A quick and easy fix for a meal in this brutal heat — Photograph by the author
A quick and easy fix for a meal in this brutal heat — Photograph by the author

I don’t know about you but when the heat gets brutal, I barely ever want to eat anything hot.

All I want is icy lemonade, raita, and cool salads.

If you are anything like me, then these two salads are right up your alley. Both require few ingredients and take very little time to make. So you’ll be spending less time in the kitchen, which is always a plus.

The first recipe brings together soft, sweet melon with cool crisp cucumbers in a bright mint dressing.

The second recipe is a classic potato salad. Tender potatoes are smothered in thick creamy dressing with just the right amount of tang.

Do you want to know the best bit though?

These recipes will feed a crowd in less than Rs. 500. I think that’s a pretty good deal.

Melon and cucumber salad

(Serves 6–8)

If you need something to cool you down after a long hot day, this is the salad for you. Melons are about 90% water and cucumbers are approximately 95% water! So you’re actually better off eating this salad than grabbing a glass of water, because along with the much need H2O, you’re getting a whole of nutrients as well. Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin B, vitamin C and potassium. Melons will provide you with a good dose of vitamin C, vitamin B and potassium.

Ingredients

500g cucumbers

½ melon

I tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped minted

Salt, to taste (optional)

Method

  1. Peel the cucumbers and chop them into medium-sized chunks.

  2. Scrape out the seeds of the melon and use a melon baller to scoop out balls, or simply cut up the melon into chunks about the same size as the cucumbers.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and mint.

  4. Drizzle the dressing over the cucumbers and melon, and gently mix.

  5. Transfer to a serving dish, cover and place in the refrigerator to cool.

Tip #1: If you are making this ahead of time, do not add salt to the salad, as that will draw out the water from the melon and cucumbers and make it very watery. You can add salt right before you serve, or provide a salt shaker and let people add salt as they wish.

Tip #2: Leftovers can be turned into a great drink. Add the leftover salad to a blender, add ice, and add sugar to taste. Blend until smooth.

Perfect Potato Salad

(Serves 10–12)

This recipe is the result of years of experimentation to get the proportions just right. So trust me when I say it will be really good. This is great as a side dish, but is also pretty good on its own (I’ve been known to eat leftover potato salad for breakfast on occasion). The recipe can also easily be halved.

Though the dressing makes this ‘salad’ is a bit more indulgent, potatoes are good source of fibre, vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium and manganese.

Ingredients

1 kg potatoes

½ cup mayonnaise

1 cup yogurt, (use Greek yogurt if you can; if not, use thick yogurt)

1 teaspoon mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt (add more to taste)

A handful of chopped chives or spring onions

Method

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large chunks.

  2. Boil the potatoes until tender; drain and set aside to cool.

  3. For the dressing, add the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, and lemon juice to a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.

  4. When the potatoes have cooled, add them to a large mixing bowl and pour in the dressing. Mix well, add the chives or spring opinion and mix again.

  5. Place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly before serving.

Tip#1: Refrigeration is crucial; in fact, that’s the secret ingredient. A well-chilled potato salad tastes so much better!


Sahar Habib is a technical writer by day, and maintains the blog www.chaipluscake.com in her spare time.

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