This summer, go easy on that King of Fruits, the mango, and make a little room for an underestimated summer fruit. We are talking about the litchi, that juicy white-fleshed little pod of flavour which dots many foothills across north India. Summer is the season when you will need to stock this fruit in your pantry. Shiny Esther, a nutrition consultant at Qua Nutrition tells you why: "Litchis help cool the body and they are loaded with antioxidants and potassium. There is a fair amount of potassium loss from the body due to excess sweating. To top it all, exposure to sun during summer leads to formation of free-radicals in the body which can cause cell damage. The generous percentage of antioxidant and vitamins C & E found in litchis help eliminate these free radicals and also keep the skin healthy." Litchis are best eaten raw, if you want to avail all the benefits of consuming it, but these recipes will take care of both – your nutrition and gourmet needs.  

Cooling Cucumber and Litchi Salad

01 litchis summer veggie guide

This raw cucumber and litchi salad is the yummiest way to chock up some micronutrients in the body. The fruits and the salad leaves are not only refreshing, but filling too. Make the dressing as zesty as you like and you will find that it is the perfect meal for a hot summer night. You can even add some cold shredded chicken or boiled chickpeas for some protein. Ingredients: ½ cup salad leaves, roughly torn 5-8 lychees, pitted and chopped 3-4 orange wedges, cut into sections 1 medium-sized cucumber, diced 1 tbsp olive oil ½ tsp chili flakes 4-5 mint leaves 1 tsp sugar (optional) 1 tbsp orange juice Zest of half an orange Salt to taste Method: In a salad bowl, mix together the salad leaves, orange, lychee and cucumbers. In another bowl, tear the fresh mint leaves, then crush them lightly and mix them with orange juice. Add sugar, olive oil and chili flakes and whisk. Add the dressing to the salad bowl and toss. Add salt as per taste and serve cold. Recipe and Image Courtesy: Namak Shamak  

Chocolate Ginger Stuffed Lychees

02 litchis summer veggie guide

These stuffed lychees make for fabulous low-indulgence desserts after dinner. Just stuff them, coat them in chocolate and freeze them. Pass around a tray of these when you are entertaining people at home and they will disappear in a jiffy. Ingredients: 450 gm tinned lychees in light syrup 20 small nuggets of crystallised ginger 200 gm good quality dark chocolate, at least 60 percent cocoa solids Method: Drain the lychees in a sieve, then dry carefully with kitchen paper towels. Leave them upside down on some kitchen paper towels to dry out. Melt the chocolate over a gentle heat – a double boiler arrangement is probably safest for this. Line a tray with baking paper. Insert a piece of ginger into each lychee. Using a fork, a skewer, or a dipping spoon, carefully drop each stuffed lychee into the chocolate and roll it around to coat. Remove from the chocolate and place on the lined tray. Repeat until all the lychees are coated. Put the dipped lychees in the fridge to set firm. Recipe and Image Courtesy: Kitchen Maid  

Tender Coconut and Lychee Pudding

03 litchis summer veggie guide

This is an easy recipe which requires no cooking at all and it is probably the best way to make and eat dessert. Just chop, mix, set and hey presto! The best part is that you'll probably lick your pudding bowl clean. Ingredients: 1¼ cup milk 6 tsps quick-set gelatin (or agar agar) ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk 1 cup tender coconut water/coconut juice/elaneer ¾ cup tender coconut meat, chopped ¾ cup canned lychees, strained and chopped Method: In a bowl, combine all ingredients with 1 cup of milk. Warm the remaining ¼ cup of milk and dissolve gelatin in it. Add this to the bowl with all other ingredients. Stir everything well. Pour in individual serving dishes and refrigerate till the pudding sets – probably about 2 hours. Recipe and Image Courtesy: Veggie Belly

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