I have lived in some of the hottest places – with temperatures soaring up to 500 C and melting even the asphalt on the roads! Over the years then, I have picked up many traditional ‘cool’ tips to beat the heat, which I am sharing here.
Extreme heat can cause heat strokes, stomach upsets, stoppage of urine, boils and rashes and many other problems and these simple tips can help you prevent them. Pick and choose the ones that suit you.
- Always cover the head while going out in the sun. A cap, a hat, the dupatta or pallu over the head, an umbrella are all good.
- Don’t drink colas and aerated drinks as they are diuretic and add to the water loss. Tender coconut water, shikanji (lemon juice made with sugar and a pinch of salt), sugarcane juice with a little lemon juice are all perfect cooling drinks, which are healthy too! Panagam is a great cooler too. Don’t forget to add lemon juice though! Find recipe here.
- Always keep a lemon with you. Squeeze a few drops in a glass of water to maintain the electrolyte balance of the body in extreme heat.
- Wash feet to cool down the body instantly when you come in from the heat. Don’t drink water immediately.
- Avoid chilled water during summers as it can cause violent change in the temperature of the body.
- Boil a tsp of saunf or fennel in a litre of water and strain it. This water even fights urinary problems caused by the heat.
- Drink diluted buttermilk/chhas/mattha – flavoured with mint/coriander/curry leaves. A squeeze of lemon can make it even more cooling. Add a pinch of rock salt if you want. This helps if you have watery stools often caused by the heat.
- Take half a teaspoon of methi seeds (you have to swallow the methi like you do pills) to set right the stomach and intestines.
- If you are going out in areas prone to heat waves, (a) Take an onion cut in half with you to prevent heat strokes. Rub it on your scalp and face and inhale the pungent bulb to instantly cool the body down. (b) Carry half a lemon soaked in honey in a small bottle. Suck on it to reduce body heat. Honey has many minerals and salts to prevent dehydration.
- Drink water from earthen pots to which you can add some vetiver or cardamom seeds. It makes the water fragrant and cools the system.
- Soak some leftover rice in water overnight. The strained water mixed with some buttermilk makes for the most cooling drink during hot summer mornings.
- Reduce salt intake as it adds to the load on the kidneys and causes water retention and bloating.
And now for the recipe of Aam Panna
Raw pulpy mango – 1 large
Roasted jeera powder – ½ tsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Sugar/jaggery – double the quantity of mango pulp (you may need more if the mango is too sour)
Pudina leaves – a few (optional)
Pepper powder – 1 large pinch
Water – as required
Cook mango in a pressure cooker or roast it on coal/gas till soft. Cool, peel, deseed and remove the pulp. Add the sugar/jaggery, salt, mint leaves and blend well in a mixer jar. This pulp can be stored in the fridge in airtight containers for a few days. Mix the pulp with cool water as required, add roasted jeera powder and pepper powder and serve.
1. Add ¼ tsp cardamom powder, a pinch each of dry ginger powder and pepper powder.
2. You can add rock salt instead of plain salt for that added flavour.
3. Omit pudina if you don’t like the flavour.
The columnist is your regular granny next door. She loves cooking, feeding friends and family, reading, writing and telling tales. Children’s stories are her favourites. She has seen the telegram transform into Twitter and telephone into WhatsApp and has adapted herself well to the changing times. In fact, you could call her Gadget Granny Seeta.
Stay tuned for her spicy and juicy tales of food and fun.