Simple pleasures of Monsoon | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 07, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 07, 2020

in search of comfort food

Simple pleasures of Monsoon

This season is one of the most fruitful when it comes to delicious local produce. And here are some quick and simple recipes to take full advantage of the produce and make something utterly delicious.


This is a simple syrup that can be made and stored in the refrigerator and is perfect for humid days.


½ cup water

½ cup fresh lime juice

½ cup sugar

1 cup ripe mango

1½ tbsp dried rose petals

1 tsp cardamom powder


In a small pot, add the water, sugar, mango, dried rose petals and cardamom powder over medium heat. Bring to a boil and keep stirring until the consistency is of a syrup. Add the ½ cup of fresh lime juice, this changes the colour of the syrup to a beautiful pink. Strain using a strainer in to a glass jar and let the syrup cool. Serve with chilled water or carbonated water.


This salad is perfect for the season as it is light, fresh and cooling. Lychees can be replaced with ripe mangos, or both of the seasonal fruits can be used for this salad.


4 cups water

500g prawns (deshelled and cleaned)

20 lychees (peeled, halved and destoned) or 1 large ripe mango (peeled and cut into cubes)

2 cups arugula or a salad leaf of your choice

1 cup fresh mint (chopped)

1 cup fresh coriander (chopped)

2 tbsp spring onions (chopped)

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the dressing —

Juice from half a lime

1 red chilli

1 tbsp jaggery

2 tsp fish sauce

For the toppings —

Large handful roasted peanuts (roughly chopped)

Small handful crispy fried onions or garlic (optional)


In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, reduce the flame to medium and add salt (about ½ to 1 teaspoon). Poach the prawns for 4-5 minutes until they turn opaque pink. If they start curling into C's, they have been overcooked. The prawns can be transferred to an ice bath or simply kept in the fridge to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add the lychees/mangos, arugula, fresh mint leaves, fresh coriander leaves and spring onions. Lightly season with salt and pepper before adding the poached prawns.

In a mortar and pestle or an electric grinder, add the juice from half a lime, red chilli, jaggery and fish sauce and turn into a dressing. Pour this over the salad and mix well.

Plate the salad and serve with roasted peanuts and crispy fried onions or garlic.


Food and Photo: Sobia Ameen

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