Whether it is a tangy South Indian rasam, tandoori chicken, fried fish or a freshly tossed salad - a dash of lemon juice is what completes it. In the kitchen a lemon can do some sparkling things. We tell you why and how you should incorporate this summer ingredient in your kitchen adventures!
Health Mantra – Lemon is great for weight loss and has umpteen other health benefits. It’s a great way to flush out toxins, prevent stomach disorders and fevers, stay hydrated and in general fit. Low in calories and high in potassium, glass of warm lemon water in the morning and one in the night can be the panacea to all your weight woes. Roll the lemon on a countertop in order to break the tendrils inside that release more juice on squeezing.
In a Pickle – Summers in India are incomplete if you haven’t made a jar of some tangy lemon pickle! You can use lemons to make a variety of pickles. Right from a sweet lime pickle, which tastes a lot like chundda to a fiery one with green chillies – one constant though, is the beautiful sourness of the fruit.
Accompanies almost anything – Lemon juice has an ability to fit into any kind of flavour profile. Whether you want to use it to make tarts with lemon curd or in a lemon coriander soup – it blends in with ease and still holds its ground. Lemon juice and seafood is a match made in heaven. A piece of grilled fish served with lemon slices is as divine as a whole chicken roasted with lemon wedges in it.
Freshens your breath – The highly acidic nature of lemon, helps it alter the PH level of your mouth, killing bacteria that produces bad odor. A lemon and mint sorbet is a light summer dessert that not just refreshes you on lethargic summer afternoons, but also acts as a palate cleanser and gives you fresh minty breath.
Black lemon avatar- A popular ingredient in Persian cooking and some Arabic regions where they are known as loomi, these are more like limes than they are lemons. Boiling and sun drying fresh limes, gives it a tangy earthy flavour that is both unique and delicious. Buy this in powdered form and sprinkle over any dish you want to infuse with that earthy tang!
Use the zest - After you have used a lemon, don’t throw away the skin. Use a lemon zester to peel the rind and add in cakes, cookie batters and a zillion other things. Alternatively bake in an oven, on low temperature till they become dry and hard. Then crush them with a rolling pin. Store and use this powdered rind in your recipes. Even make tangy candied lemon peel.
Use the leaves – Lemon leaves have a beautiful aroma and a slightly bitter after taste. Kaffir lime leaves are most popular globally, but even good old ordinary lemon leaves can be put to many culinary uses. A great way to use it this summer is to make a simple chaas and glam it up with the flavour of crushed lemon leaves, curry leaves, pounded ginger and a hint of black salt. You can also use the leaves to flavour mild fish and seafood curries.
Get rid of smells and stains – Ever wondered why your finger bowl comes with a slice of lemon in it? Lemon has a great ability to get rid of stains and odours, even as strong as turmeric. Place a lemon wedge in your refrigerator or oven, not only will it remove any unwanted odor but also replace it with a fresh lemony fragrance.
Prevent foods from turning brown- Don’t you just hate it when avocados and apples and a ton of other fruits and veggies lose the beautiful bright colours, once cut. Rub a little lemon juice over these, the acidic nature of lime prevents the oxidization and blackening of these fruits and also lends its lovely flavour.
Ready refreshers – Make instant lemonade by freezing lime juice and sugar in ice cube trays. When you have unexpected guests, just put two cubes in a glass of water or green tea and a cool tangy drink is ready to serve. You can even toss in a cube of this in a fresh salad for a beautiful sweet tangy taste – it also keeps the veggies in your salad crisp.
When life gives you lemons you can do so many more things than make lemonade or look for tequila. For brilliant lemony recipes browse through SanjeevKapoor.com
Lemon Curd Tarts, Lemon Rasmalai Cheesecake, Lemon and Pumpkin Rice, Melon with Lemon, Grilled Lemon Chicken, Lemon Chilli Fish with Kurmura, Orangtini, Lemon Mint, Air Fried Lemon Fish, Water Melon Lemonade
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.