It's time to say goodbye to the cool breeze of January and early February. It's time to say goodbye to the short, idyllic days wherein I could get away with wearing a light scarf and a cashmere sweater at work. It's time to say goodbye to the last waves of holiday fever--hot coco, thick soups, and all.
And it's time to say hello to the hot summer months. It's time to bust out tank tops, shorts, and sandals. It's time to say hello cool, soothing paletas and hot, spicy curries.
"Did you just say hot, spicy curries?"
Yes I did.
According to an article in Sans Rival magazine, certain food items can affect body temperature.
Ice cream is the quintessential summer nosh, but did you know that the fat content in ice cream actually heats up your body?
And although there's nothing better than drinking good ol' Filipino beer on the beach, did you know that too much alcohol can cause you to flush, and consequently, make your skin heat up like crazy?
On the other hand, fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as cucumber, pineapple, orange, ang mango, can lower your body temperature, thus producing a cooling effect.
In addition, spice-laden, peppery curries induce sweating, allowing your skin to feel cooler. This is one of the primary reasons why curry is popular in hot countries such as India, Pakistan, and South Africa.
This summer, I am going to try out different curry and peleta recipes from the Sans Rival issue that features South African cuisine. If, like myself, you’ve gotten tired of the usual steak-ribs-wings backyard BBQ routine, these mouth-watering recipes will surely excite your guests and neighbors!
First off, we've got Chicken Durban Curry on the menu. This red-hot curry has got the right amount of heat and flavor. This dish is perfect as an appetizer over cracked papadums or as a main course with basmati rice. Mr. Flintstone enjoys this curry with cauliflower rice.
Next up, we've got Braii Lamb. This aromatic dish will leave your guests wanting for more. The addition of white wine, sugar, dried apricots, and peach chutney in the marinade provide an interesting sweet counterpoint to the grilled, smokey hunk of meat.
To go with all these is Bunny Chow, a hearty bean-based curry stew served inside a hollowed out bread. Tasty, unique, nutritious, and convenient. What more could you ask for?
Meanwhile, Mango Achara is a piquant sidedish that's meat to cut the spiciness of the curries. It also doubles as a wonderful sandwich condiment. Personally, I would like to slather this on a wedge of cold papaya as I bake on the beach on a hot summer day.
Wash these all down with a tall, frosted glass of Cucumber Lemon Granita. This sweet, sour summer slush is not only refreshing, it's also great when spiked with a shot of vodka (expect flushing when you do).
For dessert, Mr. Flintstone and I enjoy the fiery, icy sensation brought by Pineapple Chili Paletas. This popsicle toys with your nerves and electrifies you palate in a way that leaves you salivating for more.
The kids naturally prefer Navel Orange and Tarragon Paletas, an intensely citrusy, tangy popsicle that screams summer.
"Your kids are not put-off by the herbaceous notes of tarragon?"
When they were littler, I told them that all leafy greens and herbs are spinach, which like Popeye, could make them as strong as a sailor on steroids. Someday they will understand my brand of humor.
Adapted from Sans Rival
For South Africans of all backgrounds, braai (Afrikaans for "grill" and rhymes with "fry") is more than just a cooking method – it is a beloved social custom by which any and every occasion is celebrated outdoors. Tradition calls for a wood or charcoalfire to barbecue a variety of meat, ranging from the familiar beef, chicken, pork, and lamb to seafood, wild venison and spiced sausages called boerewors. A popular type of braaivleis (grilled meat) is sosatie, a skewer of marinated lamb or mutton, originating from the Cape Malay community.
2 navel oranges
1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon soy sauce
95 grams dried apricots, soaked in hot water for a minute then drained
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup peach or apricot chutney
Salt and ground pepper
750g boneless leg of lamb, cut into chunks
½ cup chicken stock
To prepare the marinade, juice the oranges and lemon into a saucepan. Stir in wine, brown sugar, curry powder, coriander seeds and soy sauce, and bring to a simmer. Add apricots and continue simmering for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the fruit softens. Mix in the chutney and season to taste with salt and pepper. If the marinade is too thick, add more wine a little at a time to desired consistency. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, pour marinade over lamb chunks and toss to coat, then refrigerate overnight. To prepare for grilling, soak the bamboo skewers in water for a few minutes. Thread pieces of lamb onto the skewers, alternating with bay leaves. Reserve the marinade. Grill the lamb skewers, turning frequently to avoid burning the marinade, until the meat inside turns pink or reaches desired doneness.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, blend reserved marinade and chicken stock, and simmer. Serve with the lamb skewers.
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