Must have summer food in India to cool off in desi style

summer food in India

Aren’t summers the time you relate to everything bright and full of life? Ironically however, the scorching summer sun seeks to take all life from us. But nature has also been kind enough to grant us summer respite in the most amazing ways possible. India, the land of exotic traditions and the savviest of natural foods, is specifically blessed when it comes to taking the summer heat head on. Here are some must have summer food in India to cool off in desi style-

Nimbu Paani

The go- to drink for every hard core Indian every time they return from a date with the sun, all sweaty and gleamy. A humble glass of nimbu paani is all the heavenly nectar you need to satiate your spirits. Cold lemon water, zested up with salt and some mild spices, and some sugar is the perfect way to ward off the heat in true desi style.

Ganne ka Ras

For those who can’t do without their daily dose of sweetness, sugarcane juice is the cooling detour to opt for. Loaded with natural saccharines, ganne ka ras is all the remedy you needed for that sugar rush! Summer food in India is incomplete with this purely desi mocktail!

Nariyal Paani

You may call it bland, but deep down you know you wouldn’t find anything more refreshing than sipping on coconut water on a dreary hot day. Nutrition and goodness apart, nariyal paani is steeped in all the coolness you will need this summer.

Or the entire nariyal itself!

Like the water it holds, the coconut fruit also is high on electrolytes and a whole lot of essential minerals and nutrients. A nice way to dig into the hollow deliciousness of the nut after you are done sucking its juices!

Saunf sherbet

saunf sherbet
Source: Better Butter

Saunf is the quintessential element of Indian cuisines that completes every meal. The mouth freshener that you need to experience that wholesomeness even after a flavourful meal, fennel seeds are aromatically appealing as well.

A well known summer cooler saunf sherbet is another refreshing drink to seek solace in the heat of the summers. Fennel seeds are soaked overnight and the water is made zesty with the addition of pinches of sugar, black salt and a dash of lemon juice. Energising and refreshing to the core, you can ditch your morning cuppa for this delightful glass on particularly hot days.


Colorful, splashy and fun- there’s no summer emotion that the queen of the ices, the gola does not encompass. I mean, ice creams and shakes are all fine but none of these have the desi humble vibes of the gola. Trust me, there’s a certain romance to sucking in on the colorful flakes of ice that make up this summer street delight in India. Gola is the one very summer food in India that you should totally indulge in.


The reason why buttermilk is effective as a summer coolant is mainly endowed by its slight tangy flavor. The indigenous Indian chaas has forever been noted for its utterly cooling properties. Freshly churned buttermilk has to be one of those summerly delectable drinks you can carelessly binge on.


Coming close on the heels of the refreshing buttermilk is an equally delicious bowl of curd. As an after- meal palate cleanser, as a healthy dessert or even as a way to kill those mid- mealtime hunger pangs, a serving of dahi does it all.

Versatile to the core, dahi can be had with everything. Curd rice, fruits curd, plain curd, flavoured curd, curd ice cream- there’s no end to the recipes you can churn out with curd. Refreshing, cooling and luscious, unlike any thing you have ever digged into!


All of us as kids had been amazed at this icy cool feeling in the throat every time you popped in some mint candy. So we have no qualms in including this herb of green prettiness as being a must have summer food in India.

Try a mint infused glass of water or herbal tea on a hot day to know how effectively cooling it can be. For people on the fancier side, you always have a variety of mint ice creams and smoothies and mocktails to choose from. And for those essentially Indian meal rompers, mint chutney is always on the menu!


Aren’t faloodas like the most blissful food in the world, at least in summers? And it’s Indian, I mean Indians have respectfully ‘derived’ this drink from the Iranian faloodeh with true desi elements.

Mouth wateringly cool, this delightful concoction of colors and flavours is also as healthy as it can get. Rose water, basil seeds, rice or wheat flour vermicelli as the base for the falooda made more eye catching with the addition of nuts and fruits- could we have even gone any closer to heaven? We don’t even want to!


Summer wouldn’t have been half the beauty it is if it weren’t for mangoes. The King of fruits make even those hot days seem like a breezy affair. Biting into the sweetness of ripe, luscious mangoes with the juice making its way all over you is one of our fondest childhood memories.

But for folks who like to take it fancy, you don’t really need to mess up with mangoes. Aamras or pulpy mango juice is the summer food in India that lets you relax, minus the hassle.

Aamras can be savoured as a dessert or as a side to other Indian staples- puris and phoolkeys. Either way, this utterly sweet treat makes summer all the more bearable for all.

Aam Panna

It isn’t that it’s just the ripeness of mangoes that leave us salivating. The raw ones also hold their own appeal. Raw mangoes are juiced and then stirred with mild spices and salt. Whether it be for the tanginess or the refreshing aroma of it, a chilled glass of aam panna has all it takes to instantly cool you down.


Source: Burpee Seeds

What’s summer without watermelons? Tarmooj, as they are known in this part of the world, the enticingly reddish pink fruit has summer written all over it. It is basically water- so you already know it’s made to feast on to ward off the heat. Plus it’s tasty and really cool. And oh wait, the thrill of biting into the melon slice and acing the seed spitting game is one we can’t ever miss out on!

You can take your pick from watermelon smoothies or granitas, and even a whole lot of savoury options to choose from. You would be surprised to know but watermelon can be explored in ways you have never conceived of!


A perfect summer fruit, the kharbooja or musk melon is as high on water as its rhyming fruity counterpart- the watermelon. As a body hydrant and a fruit that instantly regulates the body heat, musk melons are one of the many blessings of summer.

Amla juice

Either be it for its theraupetic properties or its cooling power, amlas are a quintessential summer food in India. A powerhouse of vitamins, the Indian gooseberry is one of those citrus fruits that delivers coolness with its tanginess. With a somewhat astringent taste, amla juice is a potent cooler during the hot summer months.