We have all grown through the pandemic. Each day, it is the virus that is giving us some of life’s biggest lessons. And although the learning seems to be like one big book, we still have pointers and paragraphs that keep adding to it, each day.
From cleaner surroundings to bluer skies, from happier meals to zero wastage, from breathing better to finding happiness in minimum amenities, each day, there’s evolution happening within the boundaries of our own homes. We seem to be adjusting well with the intruding virus, and while it has refused to disappear, we have accepted a life to be lived with it.
Humans, I tell you, are not an easy breed to be failed!
During the lockdown, many festivals came and went off silently. The markets were not flooded with festivities this time. No bright red dupattas during the Navratras, no extended sweet shops during Eid, no visits to the churches during Good Friday; as if we all have learnt that God is in the details and not just in the temples or mosques or the gurudwaras.
Despite what religion we are born in, all the festivals of my country smell just the same. But have you ever wondered what makes a festival, festival? Now that we have Eid to celebrate, how are you planning to bring that cheer and joy without stepping out in your best attire and exchanging hugs?
For me, it’s always the food that carries the right aromas of nostalgia and love. Today, I prepared a simple dessert because apart from Eid, I had one more reason to celebrate. And it was the launch of my first e-book ‘Quarantine Cuisine’ on Amazon. This book is an honest attempt to bring 81 no-fuss recipes from different cultures, ethnicity and states at one place. Remember, the Instagram Live I did for continuous 21 days? This book is a summary of all that love that poured through great recipes during the first lockdown.
And while we are mastering the art of zero wastage in our kitchens, today’s recipe has summed up everything that’s on my mind. It had to be a perfect Eid dessert, a treat to celebrate the book launch and also an expression of best out of waste during lockdown.
And trust me, this simple recipe from waste, watermelon rind, added a lot of joy to my family. Not only does it look beautiful with minimum ingredients and almost no ghee or oil, this recipe also carries a lot of nutritional benefits.
Read more for its step by step preparation and let the Eid of 2020 be a ‘mubarak’ for all of us.
FLAVOURED WATERMELON RIND DESSERT (HALWA)
- 2 cups grated watermelon rind (after scraping out the thin green peel)
- 3/4 cup jaggery powder or sugar (adjust quantity as per your liking)
- 1 tsp cow ghee for flavour (optional)
- 2 tbsp sliced almonds (pre-roasted) for garnishing
- ¼ tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder
- A drop of rose water
- Scrap out the thin green peel from watermelon rind and grate the rest of it.
- Now add a drop of rose water to the grated rind and keep it aside for a few minutes.
- In a deep iron wok, put the grated and squeezed rind mixture on a high flame and with continuous stirring, allow the moisture to dry out completely.
- At this point, add sugar and cardamom powder and let it cook on high flame with continuous stirring till the sugar crystallizes.
- Here, you can add another drop of rose water or another pinch of cardamom powder if you want to enhance the flavours.
- Garnish it with pre-roasted and sliced almonds.
- Serve hot.
This recipe is inspired by No Oil Ghia Halwa by Aabha Narang from the book Quarantine Cuisine.
Health benefits of the watermelon rind
The watermelon rind possesses a large percentage of nutrients than the red flesh. It encompasses low calories and high content of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B6 and zinc. It is loaded with citrulline, amino acids, lycopene, phenolic compounds and flavonoids.
Watermelon rind is also a rich source of fiber that helps maintain regular bowel movements, and may help reduce the risk of developing diseases of the colon.
(Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative and healthy cooking workshops for all age groups)
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