Healthy Iftar by Dr. Green | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 13, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 13, 2021

Healthy Iftar by Dr. Green

This week, we will share four watermelon recipes — one for a juice, one for a dessert, one for an appetiser and one for a main dish.

We will need the pureed rind and the rind juice repeatedly, so we will share that recipe first.

To make the pureed watermelon rind, discard the green skin and around half an inch of the white part beneath it. Use the rest of the part till the slightly reddish part to make the paste. Cut them into small pieces or grate them. You can make the paste in a blender. Now use a soft cloth to separate the pulp and the liquid. Keep this liquid rind juice in a glass.

MELONCHIA JUICE

You can make the juice in two ways —

The simpler way

Ingredients

150g watermelon, diced

100ml watermelon rind juice

Pulp of 1 date (for a healthy sweetness)

50g chia seed

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a blender except the chia seeds. Add the chia before serving. You can reduce the quantity of chia if you want. Chia might be tiny in size, but they are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Chia, a whole grain food, is naturally gluten free and loaded with fibre, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium and various other micronutrients. Adding them in your iftar will make you full healthily and boost your energy in a steady manner.

Note — Adding the rind juice gives a beautiful earthy flavour to the watermelon juice. Keep in the refrigerator and serve just before iftar. 

For a minty twist

Ingredients

150g watermelon, diced

100g watermelon rind juice

Pulp of 1 date

Pinch of black salt

¼ of a green chilli

4-5 fresh mint leaves

50g chia seed

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Keep in the refrigerator and serve just before iftar with chia seeds. 

Note — Sometimes we go a bit extra with mint leaves and children reject it. Adding 4-5 leaves keep the flavour subtle adding the healthy benefits. ¼th of green chilli does not make it hot, but adds a nice chilli flavour. Play with it according to your taste-bud.

SHALLOW FRIED MELON-RIND FRITTER

Ingredients

1 cup grated watermelon rind

½ cup grated potato

½ cup grated carrot

1 cup ground oat

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 green chillies

2 medium sized onions

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp red chilli powder

½ tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

a bunch of coriander leaves

75 ml watermelon rind juice

Method

Mix everything together and turn into a paste. The paste should be sticky. If you do not like the earthy flavour of the rind juice, you can use water instead.

In the pan, add olive oil or mustard oil, once the oil is shimmering, take a big scoop of the mixture and put in the oil. Flatten a bit to get your preferred shape. Cook for 2-3 minutes in one side and flip to cook for another 1-2 min until nicely brown and crispy. Do not leave the stove side as these can easily get burnt.

Note — If you do not have or like oats, you can use all-purpose flour. Oats and almond flour are healthier alternatives to the regular all-purpose one.

THE NUTTY-MELO SALAD

Ingredients

For the salad —

2 cups of watermelon, peeled, cut into cubes

½ cup cucumber, cubed

9-10 green grapes, halved

4-5 black/red grapes, halved

5-6 fresh mint leaves, chopped roughly

1 roughly chopped lettuce leaf

5-6 roasted cashew nuts

For the dressing —

100g sour curd

½ tsp black salt

½ tsp black pepper

2 tbsp honey/liquid jaggery

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp tamarind pulp paste

To make the dressing —

Mix the tamarind pulp and lime juice in the blender. For the tamarind pulp, I actually used Dr. Green's tamarind dressing. If you are using the tamarind pulp directly, you can add one teaspoon of mustard oil, red chilli flakes, extra salt and pepper to it. When the tamarind turns into a paste, add to rest of the ingredients and mix lightly with a whisk. Do not put the yoghurt in the blender or it will become too runny.

For the salad —

Mix all the salad ingredients in a bowl. Check the cucumber before mixing. You do not want a bitter cucumber in your salad. Add the dressing on top of it. You can enjoy the salad with a sprinkle of black salt and black pepper (for the no-dressing people).

This salad is really "melo" or soft for your mouth but very fulfilling for the stomach. You can sprinkle chia seed to increase the nutrition value.

CHICKEN THIGH WITH WATERMELON SAUCE

Ingredients

1 cup watermelon rind paste

1 cup watermelon juice

½ cup tomato paste

½ cup tomato ketchup

½ cup honey

¼ cup of dark soya sauce

¼ cup rind juice or water

¼ cup white vinegar

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp crushed red pepper flake

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 clove of chopped garlic

½ tsp onion powder

1 tbsp cumin powder

2 tbsp mustard oil

½ kg chicken thigh

Optional: 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar if you like it to be tangy. Play with the ingredients to up and down the level of sweetness.

Method

To make the sauce to marinade —

Add 1 teaspoon of oil in the pan, put the garlic first. Then one by one put the pulp, the juice, honey, tomato paste and ketchup, vinegar, water, red pepper, onion powder, and mix thoroughly. Keep mixing and bring to a boil. Allow it to cool down and thicken.

To cook —

Cut the chicken thigh into 2-inch-thick pieces or into your preferred shape. Now take an aluminium foil and mix the sauce with the chicken thoroughly. Wrap the foil and leave overnight for the soft juicy tenderness.

Once the chicken has been marinated, it is ready for cooking. I prefer cooking in mustard oil for the obvious health benefits and that aroma. Leave the sauce in the aluminium foil and give the chicken a shallow fry. Fry the chicken pieces on each side for about 2-3 min. Now add the sauce to the chicken and cook further. This tender chicken thigh pieces cooked in the watermelon sauce can be enjoyed with naan or rice or a sumptuous salad. And, we tell you this home-made sauce is much healthier.

 

 

Food and Photo: Misha Mahjabeen

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