Gazpacho to Smoke Salmon Rolls: Add cucumber to make unique dishes by following these recipes this summer

15 April,2024 05:30 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Nascimento Pinto

The summer brings with it a variety of ingredients that often take centrestage over others like the humble cucumber. If you have always believed that one can’t do much with it, then Indian chefs tell you to think again as they share unique recipes to not only include them in soups and salads but also kimchi and rolls too

Indian chefs say you can use the cucumber to not only make soups and salads but also kimchi and rolls. Photo Courtesy: Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa

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Even as cucumbers are being used by us on daily basis in our salads, sandwiches, burgers and other kinds of dishes, the vegetable may be one of the most underrated ingredients in the kitchen. They can not only be enjoyed plain but also add value to a dish with their crunch and refreshing taste that is very much needed during summers. Cucumbers boast of being made up of 96 per cent water, thus making it the food with the highest water content.

With the summer here, it is also the best time to celebrate our summer ingredients through the vegetables and fruits. While most people boast of other favourites like jackfruit and watermelon, the humble cucumber has a lot more to offer than most people know. Available locally in almost every market near us, Indian chefs say people can use them in a variety of dishes.

These have to not only be limited to the salads but also other dishes that elevate the cucumber in a way that will change the way you look at the ingredient. It is important to know it has a shorter shelf life and gets shrivelled and spoiled very fast, giving you all the more reason to enter the kitchen and use the ingredient to innovative with your breakfast, lunch or dinner.

With the summer here, spoke to Indian chefs and told them to share their favourite recipes where they use cucumbers as their star ingredient or in abundance. Think about the heat and how you could beat it with simple dishes that celebrate summer ingredients and dishes in different ways and are not difficult to make. Indian chefs say you can not only add cucumber to a salad with ginger and sesame dressing, but also make it the star of a kimchi along with mango. Move over the winter soups and indulge in a gazpacho made with the help of a vegetable or add it to smoke salmon and make rolls to serve it differently.

Also Read: Mango fever: Make and sip on these unique mango-based cocktails this summer season

Cucumber Noodle Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing
While you include cucumbers in your salad regularly, chef Ruffy Shaikh, who is the senior sous chef at ITC Grand Central wants you to take it a step further and surprise your guests at the next party by making a cucumber noodle salad with ginger sesame dressing, where the refreshing summer ingredient is the star of the dish. He shares, "The cucumber noodles add a crisp bite to the salad and absorb the flavours of the sesame ginger dressing. It is a light and colourful meal ideal for summer, displaying cucumber adaptability in a fun and inventive way."

Cucumbers 2 nos
Carrot 1 no
Bell pepper 1 no
Green onions 2 no
Chopped coriander 1/4th cup
Chopped peanuts 1/4th cup

For dressing
Soy Sauce 3 tbsp
Rice Vinegar 2 tbsp
Sesame Oil 1 tbsp
Maple syrup 1 tbsp
Grated ginger 1 tbsp
Garlic 1 clove
Chili Paste 1 tsp

1. Prepare cucumbers and carrot by spiralising or julienne-peeling them into noodle-like strips.
2. Thinly slice bell pepper and onions.
3. Place them in a big basin. Combine the julienned carrot, sliced bell pepper, green onions, and chopped Coriander in the bowl with cucumber noodles.
4. Make the dressing. Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, grated ginger, chopped garlic, and chili paste in a small mixing bowl.
5. Toss the salad: Pour the dressing over the cucumber-noodle mixture, tossing until fully incorporated and uniformly coated.
6. Refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes to enable the flavours to combine.
7. Top the salad with chopped peanuts. Serve cold and enjoy.

Also Read: Beer bottle chaas to Piyush: Cool off with these 9 refreshing summer drinks in Mumbai

Cucumber and Mango Kimchi
One of the easiest ways to include cucumber into your food is by making a salad but if you want to go beyond that then chef Rakesh Gaur from Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa in Candolim says you can make a Cucumber and Mango Kimchi. With the growing popularity of kimchi due to the Korean wave in India over the last few years, this will become an instant favourite, especially with the addition of mangoes, which are an eternal favourite in India. Gaur shares, "This kimchi preparation is good for hydration and detoxification. The addition of cucumber helps cult down the sharpness and tanginess of the raw mango. It adds a sweetness to it." For best results, the Goa-based chef says you can serve it after a day.

Cucumber 200 gm
Green raw mangoes, small 4 nos
Red chilli powder 3 tsp
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
For tempering
Mustard oil 4 tbsp
Mustard seeds 2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds 1 tsp
Sweet fennel 2 tsp
Whole red chilli 2-3 nos
Chopped coriander
Lemon juice 2-3 tbsp

1. Heat mustard oil in pan and keep heat to a low.
2. Add all the seed one by one.
3. Once the seeds start crackling, add the curry leaves.
4. Add red chilli hot and keep it aside.
5. Wash the cucumber and raw mango under running water and slice them thick.
6. Pour the tempering over the cut cumber and the mango.
7. Mix everything with a spoon, add the lemon juice and check the seasoning.
8. Add the fresh chopped coriander into it.
9. Allow to cool and store it in the fridge.

Cucumber Gazpacho
Since is the summer season, one can never go wrong with either a soup or salad. While you make take the liberty to add cucumbers to a salad, Suresh Babu, who is the executive chef at Clarks Exotica Convention Resort and Spa in Bengaluru, says you can make a delicious, chilled Cucumber Gazpacho. He explains, "Gazpacho is a classic summer dish, and adding cucumbers gives it an extra layer of freshness and crunch. The combination of creamy avocado, crisp cucumber, and zesty lime creates a harmonious balance of flavours and textures that's perfect for beating the summer heat. It is a simple yet elegant dish that celebrates the bounty of the season in every spoonful."

Cucumbers, large, peeled and chopped 4 nos
Avocados, ripe, peeled and diced 2 nos
Green bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 no
Red onion, chopped 1/2 no
Garlic, minced 1/2 no
Fresh cilantro, chopped 1/4 cup
Lime juice 3 tbsp
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Ground cumin 1 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional toppings: diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, chopped cilantro, avocado slices

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the chopped cucumbers, diced avocados, chopped bell pepper, chopped red onion, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, ground cumin, salt, and pepper.
2. Blend until smooth, adding a little water if necessary to reach your desired consistency.
3. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
4. Chill the gazpacho in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavours to meld.
5. Serve the chilled gazpacho in bowls, garnished with optional toppings if desired.
6. Enjoy this refreshing summer soup.

Also Read: Aamsul Saar to Kokum Hummus: Try these refreshing Kokum-infused drinks and dishes to beat the Mumbai heat

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Rolls
If you are looking to make an elaborate meal, then it is easy to use cucumbers in abundance to make a delicious dish out of it. Chef Tushar Malkani at The Yellow House in Anjuna wants you to elevate the refreshing cucumber this summer by making Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Rolls with just three ingredients - salmon, cream cheese and cucumber. Staying true to the essence of experimenting with the dish, Malkani shares a tip. He shares, "There are unlimited variations that can take place here. You might consider wrapping up some fresh dill, basil or as per your choice and liking. Using cashew-based dips could be a great dairy free alternative."

Long cucumber strips 6 inches
Cream cheese - room temperature (plain or with flavour as per your choice)
Smoked salmon strips to match the cucumber strips

1. Blot the cucumber with paper towel to remove extra moisturiser before spreading to make this process easier.
2. Lay a cucumber strip, apply generous amount of cheese, and lay a strip of salmon.
3. Roll it up and secure with a toothpick to prevent them from unrolling.

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