CHENNAI: A few days ago, this reporter made a bunch of uninspired calls. The point of the conversation could be summed up with this question: ‘do you use cucumber to make anything apart from raitha?’ Oh, and these cucumber conversations were all had with homemakers, working moms, anybody ‘without’ a chef’s hat. So as you can imagine, the answer was mostly a flat out no.
Until that is, by a stroke of some distant cucumber for a magic wand , we came across Priya Miranda, a scientist for the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation on weekdays, and a culinary crazy person on weekends. “Give me some time to think,” she said. A few hours and a phone call later, she blows us away with talk of cucumber marinated chicken and good gosh, a cucumber cake.
A full menu of cucumber-inspired creations had been planned for the following evening. Of course, we invited ourselves over for dinner. On arriving at Priya’s home, we really thought we were prepared for what was to come. However, the 13 shades of ‘green’ that awaited us on the table continue to blow our minds — from a desi-inspired cucumber sushi made of curd rice to cucumber jelly, boats with a cucumber base filled with succulent prawns and a cucumber mishti doi... Deep breath. An all-green menu was both healthy and exciting and we couldn’t wait to dive in. The cucumber moor was as refreshing as its pastel colour, while a serving of mutton jhol marinated in cucumber paste had us reaching for seconds. How many cucumbers did this 13-dish spread take to make? “About four or five kilos,” comes the reply.
Although after this purchase, it’s unlikely there was space for any other veggies in the fridge. “It took quite a bit of recipe research and an entire day to prepare,” Priya shares with a smile. However, what started out as a seed of an idea from a reporter looking for a story turned out to become so much more. Here’s to happy meals shared between strangers and new culinary challenges.
...And then the humble cucumber told the puffed up watermelon: ‘You may be sweet, but I’m cooler than you sweetheart.’
Cucumber-Green Apple-Celery Smoothie
- Cucumber - 150 grams
- Celery – 20 grams
- Green apple – 50 grams
- Watermelon – 50 grams
- Yogurt – 20 ml
- Wild honey- 20 ml
- Lime juice- 5 ml
- Mint leaves – 3 leaves
- Sabja (basil) seeds-5 grams
- Salt – to taste
- For Garnish
- Dill weed sprig – 1 no
- Slice lemon – 1 no
- Soak sabja seeds in 20 mils water for 10 minutes.
- Place all the ingredients except honey and sabja seeds in a bowl.
- Blend until smooth and pass through a strainer if required.
- Mix in the sabja seeds and pour into the glass, top it up with honey and garnish with dill weed sprig and slice lemon. Serve extra chilled.
(Contributed by chef Ibha Thapa at The Park)
Cucumber and Lemon Cake with Elderflower Icing Recipe
- 200 gms cucumber (about half a cucumber)
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 115 gms (1/2 cup) butter softened
- 150 gms granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 150 gms self-raising flour
- For the Elderflower Icing
- 75 gms butter softened
- 150 gms powdered icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial (or lemon juice, if elderflower is unavailable)
- (Contributed by Priya Miranda)
Cucumbers Cucumbers contain multiple
B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7 (biotin). B vitamins are known to help ease feelings of anxiety and buffer some of the damaging effects of stress.