The month of Ashaadh comes to an end around mid-August and that is a sign that the monsoon will slowly begin its retreat from most of western and southern India. This month, there are not too many different vegetables and fruits than the ones we saw last month, but there definitely isn’t any dearth of the season’s bounty.
Here’s what we recommend you put in your shopping basket this month:
Sitaphal (Custard Apple)
This fruit may be ugly looking but it can satisfy your sweet cravings in just a few spoonfuls. Do not fear the sugars though; they are accompanied by a good amount of fibre in the fruit thereby allowing the sugars to be gradually absorbed in the body rather than leading to a sugar rush. The leaves of the custard apple tree are also considered to have high levels of antioxidants and minerals, and are used extensively in Ayurvda. Treat yourself to a little custard apple at breakfast or blend it in your smoothie with a dash of Matcha tea.
Tender green Okra is available in plenty in this season but a monsoon variety of Okra, large and pale green in colour, is also available around this time. It is fleshier and known as “velvet white okra” in some places. Use it in much the same ways as you would regular okra—in subzis or kadhis or even stir fried and added to cool yogurt. Or slice lengthways into thin strips and crisp them up in the oven with a drizzle of oil—serve these with a hung yogurt dip!
The month of Shraavan will begin mid-August, and several people prefer to go completely vegetarian during this month. In the absence of animal protein, lentils provide a filling alternative and satisfy the protein and mineral requirements of the body. Try using whole lentils in soups along with vegetables or use them as a base for shepherd-style pies.
The turn of the season also means a drop in immunity. Eating seasonal helps, of course, but those sniffles and bloating could do with a little extra help. Amla powder is also excellent for hair health, digestive ease, and heart health. Try adding it to your vegetable juices or smoothies at least once a day or simply mix a spoonful with a spot of honey, ghee, or sesame oil and follow it up with a glass of warm water.