Summertime Sickness? Not Anymore! Try These 15 Super Cool Traditional Indian Summer Foods With A Twist

Summers! Yes, they are here to torture us with the scorching heat, the empty roads and high electricity bills. We change most of the things in summers; from the clothes we wear to places we go and food we eat. The rising temperature drains our energy and ruins our appetite. So why not try something different this summer and let’s beat the heat with some cool recipes?

We all are well aware of some of these summer foods, but here is a list of unusual ways you can use them this summer to beat the heat:

1. Cucumber
Slices seasoned with some salt and pepper or mixed with other vegetables for a salad, cucumber surely is one of the best vegetables to cool off this summer. It helps reduce oiliness, and imparts a fresh and cool feeling. Try this different recipe and become “cool as cucumber”.

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho in Cucumber Cups (source)


Pic Courtesy:

2 garlic cloves
1 scallion, white and green parts, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 pounds yellow tomatoes, cored and seeded
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into chunks
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 hothouse cucumbers

Place garlic, scallion, tomatoes, and bell peppers in a food processor; pulse until the vegetables are small chopped pieces. Add rice vinegar, kosher salt, and black pepper; chill. Cut cucumbers crosswise into 1-inch pieces; use a melon-baller to make small cups (be careful not to break through bottoms of cucumbers). Spoon gazpacho into cucumber cups; serve.

2. Lemon

Citrus fruits are always much healthier than other fruits. We add lemon to our food mostly for the taste but it has much more to it than just the flavour.  Lemon is rich in Vitamin C. It helps with blood pressure, cholesterol and also mental stress. Here is a simple recipe to beat the heat this summer-

Rose Shikanji (Lemonade)

Rose lemonade

Rose Lemonade (Pic Courtesy –


Lemons – 4
Fresh Mint sprigs – 4 – 5
Sugar – 4 tbsp
Salt – a pinch
Cumin Seeds Powder – 1/2 tsp
Water – 3 glasses chilled water , 1 glass normal room temperature
Rooh Afza syrup – 24 tbsp
Ice cubes

Take a Jug, add one glass of normal water to it. Now add sugar and stir till it dissolves into the water nicely & completely. Squeeze all lemons in it. Add Rooh Afza to it and stir. Add pinch of salt and cumin seeds powder to it and continue to stir. Now add chilled water and crushed ice to the jug and stir again. And your unusual Rose Shikanji is ready!

3. Mango

Mango is the fruit of the season and from the way it tastes we all know why it is called the king of all fruits. Mango shake is something we never mind to include in our meals. Here is a more fun way to consume Mango this summer-

Mango Icepops

Jeremy Simons, The Courier-Mail

Jeremy Simons, The Courier-Mail

Puree fresh cut mango in a blender or food processor. Pour into ice cube trays, stick in a popsicle stick or toothpick and freeze. Voila! Mango icepops! (Source)

4. Watermelon

Watermelon! The name itself is enough to cool our heads off in this brutal heat. This fruit has the highest amount of water content in it and hence very useful in the high temperature when our body gets easily dehydrated and is in constant need of water. We always eat the fruit and throw the rind away. Here is an interesting way to consume Watermelon this summer:

Sliced watermelon rind (Source)

Pic Courtesy:

Pic Courtesy:


1 4-pound piece watermelon, quartered
8 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
8 whole cloves
8 whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Cut watermelon pulp from rind, leaving thin layer of pink on rind (reserve pulp for another use). Cut green outer skin from rind; discard. Cut enough rind into 1 x 1/2-inch pieces to measure 4 cups. Combine 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt in large pot; bring to boil. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain. Transfer rinds to large metal bowl.

Combine remaining 2 teaspoons salt, sugar and next 7 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over watermelon rinds in bowl. Place plate atop rinds to keep rinds submerged in pickling liquid. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Strain liquid from rinds into saucepan; bring to boil. Pour over rinds. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Repeat straining and boiling of liquid and pour over rinds 1 more time. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in covered jars.)

5. Yogurt

It can be called our very own “instant cooling agent”. It is cool and has right amount of sweet. Yogurt can never go wrong. It helps you cool off after you return from a hot journey or a long work day. Here is a slight twist to the recipe of our very own Indian Lassi which has always helped Indians to beat the heat-

Mint Lassi (Source)

Pic Courtesy:  Lilyinnepal (Wikimedia Commons)

Pic Courtesy: Lilyinnepal (Wikimedia Commons)

1/2 cup cold plain yogurt  or 1/2 cup curds
1/2 cup cold water
1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 dash pepper
1 dash paprika
¼ cup mint leaves


Whisk/beat the the yogurt or curds with a wire whisk until smooth. Blend mint leaves  to the curd to make a paste.
Add the water slowly and continue to whisk until well combined.
Add the seasonings, mix well, and pour into a tall glass to serve immediately.
Alternately, you can double or triple this recipe and store it in the refrigerator, it’ll keep for a day at least.
Before serving, stir it once, as the seasonings tend to settle at the bottom.

6. Grapes

Well, what to say about this fruit. Unlike other fruits, It is ready to eat without peeling, slicing and doing other preparations. Many studies have shown that increasing consumption of plant foods like grapes decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality. For this ready to eat fruit we have a super easy recipe which you will love this summer-

Frozen Grapes (Source)

Pic Courtesy:

Pic Courtesy:

Seedless Grapes (green, red or concord)
Coatings- powdered sugar, sugar, Jello gelatin

Leave the grapes on the stem for a more interesting presentation. Snip the grapes to 3-5 per grouping. Pull them all off if you want to do so.
Place in the freezer for at least a few hours and if you forget about them, they will be fine days later.
When frozen, coat them in any of the coatings above or drink powder, like lemonaide or cherry or powdery candies (remember those growing up? Maybe leave a few plain, as they are good that way too.
Serve and enjoy or put them back in the freezer to serve later.

7. Orange

Orange is one of the most popular citrus fruits in India and across the globe. It not only tastes good but can also help to boost your immunity, prevent cancer and heart diseases. Tired of running after your little fun with a bowl of fruits? Here is an interesting way to make them have Oranges without much effort-

Chocolate-Dipped Oranges

Pic Courtesy:

Pic Courtesy:

Dip orange slices into melted chocolate and refrigerate until chocolate hardens. You can also dip in various patterns to make the orange slice look appealing. Serve cold with a yummy glass of milk or orange juice!

8. Phaalse (Blueberries)

This fruit offers much more than a fancy name. A 2004 USDA study ranked wild blueberries as the number one anti-oxidant fruit, with 48% more antioxidants than the cultivated (farmed) berry. Anti-oxidants fight free radicals in the body, which help build your immunity. (Source)

Wild Blueberry Creamsicle (Source)

Pic Courtesy:

Pic Courtesy:

2 cups frozen wild blueberries
8 ounces plain low fat yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/3 cup medium cream

Put Wild Blueberries, partially defrosted and yogurt in blender and mix.
Add sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon peel and blend until mixed.
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold into blueberry yogurt mixture.
Pour blueberry mixture into eight, 4-ounce containers.
Freeze for 1 hour until mixture is lightly frozen. Put wooden sticks or plastic spoons in mixture.
Let freeze for several more hours.

9. Tomatoes

This member of a fruit family though mostly considered as vegetable is low in carbohydrates and has only has 35 calories but gives you 40% of the vitamin C and 20% of the vitamin A you need for the day. Not in a mood to eat something heavy? Here is a unique way to consume Tomato this summer-

Summer Tomato Salad (Source)

caprese salad

Pic Courtesy:

Halve 1 pint of cherry tomatoes (red, yellow or mixed). Add 1 cup of ciliegine (mini fresh mozzarella balls). Add zest and juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons good olive oil, sliced fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.

10. Mint

Mint is much more than just a garnish. This cool herb not only gives flavour to your dish but also cools you off in a way that no other herb does. It has several health benefits and can be consumed to cure nausea, headache, asthma, digestion and much more. This cool recipe is a perfect add on to your daily meal in summers-

Cucumber Mint Raita (Source)

Pic Courtesy:

Pic Courtesy:

One large (or two medium) cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, then grated
2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
10 large mint leaves, thinly sliced* (can sub cilantro)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin**
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of paprika
Salt and pepper

Place grated cucumber in a sieve and press with the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Alternatively, you can place the grated cucumber in the middle of a clean tea towel, wrap the towel around the cucumber and wring out the excess moisture.

Stir spices and mint into yogurt in a medium bowl. Stir in the grated cucumber. Chill until ready to serve.

11. Sattu

This food stuff is a a mixture of ground pulses and cereals. A traditional sattu drink is popular in summer for it is a good source of natural fibre and carbohydrates.This was used by people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh initially to beat the heat during brutal summer days of over 40 degrees Celsius. Sattu has a neutral taste and is easy to digest. It energizes and refreshes immediately on consumption. SO here is a fun recipe to make your sattu taste better-

Sattu Ka Sharbat (Source)

Pic Courtesy: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Pic Courtesy: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Roasted gram flour – 6 TBSP (divided use)
Roasted pearl barley flour – 1 tsp
Jaggery powdered – 2 TBSP
Salt – to taste
Crushed Ice – lots of it
Chilled water – 2 glasses (about 240 ml)
Roasted cumin powder
Coriander and mint leaves – few
Black salt – to taste
Ginger juice – 1 TBSP

Take roasted gram (with or without skin) and powder it coarsely in a spice blender. Store and use. Take chilled water and add powdered jaggery. Mix well and strain. Now add sattu to it, a pinch of black salt and the sweet sattu sharbat is ready. Add crushed ice as required. You can also get a ready made sattu in the market which you can directly mix in water.

12. Kairi Ka Panna (Raw Mango Drink) (Source)

Pic Courtesy:

Pic Courtesy:

Raw green mango – 1 large or 2 medium sized
Roasted cumin powder – 1 1/4 tsps
Black salt – 1 1/4 tsps
Sugar syrup or jaggery syrup – as required
Black pepper corns – 15-20
Mint leaves – 25-30
Chilled water – as required

Boil mangoes in 3 cups of water OR pressure cook the mangoes till soft. Cool and remove the soft mango pulp from the seed and skin. Grind to a smooth paste.
Prepare sugar syrup by boiling 1/4 cup sugar in 3/4 of water till it is completely dissolved and simmer for 4 more mts. Turn off heat, cool and store in the fridge.
To prepare a ONE tall glass of Aam Panna. In a blender, add 4 tbsps of mango pulp, 2 tbsps of sugar syrup, 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder, 1/4 tsp of black salt, 3-4 black pepper corns and 6 to 7 mint leaves and blend to combine well. Add 1 1/4 cup chilled water and continue to blend for few seconds.
Pour into a tall glass with crushed ice and serve.

13. Thandai

The sun is glowing strongly, leaving your energy drained. You still have a long day to go and don’t know how to beat it? Thandai is a very popular drink in Rajasthan and a few other north Indian states which helps the people fight the extreme climate.

Courtesy: Tarla Dalal

Courtesy: Tarla Dalal

1 ltr full fat milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
10 to 12 black peppercorns (kalimirch)
a few saffron (kesar) strands

To be ground into a fine powder-
1/4 cup almonds (badam)
2 tbsp poppy seeds (khus-khus)
2 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1/2 tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder
20 white peppercorns

Boil the milk and allow it to cool completely. Keep aside.
Add the ground powder and mix well. Refrigerate the mixture for 3 to 4 hours.
Strain the mixture through a sieve, add the sugar, peppercorns and saffron and mix well.
Serve chilled

14. Wood Apple (Bel) (Source)

Also called “elephant apple” and “curd fruit”, the ripe wood apple acts as a laxative to avoid constipation while the unripe fruit controls Diarrhoea. Known as ‘bel’ in India, it has been traditionally used to beat the summer heat and counter heat strokes. However, people with severe gastric issues must be alert about its over-consumption.



1 – medium Bel Pathar
3 Tbsp – Sugar

Break Bel & scrape the pulp out.
Soak in water. The water should be just enough to soak.
Allow it to soak for 2 hours.
In a separate bowl, take 1 cup water and add sugar. Stir to mix well. You can completely omit this step & use powdered sugar.
Once the pulp is soft with soaking, use your hands to further mash it.
Now place a strainer on the bowl with sugar & water and pour the pulp on it.
Strain well. Discard the seeds & fiber.
Now add cold water to dilute according to taste. I prefer a thick sharbat.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve chilled. I garnished with crushed cherries

15. Thandi Chai (Iced Tea)

Iced tea is a very popular drink across the globe. And when you have  a brutal sun just above your head, it comes in handy. A glass of a chilled iced tea will surely feel like heaven. If you think the concept of iced tea just came into picture, then give a second thought. It has been enjoyed and served in India by our grandparents since decades. They just called it “Thandi Chai” 

Minty Iced Green Tea (Source)

Quentin Bacon (

Quentin Bacon (

1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed
3-4 green tea bags
Honey or agave, fresh lavender leaves (optional)

Place mint leaves in a large glass or BPA-free plastic pitcher. Crush gently with clean hands. Add tea bags, and pour hot water over top, leaving a few inches of room. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Remove tea bags; serve over ice. Add honey or agave to sweeten and a few fresh lavender leaves, if you have them on hand.

So anytime you are troubled by the hot summer, spare some time and treat yourself with these yummy recipes.

Have any interesting recipe to share? Write to us at [email protected] or leave comments here.

Born with a hobby to travel, talk, express and write, Shreya gets to do all of that and is even paid for it! Interested in rural development and social issues, she dreams of actually bringing a change in society and writing a book of her own one day. When she is not preaching others about a better India she is busy watching movies and playing video games. Follow her on twitter: @shreya08

Like us to get inspiring news daily

Subscribe for awesome videos