By the Skin of the Fruit?
It is always good sense to cook with ingredients that are in season. So how about some watermelon curry?
Have you tried making a side dish made from watermelon rind. It’s popularly eaten in the arid regions of Rajasthan but isn’t something that one is familiar with in the Southern states. For the past few summers we have searched and ferreted out organically grown watermelon and savoured every bit of its deliciousness. Having received a ripe juicy watermelon from our organic supplier this year, we plan to feast on this seasonal treat as often as possible.
As college girls, we would consume enormous amounts of watermelon fresh off the roadside and discard the rinds with nary a thought! I always hesitated to throw out the rind, because it looked so pretty. Then, last year, thumbing through one of my speciality cookbooks, I stumbled upon pickled watermelon rind, which I tried. After removing skin, the pale ends went into a big pot of water with sea salt, natural sugar, dried herbs, chilli flakes and vinegar. After several minutes of boiling, it was left to simmer, reduce and then taken of the stove to cool.
The long juliennes of rind were appealingly translucent but still retained a bit of crunch. The sugar, vinegar and salt had worked their magic and the pickled watermelon tasted exactly like the bottled gherkins that we bought at the store. It livened up our cheese platters on more than one occasion. It also keeps very well in the refrigerator up to a year.
If we actually took a closer look at the white portion at the base of the watermelon, the texture and consistency are similar to that of a cucumber. The rind is loaded with health benefits. It contains an amino acid called citrulline, which relaxes the blood vessels, eases muscular cramps and relieves heartburn.
But in order to enjoy the benefits , it is imperative to source watermelons free from chemicals and pesticides. So the dark green strips of outer skin were the only part thrown in the compost bin. It feels so good to not waste and live as nature intended us to. Why not try your hand at a different kind of pickling this summer? The recipe is quite straightforward, consisting of ghee, dry spices. The subzi paired with the phulkas made an incredibly simple yet satisfying meal. This dish tastes good even when chilled, perfect when not everyone likes to eat piping hot curries in summer.