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Cinco de Mayo – Watermelon Mint Horchata

Watermelon Mint Horchata

Margarita’s are Mexico’s national cocktail. When you plan a fiesta they are the star’s. Horchata is what you drink the day after to cure the hangover. so in anticipation of partying this weekend for Cinco de Mayo; I am posting a hangover cure.

Besides being a hangover cure it’s also a cooling refreshing drink for hot summer days. Watermelon and mint add to the traditional cinnamon and rice recipe.Plain cinnamon and rice tastes just as good though watermelon and mint add tropical twist to the classic.

Give it a try this weekend – it’s a tasty non alcoholic alternative for your Mexican themed party!

Watermelon Mint Horchata Recipe
Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 2 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup watermelon pieces
  • Handful mint leaves

1.Soak  rice, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon stick for 4 -6 hours in 2 cups water.

2.Grind the soaked mix, sugar, watermelon and mint with 2 more cups of water. Strain. Add 1 cup of water. Refrigerate for couple of hours.

3.Serve chilled over ice with some watermelon wedges and mint leaves.

Watermelon Labneh Parfait

Labneh and Watermelon parfaits

I recently joined The Daring Kitchen, an online community where everyone month a new challenging recipe or technique is posted and enthusiasts around the world recreate it and post their results.

I was too late for their March 2013 Cheese Making Challenge, but I decided to try it out regardless. There were a few recipes shared on true cheeses like Mozzarella and Goat cheese. But as I didn’t have necessary ingredients on hand, I decided to go with a soft cheese recipe for Labneh. Labneh is a soft breakfast cheese made from yogurt.  Besides being yogurt based, it actually needs no other ingredients and is a recipe ( if I can call hanging a yogurt to drain the whey a recipe) that works on its own.

Curd hung to make labneh

Hanging the yogurt to remove its moisture is a typical first step in making Srikhand – a very traditional Maharashtrian desert. I remember days when my mom used to do this to create a very dry curd base called – chakka and then mix it with sugar, saffron or mango pulp to make Srikhand and Amrakhand. A creamy desert loved by kids and adults alike!

Labneh

Using labneh, I wanted to make a modern version of this traditional Indian desert. So instead of a sweet nutty desert, I served it  as a light breakfast parfait complete with saffron and pistachios.

Pairing the crunchy watermelons chunks with the soft creamy labneh is an exotic way to start your day.  Top it with a dollop of orange marmalade and honey for a touch of sweetness, while pistachios elevated the crunch factor.  I surprised Vipul with these on a weekday morning by serving them in wine goblets as they allowed for a generous serving.  Varun was excited by the colorful watermelon while I loved the crunchiness of pistachios and watermelon against the creamy labneh. I would love to try this with mangoes in summer. Though I think any fruit would work just as well -strawberries, blueberries, peaches!

Top view

A perfect start to any day where you want to feel like you are on vacation even though tons of work awaits you. Bliss in a glass when stresses abound. Try it. Am sure it will help you escape your daily work realities!

Breakfast Parfaits

Watermelon Labneh Parfait Recipe

  • 32 Oz container of full fat yogurt
  • 1 generous pinch – Saffron strands
  • Watermelon chunks – 1 cup
  • 2 tablespoon marmalade or honey
  • 1/4 cup pistachios -coarsely chopped

1. Take a clean white non terry cloth ( muslin or large men’s cotton handkerchief) and place yogurt in it. Tie it into a bundle. Place it in a colander with a bowl underneath to collect the whey. Let this drain in the refrigerator for a few hours to overnight to drain.

2. Squeeze excess whey out of the yogurt before  opening the yogurt bundle. Whisk the strained yogurt labneh with saffron to make it smooth and creamy.

3. In serving glasses, layer watermelon, labneh and pistachios. Drizzle some honey on top or scoop in orange marmalade. Top with pistachios.

Chill for a couple of hours to overnight. Serve chilled.

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