When you think of hot summer’s days your mind may well go straight to the barbecue. But there are plenty of other meal ideas that are ideal for sunny summers. A little spice, for example, can increase your blood circulation, making you perspire and ultimately helping to cool you down. For comfortable nights after a long, sunny day in your garden, here are three spicy, hot meal ideas that you might like to try. They could be the perfect way to use up some of the produce that you have grown in your polytunnel.
Spicy, Hot Meal Ideas: Thai-Inspired Green Curry
There are plenty of Thai curries that you can make at home. Many recipes use chillies, ginger, lemongrass and garlic to make a paste – all of which you may have grown in your own polytunnel. Add the paste of the above ingredients, along with, perhaps, a dash of lime, and a dash of soy sauce to coconut milk and simmer summer vegetables such as French beans, courgettes, carrots or whatever else you have available in this sauce to create your Thai inspired curry. One of the good things about these hot, spicy meal ideas is that you can easily customise them to make them as mild or as hot as you like. Serve your Thai curry simply with some rice.
A Simple Vegetable Daal
Another very easy way to make a curry this month is to use whatever vegetables you have to hand to enrich a simple lentil daal. Add some oil to a pan and simmer some onions along with your chilli, cumin, turmeric… or the spice mix of your choice. Then add water, vegetable stock, red lentils and some tomatoes (or tomato paste) along with whatever vegetables you wish and cook until the lentils are soft. Serve with rice or flat breads and yoghurt to cool it down a little if you wish.
A Vegan Cashew Korma
Vegans will not be left out when it comes to summer curry ideas. Nut curries can be a delicious and nutritious choice for those who do not eat meat or dairy. Like the Thai curry described above, a cashew korma can be made with coconut milk, so will be suitable for vegans to enjoy. Garam masala spice mix can be simmered in a pan with a little vegetable oil or olive oil, onions and garlic. You can then add your coconut milk and some seasonal vegetables and simmer the mix until the vegetables are softened and the flavours have infused. The cashews can be added towards the end of the process to add protein and thicken the mix. Kormas can be a family-friendly choice – with some spice – but not too much.
The spicy, hot meal ideas described above are just three of the wide range of curries that you can create – many of the ingredients of which you can grow in your own polytunnel. Check out our grow guides to discover how to grow some popular vegetables, herbs and spices and let us know what meals you enjoy this month and throughout the summer in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.