Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.
Summer is a season when fruits and vegetables are in abundance. It’s the best time to enjoy Nature’s gifts. There is plenty of sunshine during this hottest season of the year and the fruits produced, such as watermelon, sweet melon, honeydew melon, grapes, oranges and all kinds of tropical fruits, that are thirst quenching and cooling in nature become available in the market.
Sweet fruits are considered cooling and during such hot weather, would naturally be most helpful for quenching thirst and bringing down the body temperature. A remedy for heat stroke is to drink a glass of brown sugar fluid.
Local fruits are selected accordingly, depending on the living environment. Taking fruits as main course for breakfast is the most appropriate choice during summer. Fruits in the melon family is best eaten on its own and not mixed with others. Sweet and sour fruits should not be eaten together and certainly not with starch as well. Alternatively, choose one day in the week to eat only fruits, so as to allow the system to clear itself and take a break; or eat fruits for lunch frequently.
Summer is also the best time for fasting. Vegetable and fruit juice, clear soup or floral tea, green tea, etc. can be used. Fasting for two or three days; a longer fasting period is not advisable for beginners. Those who desire to fast for a longer period of time should have fast for several occasions previously and should best do it compassionately with the help and guidance of an experienced person. A preparation such as reading up and listening to tapes on the relevant material is strongly advised.
Besides fruits, salads made from a good variety of fruits and vegetables (and garnished with finely grated fresh coconut for a tropical sizzle,) should also be eaten frequently.
This season is also ideal for eating suitable amounts of fresh chilies (long type). In equatorial countries like Malaysia, people like to eat freshly cut green and red chilies, they eat it with every meal. In the tropics such as Yunan and Kuizhou, it is believed that chili helps to prevent stomach discomfort (feeling of being bloated-up due to the hot damp atmosphere) during this season. Chili helps to dissipate heat from the body, the heavy perspiration after eating chili makes one feel good. However, people living in temperate and cold places would shiver with cold sweat after eating chili.
Some variations in cooking vegetables is advised, Indian and SE-Asian flavor may be used but keep to steaming and season with a sauce.
Water intake is very important during summer. It is best to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. On top of that, some suggestions of fluid intake are given here.
- Plain water with a dash of lemon juice or orange juice
- Fresh coconut juice served with some coconut flesh
- Fresh sugar cane juice
- Fresh orange juice served with a dash of passion fruit juice
- Hot or cold teas (floral tea, green tea and leaf tea)
- Floral teas may include those of sunflower, jasmine, rose, Rousun, peony, gold/silver, chrysanthemum, etc.
- Leaf teas may include those of mint-, papaya-, pipa-(louquat), sumach and local green teas
- These teas can be made with boiled hot water or filled a bottle with cold water and exposed it to sunlight for one whole day to make a solar brew.
- Fresh fruits can be frozen to make fruit ice creams.
- Choose sweet ones such as banana (skin removed), peach, plum, grapes, durian, lychee, longan, mango, etc.
- Add a little of the fruit juice to the selected fruit, then blend until smooth and creamy in texture. Serve as fruit ice-cream.
Baked apple or banana pie
Arrange in an 8-inch baking dish:
- 4 apples or 4 bananas (skinned, sliced) mixed with juice of half a lemon
- ¾ cup of wheat germ
- ¾ cup of desiccated coconut
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- ¼ cup of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Bake in at 300oF for an hour.
Briefly boil sweet potato, melon (any variety), root (any variety) and Chinese boxthorn leaves together in a pot. Lower the flame to simmer for an hour. Serve only the resulting clear soup which is sweetened naturally by the sweet potato while the unwanted pulp can be added to the garden compost.
Sweet and sour sauce Stew
Add finely grated ginger to a mixture of equal quantities of Soy sauce, black vinegar, molasses and sesame oil. Stew with Tempeh (Malay fermented soybean cake), Tofu (Soybean cake), root and vegetable (of a melon variety) for at least an hour followed by steaming. Serve with thick soy gravy.
Mix Soybean paste with malt syrup or brown rice syrup, add a little sesame oil and water. Serve with vegetables that are steamed or stir-fried in a little oil.
Lentil cooked in Indian style
Put into a pot the following:
- 1 cup of lentil (soaked overnight)
- Water level is of one inch above lentil
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon fenugreek
- 1 ½ teaspoon coriander leaves
- 2 fennels
- 1 or 2 slices of ginger
- ¼ cup raisins
Cook for half an hour. When ready, add half a teaspoon of tomato sauce and 1 teaspoon of oil and a little sea salt. Serve with some coriander leaves.