Watermelon and cottage cheese salad


Watermelon , one of the most loved fruits all over the world,this wonderful fruit, quenches our thirst and hunger at the same time and has very  few calories.. a boon for anyone on a diet. This fruit which is more than 91 percent water, is a god sent on a hot humid day, as it keeps us hydrated. Watermelon has been used in cocktails or mocktail with amazing results as it blends well with almost all flavours as well as lending its pretty red colour . Using it as a ingredient in salads also produces amazing results, the use of feta cheese in an  chilled italian watermelon salad is awesome specially if its sprinkled with chopped mint leaves… hmmmmm.

Today, the recipe i will share with you is a fusion of the east and west cultures, it is a simple salad using just few ingredients but it makes for a good centerpiece at any party, and a good appetizer before any meal. For me, watermelon brings back those lovely memories of the hot and dry Pune summers.  The vendors at the market  and roadside with their carts full of this luscious emerald green skinned fruit heralded the beginning of summer for us, which in turn meant half days at school.  Walking home at 1 pm in the hot heat,  we could hardly wait to reach home, where my mom would have drawn the curtains, making our home oh so cool, the fan whirring at full speed and the best site, my mom cutting cold watermelon and giving us heaped platefuls of cold cut watermelon sprinkled with salt. A good way of keeping our electrolytes in balance. Miss those good old carefree days.. brings to my mind a beautiful song sung by late kishore kumar, koi lauta de mere beete hue din, of course i always have an appropriate hindi song for any situation..:) because of my love for old hindi songs, but will keep that topic for another post. Do try this recipe and don’t forget to serve it chilled. and do give this post a like and share it with your friends.


Half a seedless watermelon

1 bowl of hung curd

1 tbs of whole caraway seeds ( shah jeeri) gently roasted

few strands of saffron, soaked in a tbsp of hot water and  ground to a paste

half cup of grated cottage cheese(paneer)

juice of half a lemon

1 tsp of finely grated lemon rind

finely chopped cilantro, and few mint leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp of honey.


Take a melon baller spoon and scoop out small balls from the watermelon

Put the balls in a strainer for 15 mins till excess water drains out

Meantime , in a bowl, mix together the hung curd, saffron, honey, salt pepper, lemon rind and lemon juice  to get a amazing sunny dressing.

Now arrange the watermelon balls in a pretty dish, sprinkle the grated cottage cheese (paneer) and half of the chopped  cilantro and mint leaves and gently mix.

Finally pour the yogurt sauce over the balls, and sprinkle generously with the roasted caraway seeds and remaining chopped cilantro and mint leaves…enjoy.

The sindhi beeh(lotus stem) pakora

The Sindhi kitchen revisited!  Sindhi food is rather simple to make , in the sense that basically onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and chillies is what would be required to start cooking and dish, we normally don’t have complex pastes made of various spices and the usage of cream or nuts is kept to the minimum while cooking. All the recipes handed down in my family are very simple and sometimes I myself get surprised when the food turns out to be delicious in its simplicity. Growing up in Pune , where most of my mom’s family used to live, we frequently visited my mami kala’s home, which was the headquaters of the mohinani family, many  beautiful memories are attached to the nanaron( nani’s home) at kanyashala road.. those lazy afternoons where all the aunties and cousins gathered  for scrumptious lunches arranged by my aunt, the wonderful aromas wafting from the kitchen where the cooks (bhaiyas) literally cooked up a feast, everyone just laughing and  talking,memories of that bygone era are beautiful .Those were the days when the only way to have a group chat was to meet..:) and of course the admin was aunty kala. The snacks were  more often than not fried, but no one cared, we just enjoyed the delicious food and company.

Today I would like to share a recipe of beehyan ja pakora  with you , which is not commonly served nowadays. This snack is quite simple to make and is my mothers recipe, making use of lotus stem or beeh as we call it in sindhi. My amma(paternal grandmom) was fond of this snack and would ask my mom to make it. This vegetable was served on special occasions   at home, especially when some  important guests were invited for lunch and dinner. Mom always cooked it in a rich onion gravy, topped with raw onion slices and a squirt of lime and some sev sprinkled over the curry, and served it with bread buns or pao, to make it easier to dunk into the delicious gravy.  Lotus stem on its own is a rather bland vegetable , but it blends and adapts the taste of any spice that it is cooked with.

Lotus stem is easily available here in Jakarta because a lot of chinese people also use it for cooking. In Pune it was a seasonal vegetable, because i remember the man who used to bring lotus stem and  pabharees( seeds of the lotus plant) all the way from Pimpri a small satellite town of pune. Nowadays it is more easily available throughout the year.  In those days I was not really too fond of the vegetable but have grown to rather like it. so here is the recipe, do try it and enjoy it.

Bheeyan ja pakora

Ingredients for the besan batter(chick pea flour)

1 cup besan ( chick pea flour)20161109_123703

1 tsp each cumin seeds/ ajwain(thymol seeds)

1 tsp red chillie powder

salt to taste.

1/8 th tsp of soda bi carb


Make a smooth batter of all above ingredients by adding cold water, make sure the batter is smooth and of dropping consistency. keep aside for half hour.

Ingredients for the beeh wada

I beeh stem about 25 cms long, peeled , cut into thick circles and boiled till tender.

1 tsp each ginger/ garlic/ green chilie paste

finely chopped corriander leaves

1 boiled and peeled potato

1 tsp corriander powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

1/2 tsp amchoor powder

1 tsp shah jeeri

salt to taste


Take a big bowl and roughly crush the boiled potato and the boiled beeh(lotus stem) , the beeh(lotus stem) and the potato should be chunky,  add all the dry spices, salt  and the ginger, garlic and green chilie paste and the corriander leaves

Make small balls and keep aside

Heat a wok half filled with cooking oil.

Now, dip the lotus stem balls in the besan batter( chick pea) and slide gently into the hot oil.. fry the balls until just light golden in colour, remove and keep aside.

When you want to serve the snack,  press each ball gently between your two palms until flattened and cracked.. now deep fry the flat wadas till golden brown and crisp.

Serve hot with cold mint chutney.