Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Watermelon sherbet a gift of summer

Last week I made a promise to you. This post is the fulfillment of it. I am going to share with you the recipe of a sherbet my mother made when I was growing up in India’s heartland, a region of unrelenting summers. This sherbet is made best with a watermelon that is dark red inside. The watermelons I pick in Mumbai – these have never disappointed me – are light green, with dark green stripes. These are unspeakably red and luscious inside, with small, sparse seeds.

½ of a small (3 lb) watermelon
3 tbsp castor (superfine) sugar
1 lemon or lime
3 cups water
A few mint leaves for garnish
Ice cubes


  1. Cut watermelon into wedges.
  2. Grate them roughly over a flat grater placed over a large bowl (choose a size just large enough for the grater to rest on the edge of the bowl) to catch the juice and pulp, discarding the seeds from the top with a fork.
  3. Stir in the sugar and water.
  4. Squeeze a slice of lemon or lime and stir.
  5. Put ice cubes in tall glasses and pour the sherbet. Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime, or mint leaves.

Makes four glasses.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bounty of summer a silver lining

Summer is here. The torrid, cruel days of April are upon us in India. This is the time of year when vegetables lose their winter sheen and begin to wear a half-withered look; some show up in faded colors. The orange carrots give way to yellow ones, for instance.

But, summer is not all evil. For in this season, some of the juiciest, tastiest, and loveliest fruits show up in the grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Among them are mangoes and watermelon. Several varieties of these fruits flood the market. The watermelons come in light green with stripes or solid dark green; ripe mangoes come in yellow, red, orange, and light green.

Whatever colors or shapes the fruits don, they nourish and cool us with their sweet flesh and juice as though God has created them to respite us from the cruelty of April. The watermelon, especially, quenches our thirst with a delightful color, flavor, and sweetness. Next time, I will share a recipe for fresh watermelon sherbet.

Dear reader, what summer fruits do you like most?