incorporating these Goan ingredients into your diet can help you stay cool this summer


incorporating these Goan ingredients into your diet can help you stay cool this summer

~ With rising temperatures predicted in the coming weeks in Goa, maintaining a diet replete with cooling foods and beverages is extremely important to prevent heat-related illnesses.

~ Fortunately, there are several local ingredients that are efficient in combating the heat and should be a staple in everyone’s diet in the coming weeks.


Panaji, April 2024: With soaring temperatures forecasted by the Indian Meteorological Department in the coming weeks in Goa and the state government issuing a summer advisory to deal with the rising heat, keeping oneself cool is imperative.


To prevent heat-related illnesses, experts recommend that one should incorporate hydrating and cooling foods and beverages into one’s diet. Fortunately, there are several local ingredients widely available that aid in this endeavour and can be added to create summer-friendly dishes and beverages.


“It is of paramount importance that one should regulate their body temperature through dietary alterations during the summer months in Goa. Recommended coolers to keep oneself hydrated are coconut water, fresh fruits like watermelon and pineapple, kokum juice and sol kadi (kokum curry) to improve gut health and replenish electrolytes, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins lost to sweat and temperature regulation,” stated Varsha Bhide, consultant nutritionist and dietician, Healthway Hospitals, Old Goa.


“Kokum is a readily available, beloved ingredient in Goa. Syrup extracted from the fruit of the kokum tree, renowned for its cooling properties, makes for the perfect summer drink. I also enjoy experimenting with kokum, incorporating it into various recipes,” said Chef Alison Melroy Fernandes, faculty chef at the Verna-based Kamaxi College of Culinary Arts (KCCA).


Chef Fernandes also lists cashew neero, the sweet, unfermented juice of the cashew apple, as a preferred summer beverage and ambade sasav or Goan hog plum curry as a dish that is compatible with the summer heat.


According to Pranav Dhuri, co-owner of Petisco Goa, the summer-favourite fruit, mango, which can be ‘heaty’ if eaten in large quantities, has been adapted into a cooling avatar in Petisco Goa’s summer menu.


“The ‘Coco Ambo’ gin-based cocktail utilises Mankurad mangoes and coconut milk for a refreshing drink. Our cocktails made with urrak, the traditional Goan spirit from the juice of fermented cashew apples, are also effective coolers. We also utilise cooling ingredients like cashew apple, tender coconut flesh, jackfruit, breadfruit, raw mangoes, bilimbis (bimbli) and kokum in our menu offerings,” said Dhuri, who is also secretary of the National Restaurant Association of India – Goa Chapter.


Former Goa Agricultural Officer and executive committee member of the Botanical Society of Goa, Miguel Braganza, fondly known as the ‘Plant Man’ of Goa, highlights the importance of wood apple or bel fruit, known as belfoll in Konkani, in overcoming heat exhaustion.


“Syrups made from belfoll are available in stores in Margao and efficiently combat the heat. People should also consume more raw onion in salad form – its benefits were first reported during the construction of the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, when raw onion was given to the workers to prevent sunstroke,” stated Braganza.


Maria Flavia Costa, a homemaker from Mapusa, prepares mango sasav, a sweet mango curry and samarachi kodi, a tangy dried prawn and dried mango every summer, as cooling meals for the family.

“Made with ripe mango, mustard seeds, salt, jaggery, coconut, ginger, garlic and chilli powder, mango sasav is a cooling dish that anyone can prepare during the summer,” said Costa.

Adding these ingredients to one’s daily summer diet will help the people of Goa to beat the heat and stay hydrated and nourished.

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