Watermelon Skin Pickle Style Bhaji/Sabji
Tarbooz ke chilkae ki Achari Sabji
Kiran Devi Gupta
Note from Mamta: This dish is cooked in the style of a pickle, hence the name Achari a trip down the memory lane; my late mother in-law used to make it and it always tasted great. The watermelon in those days used to have a thick layer of white flesh between the red, sweet flesh and the outer, green skin. Anyway, I tried it today, leaving a tiny bit of red flesh on as well, simply to give it a little flavour and substance. The green skin takes a little while to cook, so you have two options; steam the cut pieces first in a microwave over or in a pressure cooker. Serves 2
Edited July 2018
Water melon skin, 2 tea-cups when finely sliced
2 tbsp. oil (I suggest mustard oil)
1 tsp. Panch Pooran/Phoran
1 red chilli, broken up. Adjust to taste.
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coriander seed powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. chilli flakes or powder, adjust to taste
Juice of 1/2 a lemon or 1 level tsp. amchoor or dry mango powder or 1- 1 1/2 tsp. vinegar of good quality.
Steam chopped melon skins in a pressure cooker for 2-3 minutes or a microwave oven on full power for 5 +5 minutes). Taste a piece, it should not be hard skin any more. Drain. Precooking the helps to soften the tough skin and reduces eventual cooking time.
Heat oil in a wok. Add panch-pooran and asafoetida.
When the seeds begin to crackle, add broken red chilli.
Add chopped watermelon skins*, salt and spices. Stir to mix, cover and cook on low heat until skins are cooked. They should not be raw and hard. This takes about 30-40 minutes of slow cooking. If it begins to catch at the bottom of the pan and the skin still looks raw, don't be afraid to add a little water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
Once cooked, squeeze lemon juice or add amchoor/dry mango powder. Adjust seasoning and lemon juice; it should be quite hot and tart, almost like a pickle.
Once the skins are cooked to your liking, stir-fry on high until all water has evaporated and the vegetable looks shiny.
Serve hot with freshly made Plain Paratha or as part of an Indian meal.