How to beat the rest of summer with these fresh Asian meal ideas

Admit it, there is nothing lighter than Asian food on a hot day.

Harper's Bazaar India

When the weather crosses 40 degrees, a bowl of cold salad is a sure shot respite to help you beat the lethargy. But it's not just the time-tested Greek and Mediterranean salad recipes you should turn to this season; Asian cuisine has a plethora of recipes that will equally deliver in terms of flavour, appearance, and ease of making. So, move on from the usual French and Italian dressings to experiment with something more flavourful and saucy. Read on to find four recipes that are perfect for these hot, summer days.

Thai crunch salad


2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp lemongrass stalk (grated), 3 tsp rice vinegar, 3 tbsp lime juice, 3 tsp peanut oil, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp honey, 1 garlic clove (grated), 1-inch piece of ginger (grated), 4 tbsp cilantro, 1 cup cabbage (chopped), 1 cup carrots (shredded), 1 red bell pepper (julienned), 1 cucumber (cut into batons), 1 onion (sliced), salt as per taste, crushed peanuts for garnish.


In a bowl, combine peanut butter with lemongrass stalk, rice vinegar, lime juice, peanut oil, soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and salt. Whisk it into a thin paste and keep aside. In a bowl, mix cilantro leaves with cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, cucumber, and onions and toss well. Pour the dressing on top and mix well. Serve immediately.

Vietnamese salad roll


5 sheets of rice paper, 5 shrimps (cooked), 1 cup cabbage (shredded), 1 cup carrots (shredded), 1 tbsp basil leaves (chopped), 1 tbsp coriander leaves (chopped), 1 cucumber (cut into batons), salt as per taste.


On a clean platform, lay one rice sheet and place shrimp on top. Place cabbage, carrots, basil leaves, coriander, and cucumbers neatly on top of each other and roll the sheet. Fasten the roll by sealing the salad roll with a wet fingertip. Chill and serve. 

Lotus root and sesame salad


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1 cup lotus root (cleaned and sliced), 1 carrot (blanched and quartered), 1/2 cup green beans (blanched and chopped), 2 tsp sesame oil, 2 cups vegetable stock, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp mirin, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tbsp Japanese mustard, 1 tsp sesame seeds. 


In a pan, heat sesame oil and add lotus root and carrots to it. Add vegetable stock and allow the mixture to bubble. Once the vegetables are cooked, strain them out and keep aside. In a bowl mix these veggies with green beans and toss well. In another bowl mix mayonnaise with Japanese mustard, mirin, and soy sauce. Pour this dressing over the vegetables and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve cold.

Potato sphere with Thai tomato sauce


1 cup potato (par-boiled), oil for frying, salt, pepper, and paprika for seasoning.

Ingredients for the garlic and lemon coating

1/2 olive oil, 3 tbsp garlic (minced), 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup garlic chives, salt, 2 tbsp sriracha, pepper, and oregano as per taste.

Ingredients for the Thai tomato sauce

1/2 cup cucumber (grated and water squeezed out), 1 tbsp Thai tomato sauce, 1 tbsp water, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup spring onions (finely chopped), 1/2 cup coriander (finely chopped), 1/4 cup sweet corn (boiled), salt and pepper to taste.


Scoop potatoes out with a scooper and fry them in hot oil to bring out crispy potato spheres. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano and keep aside. In a blender, mix all the ingredients for the garlic and lemon coating and drizzle this coating into the potato-filled bowl. Once they are well tossed, skewer them onto satay sticks. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients mentioned under the Thai tomato sauce section and serve in a cup alongside the crispy fried potatoes.

Lead image credit: Unsplash

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