This recipe for watermelon chaat, a savory fruit salad dressed in toasted cumin and dried mango powder, comes from Malika Ameen, a cookbook author whose Pakistani-American family in Chicago makes infinite variations on fruit chaat in the summer. You could swap out the watermelon for a mix of what's in season, whether it's stone fruit, berries or cubed apple and pear. It's an ideal dish to break the fast during Ramadan, full of flavor and hydrating, and quick to put together.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2pounds watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¾teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- ¼teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- ¼teaspoon amchur powder (dried green mango)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (a generous pinch if you like heat)
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1orange, clementine or mandarin, juiced to make approximately 1/3 cup juice
- ½teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
- 3to 4 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
Step 1Place cubed watermelon in a wide platter with sides or in a large baking or serving dish and spread into a single layer.
Step 2In a small pan, toast whole cumin seeds on medium heat for 3 minutes, until fragrant. Remove and coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle. (You can also grind in a spice grinder, but be sure not to grind to a fine powder as the coarse grains of the spice add a wonderful texture.)
Step 3Transfer cumin to a small bowl and add all remaining spices and salt. Add citrus juice, jalapeño and mint and mix well. Pour dressing over cubed watermelon and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 1 to 6 hours. Serve chilled the same day.