Jai and Bee chose the perfect fruit for this month's AFAM event started very thoughtfully by Maheshwari. Atleast here in the US you cannot escape them in the stores this summer. Wal-mart has placed cartons of them right next to the entrance as if it were possible for customers to fail to see these over sized melons. And after all the posts showing up in the blogs with ppl using the peels with immense creativity, I was feeling guilty if I threw away even half of them !! hmph...blogging does make you do weird things :))
So here go my three favorite ways of savoring the melon this summer:
If you find eating the fruit just as is a little too simple for your food blogging' ego then dress it up a little with salt, pepper and your favorite chaat masala to get a wonderful Watermelon Chaat.
But if you or your friends are lazy to eat the fruit then pulse it in the blender with a little salt, a pinch of pepper, amchur for extra zing and a teaspoon of lemon zest to bring in the pizazz. Enjoy this Watermelon cooler !
After all this if you should have quite a good amount of watermelon peel all for yourself, and now you can start experimenting ! I attempted a watermelon peel chutney with it some time last year and found it to be too watery, so this time I decided to dress it up a little. It was a totally unplanned recipe. I wanted to use the peel no matter what and started opening up the kitchen closet and pantry looking for things I could add to the chutney. The result was one of the best chutneys I have had. I just loved it and am definitely going to make it more often now. I am sure you guys will like it too.
Ingredients:This chutney was a shocker, the taste was really really good. All the ingredients fell into place perfectly well lending their own special flavors to the chutney. The slight crunch from the watermelon peel, nuttiness from the peanuts, freshness from the cilantro and coconut and the subtle tanginess from the mango-ginger was fabulous. I got a huge bowl of chutney from this and is has lasted well in the fridge too. Try this one and I am sue will want to make it often too.
- Peel from half a big watermelon, roughly 3 cups chopped (only the light green color, minus the hard green exterior)
- 1/2 cup - peanuts, dry roasted
- 1/2 cup - Coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup - grated Coconut (I used the frozen fresh ones from the Indian stores, if using dry flakes hydrate them in water for a few minutes)
- 1 inch piece of Mango-Ginger/a tsp of tamarind extract
- 1 Tbsp - Oil
- 1 tsp - Mustard seeds & Cumin seeds/jeera
- 2 tsp - Chana dal
- 1 tsp - Coriander seeds/dhania
- 2 nos - Red chillies,broken
- a pinch of hing/asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- Dry roast the peanuts until they turn a little golden in color and allow to cool. Next heat a little oil in the pan and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Once they start to pop add the chana dal. As the dal turns golden in color add the red chillies and coriander seeds and take off the stove. Add the hing to it now and allow to cool.
- To the same pan add the watermelon peel and saute for a few minutes. A few edges will start to char and start turning a pale brown. I did this to get rid of a little moisture and also to loose some raw flavor. Turn off the heat and add the frozen coconut to the peels to thaw them out.
- ~I used a spice grinder to coarsely powder the above ingredients first and then moved them to the food processor to pulse with the rest. This was only because the food processor failed to grind them otherwise. If using a blender you can do all the grinding in one step.~
Now add the watermelon peel, cilantro, coconut, mango-ginger, and the rest of the powdered tadka ingredients, salt to taste and pulse to a coarse consistency.
- Serve with rice/chapati/dosa for a wonderfully refreshing taste
I am now off to Bee n Jai's for the round up.