Watermelon and summer seem to go hand in hand, the perfect combination – sublime & even blissful. We are big watermelon fans in our house, we enjoy the fruit & also love the juice. But our absolute favorite is Watermelon Rind Chutney – made from the lovely white part residing quietly between the fruit and its hard green exterior. This has to be one of the most underutilized parts of the watermelon. Watermelon rind is very healthy & nutritious. It is rich in Vitamins A, B6 and C. It is also high in both beta-carotene & lycopene.
Chutneys are a delicious Indian condiment. The word “chutney” is actually a British term derived from the Hindi word “chatni”, meaning, “to crush”. Chutneys are very popular all over India and are quite simple to make. Chutneys come in a wide range of bold and exciting flavors ranging from spicy to sweet, savory, tangy and even sour. They also vary in textures depending upon the ingredients used and their preparation. There are two main types of chutneys: fresh and preserved and they can either be wet or dry in nature.
Fruit based chutneys in particular are a wonderful and delicate balance of tastes and flavors. You can always adjust the ingredients to create a more sweeter, tart or spicy chutney. Regardless, fresh home made chutneys will always add an exotic Indian touch to any meal.
Personally, I prefer to use the rind from the small baby watermelons. The rind is sweeter & more tender. The versatile chutney goes great on just about anything from bagels to kebabs and even pizza. So I encourage you to take a little step outside the culinary box & try my delicious Watermelon Rind Chutney – really, you’re just gonna love it!
WATERMELON RIND CHUTNEY
½ lb watermelon rind (white part only), small dice
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi), ground coarsely
3-4 small dried red chilies, to taste
2-3 tbsp of sugar, to taste
salt to taste
½ tsp tamarind concentrate (or tamarind powder), to taste
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
In a small saucepan on medium low heat, add the watermelon rind pieces. Then add the bay leaf, ginger and sugar along with 2 cups or so of water. Stir well & let cook for 20-25 minutes or until the watermelon rind has slightly broken down and softened. Now add in the salt & tamarind, stir & let cook for 5-6 more minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl & set aside until needed.
In a small skillet on medium high, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds. Once they have stopped splattering, add the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and dried red chilies. Sauté until the spices start to sizzle and after a few seconds, directly pour over the watermelon rind chutney. Serve with your favorite meal. Keep refrigerated and eat within 1 week.
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