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ALOK ANAND
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RECIPE Ever combined watermelon with prawn? Try making this soup, it tastes good, hot or chilled

ALL FLAVOUR AND FIBRE Watermelon Photo: M. Karunakaran
ALL FLAVOUR AND FIBRE Watermelon Photo: M. Karunakaran

W atermelon is believed to have originated in South Africa, though they were first cultivated in Egypt. Japanese farmers invented the idea of forcing their watermelons to grow into a square shape by inserting them into glass boxes while they are still growing. The square shape makes it easier to pack and transport them.

Watermelon is a good source of potassium, magnesium, beta-carotene, vitamins B1 and B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin C, lycopene, antioxidants and dietary fibre. It is rich in lycopene, a carotenoid associated with lowering the risk of prostate cancer, and the essential amino acid arginine, which plays an important role in healing wounds.

Now, for a recipe.

Asian Watermelon and Prawn Soup

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 1 hr (2-3 hrs. if serving chilled)

Ingredients

Coarsely chopped, seeded watermelon: 1 kg

Olive oil: 20 ml

Finely chopped onions: 40 gm

Finely chopped garlic: 5 gm

Finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger: 20 gm

Fresh lemongrass stalk: 1

Small green chilli, finely chopped: 1

Fresh lime juice: 2 tbsp

Salt to taste

Chopped fresh coriander leaves: 50 gm

Prawns (shell removed, cleaned and boiled): 200 gm

Lemon (cut into wedges for garnish): 1

Method: Puree the watermelon in a blender till it becomes smooth and transfer it to a bowl. Slice the lemongrass stalk and then cut it finely. Place a saucepan over moderate heat, add oil. Then add the lemongrass, onion, ginger and garlic, stirring till they turn golden.

Add about one-third of the watermelon purée and simmer over moderate heat, stirring constantly for about five minutes.

Remove from heat, and then blend along with chilli, lime juice, and salt. Strain the soup. Add the remaining watermelon puree and heat it for a minute, stirring gently. Add the prawns.

Serve hot along with the lemon wedge as a garnish. It can also be enjoyed as a cold soup. Refrigerate for about an hour and serve chilled.

ALOK ANAND

Executive Chef

Taj Coromandel

Chennai

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