One of the best ways to beat the heat is with cold crisp juicy cucumbers. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, cucumber keeps you cool and hydrated, nourishes the hair and skin and helps flush out toxins – amongst other benefits! An ingredient this good can definitely be used in more ways than in a kachumber salad. We put together a whole menu – right from a cold cucumber soup to delicious starters to main course and even a cucumber dessert to show you the different avatars of this versatile ingredient!
Pickled Cucumber – This recipe is a fabulous one, it is simple and also gives you a perfect mix of flavours and textures once you eat it. Slightly sour, yet sweet, crunchy and soft – you can prepare these pickled cucumbers and store in your refrigerator for an accompaniment that is full of oomph!
Cucumber Yogurt Soup with Papad – A perfect soup for summers. Cucumber and yogurt blended in with light spices, fresh dill leaves and topped with crunchy roasted papads. It’s light on the stomach and is so tasty you can easily gulp down a few glasses. Alternatively you can try making cucumber mint shots which is much like a cold cucumber soup with added freshness from mint and fresh chives!
Cucumber and Arugula Pinwheel Sandwiches – Cucumber can be used in so many more ways than a boring chutney sandwich. The slight pungency from arugula and freshness from dill leaves and cucumber blend perfectly with the creamy mayo in these attractive sandwiches. Now you know what to serve at your next tea party or in your kid’s tiffin!
Raita – Cucumber is a traditional ingredient in a raita. Take yours a notch higher by making this yogurt delicacy with little dices of boiled potatoes and cucumbers – add in a bunch of toasted flaxseeds and a sprinkle of roasted cumin powder for an earthy crunch and aroma. Makes a great accompaniment to any meal – especially biryanis and pulaos!
Pan Seared Cucumber – Did you ever think you can make cucumber kababs? Well we tried it out and the taste totally blew our mind. Scooped out cucumbers filled with a cheesy potato mixture, marinated, cut into roundels and pan seared in olive oil. The light and juicy yet crunchy cucumber makes a great contrast to the creamy potato cheese filling. A must try!
Kakdi ki Sabzi – This simple sabzi is perfect for days when you don’t want to toil in the kitchen but still want to eat something tasty, interesting and quick. Simply heat oil in a pan, add in mustard seeds, urad dal, broken dried red chillies asafetida and curry leaves. Toss diced cucumber in this, garnish with fresh grated coconut! Eat it as a salad or as a fab accompaniment to curd rice and rotis.
Beetroot Kakdi Magaz Pulao – This recipe doesn’t use whole cucumber, but crunchy cucumber seeds add a whole new dimension to an already interesting beetroot pulao. Use store bought dried cucumber seeds which are filled with fibre and are also good to munch on between meals.
Cucumber with Chicken and Fresh Red Chillies – A quick spicy stir fry made using chicken mince and cucumbers. The thin sliced cucumbers beautifully soak up the juices of the stir fry. Add a few pieces of water chestnut for crunch and have with a bowlful of fried rice or noodles!
Cucumber Curry – This might not be a very popular recipe but it’s time it gets its due. A spicy luscious coconut cream curry made with soft juicy cucumbers and a crunch with peanuts. Have this with some steamed rice or with soft rotis for a light delicious meal!
Dhondas – Not a lot of people must’ve thought of making a cake with cucumber, but in the western Konkan region of India, dhondas is a popular dessert recipe. This steamed sweet cake gets its lovely grainy texture with semolina and grated cucumber and sweetness from jaggery. Dhondas has much healthier ingredients than most cakes do and it is also really light on the stomach – so enjoy a couple of pieces stress free. You can add a hint of citrus tang to this recipe by drizzling it with some lemon syrup just before serving!
Cucumber Mojito – Beat the summer heat with this refreshing drink. Make a pitcher full and store in your refrigerator. The flavours from the cucumber, mint and lemon will instantly energize you on a hot sunny afternoon. Turn this into a lip smacking cocktail by adding a dash of rum – for your next summer cocktail party!
Now that we have given you so many interesting ways to use this fruit, this summer should as cool as a cucumber! For more recipes and interesting recipe videos browse through Sanjeevkapoor.com
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.