Want to eat outside? Try our no-cook dishes and BBQ ideas
Asian and Middle Eastern inspired no-cook savoury dishes that won’t keep you chained to the stove. Follow the links for grilling recipes and summer wines
Domini Kemp’s Asian Gazpacho. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Who wants to be slaving over a hot stove when the sun’s shining and a post-work glass of icy rosé or frosted glass of beer is waiting? Here are five recipes that involve very little cooking, or none at all, and will reward your minimal effort with maximum flavour.
Summer heat can dull the appetite a little, so fresh, zingy Asian and Middle Eastern dishes often appeal at this time of year. An unusual gazpacho influenced by south east Asia, a Persian salad of refreshing tomatoes, cucumber and onion, and a Japanese sesame chicken dish that can be served warm or cold, fit the bill for these balmy evenings. And it’s peak berry season, so for dessert make the most of those Irish-grown beauties that are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as being as sweet as candy.
Domini Kemp’s Asian Gazpacho takes a Spanish classic and shakes it up with the vibrant flavours of the east. Summer staples tomato and avocado get added richness from coconut milk, and the no-cook dish comes together with the freshness of lemon and lime, the fragrance of coriander, basil and ginger, and a touch of fish sauce. “It can be a little over the top in terms of coconut flavour, so feel free to increase the amount of tomatoes and lime juice,” Kemp advises.
Sabrina Ghayour’s debut cookbook, Persiana, won multiple awards last year, and it’s full of hot weather dishes, including Shirazi Salad, a chilled chopped tomato, cucumber and red onion dish that reveals its origins by the addition of the lemony spice sumac, and pomegranate seeds. It’s amazing the difference cutting the vegetables into tiny cubes makes to this salad, and Ghayour’s recipe gives precise instructions for this task. “This dish is pretty much the national salad of Iran, if we actually had a national salad, of course. Shirazi is the most common accompaniment to most meals,” Ghayour tells us. It’s also a good accompaniment to barbecued meats.
Makiko Sano runs a Japanese restaurant, Suzu, in Hammersmith, west London, and has written two excellent cookery books. Her recipe for Steamed Sesame Chicken Salad, from the first of these, Sushi Slim, features an interesting dressing of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, salt and chicken stock, which she combines with the crispness of Iceberg lettuce and shredded poached chicken. The rigour of Japanese cooking comes across in her very precise instructions on poaching the chicken breast, but you could use any sort of cold cooked chicken or turkey here. “This is my family’s favourite salad; it’s filling and tasty but incredibly healthy,” she says.
For dessert, it’s time to raid the fruit bowl for Irish strawberries and raspberries and turn them into ice cream and sorbet. Domini Kemp’s Strawberry and Black Pepper Ice-Cream teams the hot spice with lots of ripe fruit for a sophisticated take on an icy dessert that is a good match for the Asian flavours that have gone before. There is no quantity given for the black pepper, it’s a matter of taste. Add some, try a spoonful, and take it from there, remembering that freezing dulls the flavours slightly. It’s a no-churn ice, so you don’t need an ice-cream maker, just pop it in the freezer and forget about it.
Trish Deseine’s Raspberry Sorbet would be a perfect, cooling end note to a spicy supper. Her recipe calls for frozen raspberries, but you can use fresh ones. This will require occasional visits to the freezer to break up the ice crystals if you don’t have an ice-cream machine, but it will give you an excuse to top up your glass while you’re there.