Home > Get Ahead > Living > Health
7 foods to help you stay cool
Marryam H Reshii |
June 27, 2005
hile the mercury keeps rising and rising, even the thought of eating spicy foods seems unpalatable. However, that is just what the doctor has ordered. The ayurvedic doctor, mind you.
That's why Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, with some of the highest temperatures this side of hell, have such spicy cuisines.
The theory works on the highly scientific principle that the more chillies you ingest, the more you sweat. And the more you sweat, the more cool your body becomes.
I don't know about the Rajasthanis and the Andhraites, but speaking for myself, give me roasted barley water any day, with or without sugar and lime.
Last week, I got one of the most cherished gifts of my life: a bottle of roasted, ground barley, presented by a kind friend who knows that I spend a fair amount of time outdoors in the baking heat.
Barley water, the roasted variety, finds much favour in Japan too. Visit any Japanese restaurant, and the first thing that arrives at your table is a glass of cloudy water, usually served hot.
Barley has a huge reputation of being a cooler of internal heat, just as seafood has heat-inducing properties.
But what is a Japanese meal without seafood? Hence the barley, to provide some yin for the yang of seafood.
Yin and yang is the subject of more than just science in China: it's general knowledge.
Everyone knows that mutton and dog meat are too heaty for the summer months, so everybody eschews them until the dead of winter.
Steamed crab, on the other hand is cooling. So cooling that it is always accompanied by Moutai, the local fire-water, just to balance things out a bit.
Stay cool with karela
One vegetable common to both India and China is the humble karela.
It's always a surprise to chef Thomas Xing of New Delhi's Empress of China at the Intercontinental Eros, that there aren't more takers for his stir-fried bitter melon, which is what karela is called in China.
"It takes away the heat from the body, even if you indulge in heating foods occasionally, " he says.
Cucumber salad works too!
In Indonesia, mutton is always served with a cooling salad of cucumber during the summer season, to counteract the heating effect of the meat.
Green moong dal
There are a whole range of cooling drinks that are served nowhere else but South-east Asia.
First among them is the water in which green moong dal has been soaked overnight.
While the dal itself gets cooked in a multitude of ways, it's the water that is said to contain the most cooling properties.
Falooda, babri-beol or biji sawi
Mumbai's falooda, Kashmir's babri-beol and Indonesia's biji sawi are all the same thing: those little black seeds, or tutmalanga as the seeds are called, that swell up when soaked in water overnight.
They're used in cooling drinks, mostly with milk and sugar, and become something of a staple when the month of Ramzan falls in summer.
A glass of nimbu pani
North India's answer to tutmalanga, is shikanjvi: nimbu pani into which salt, sugar and powdered jeera have been added.
Add these to your diet and stay cool!