucumber and honey. Cucumber Lemon Salad is an easy and flavourful side dish salad that's perfect for a summer cookout.

Combine cucumber chunks, lemon yoghurt, toasted walnuts, cherries, salt, pepper, chopped fresh mint leaves and lemon. Stir it and chill for two to three hours before serving.Also, if you are fond of sushi  you can use cucumber chunks and slices as a filing and utilise the cooked rice kept overnight, to prepare an interesting dish. 

(Published 19 March 2014, 13:44 IST)

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