Saturday, September 5, 2020

Let's Have a Chat About Watermelon Chaat


While cooking and learning about Indian food for the last 30 years, I've made a variety of chaats. If you've never had a chaat, it's an Indian snack food. Chaats can contain a variety of ingredients, and most of the chaats I've made over the years have been for movie nights, big parties, any place one would serve popcorn, nuts, or my moms favorite the dreaded every-party-no-matter-what... Chex Mix. Believe me Chex Mix is a pale imitation of a good Indian chaat, even though it might contain some of the same ingredients.

Here's a sample of how it can be served and the recipe I used is  here 

This chaat recipe is one of the first, if not the first post I ever put up on this blog 11 years ago . This was back when I was cooking and holding the  camera in my teeth. The pictures certainly reflect that. Since then, Alan has taken over the photo duties and he really knows what he's doing as evidenced  above.

A chaat can even be turned into a salad, even the infamous Chick Sal...hold the sandwich part just make it a chaat instead. The recipe for this is here.

 But now it's Summer. We're in the middle of a heat alert, temperatures are expected to reach 107 tomorrow and that calls for something cool and refreshing, and NOT chicken. That's when I found out about Watermelon Chaat. It showed up in the NY Times cooking section and I have to admit I was intrigued, and I had to try it. I don't buy watermelon very frequently, but this had me out looking for one. A small one, seedless is just the right size, and believe me a small watermelon makes plenty of chaat.

So grab your watermelon and let's go chaat.

Watermelon Chaat

 Here's What You Need:

1 Watermelon (about 2 lbs)

3/4 tsp cumin seeds 

1/4 tsp sweet paprika

1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper

1/4 tsp amchur powder (dried green mango powder)

1 pinch of cayenne , I use Kashmiri chili powder

1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or kosher salt

1/3 cup of fresh squeezed orange, clementine or mandarin juice

3 or 4 fresh mint leaves


Here's What To Do:

Cut the watermelon into 1 inch cubes.

put them in a large baking dish, or serving dish. They should be spread in a single layer.

In a small pan dry roast the cumin seeds for a couple of minutes until they darken a bit and become fragrant.

When they've toasted, grind them with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Don't grind them too fine, as you want that texture in the dish.

Put the ground cumin in a small bowl and add the other spices.

Juice the orange and add that to the bowl and stir it well.

Pour the mixture over the watermelon cubes.

Chop the mint leaves and sprinkle them over and mix them in.

Make sure the watermelon is coated with the seasoning, then cover the dish with plastic wrap...

...and pop it into the fridge to chill for 1 to 6 hours.

Serve well chilled and enjoy!!

 So that's what we're  planning on enjoying later this evening. Right now it's 105 so you know we're not playing. If you're doing any sort of grilling outside this Labor Day weekend you might want to check out  Tandoor Aloo, which is tandoor roasted potatoes on a can also make them on a regular BBQ grill but a Tandoor is so much more fun!

Coming up next, cooking for weather, no matter where you are I've got your shelf stable cooking right here. After I got done with covid back in May, I've taken back the cooking duties, and between us we haven't eaten anything in this house that we haven't cooked or baked ourselves since the end of February. So follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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