Chile Watermelon Juice with Lime and Mint Leaves

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Guys, it was 90 degrees yesterday. NINETY. I tried to do my home cool down routine, which entails leaving the windows open in the early morning hours to let in the cool morning air, then closing them and rolling down the window coverings after that and it helped zero. I basically tried to move as little as possible, so I chained myself to my computer all day. Usually, even on the hot days, Vienna's still game for walks, but yesterday, I had to force her to even go outside! On the upside tho, I drank a sh*t ton of ice water and ate two popsicles, both of which involved standing in front of the fridge/freezer way longer than necessary. After a bunch of hemming and hawing,  I finally caved and blasted the a.c. And just like that, life was so much better. I'm not sure what I'm going to do in August when it's really hot if this is how I behave in June, but here we are. 

You might be thinking, a) you should have just turned on the a.c. from the get go or b) why didn't you just pound glasses of the watermelon juice that's all over this page? Well, I would have, because it's epic and kinda reminds me of li hing mui (dried plum powder) watermelon juice 'cuz it's kinda salty and kinda sweet, but I sent it to the office with Moses! Why!! Jk jk jk. I'm sure he enjoyed it just as much as I would have. Or at least that's what I told myself while I was suffering (unnecessarily I might add) in my apartment. Lesson learned. Be a big girl and just turn on the a.c. and hoard all the watermelon juice for good measure. 😆

For those of you who find yourself in the same predicament as I was in, you know the self-inflicted suffering kind, might I suggest this watermelon juice. When I made it, I pictured myself strolling up and down the busy streets of Banglore, grabbing a glass from a fruit vendor while soaking up all the sights and smells. I mean, ok, I haven't been to Banglore irl, but after reading Chitra's beautiful book, Vibrant India, I felt transported by her words, recipes, and all the gorgeous photography. And since it's hot as _____ in LA rn, I figured it was high time I made myself a big batch of Chitra's chile watermelon juice with lime and mint leaves (nom). I also baked up a batch of her cardamom oatmeal cookies with dark chocolate and golden raisins, but that happened before it got insanely warm, and this recipe felt way more appropriate to share given this heat! Oh, and it's easy peasy to make and pretty and pink. Cheers and happy hump day! 

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CHILE WATERMELON JUICE WITH LIME AND MINT LEAVES

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM VIBRANT INDIA.
COPYRIGHT © 2017 BY CHITRA AGRADAWAL.
PUBLISHED BY TEN SPEED PRESS, AN IMPRINT OF THE CROWN PUBLISHING GROUP, A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE LLC.

SERVES 2 TO 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c. water
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 c. watermelon chunks, seeded
  • 1/8 tsp. red chile powder or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 3 Tbsp.)
  • Ice cubes, for serving
  • Mint leaves, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

TOOLS

  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Blender or food processor
  • Fine-mesh colander

FIX

  1. Put the water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar and salt to taste until dissolved. Transfer to another container to cool.
  2. Puree the watermelon chunks in a blender or food processor. Place a bowl underneath a fine-mesh colander. Pour the watermelon pulp into the colder to extract the juice. Push the pulp against the mesh to get as much juice as possible. If you like, save the watermelon pulp for use in a smoothie. Whisk in the red chile powder, lime juice, and cooled sugar syrup with the watermelon juice.
  3. Serve over ice with mint leaves and lime wedges. 

Note: I blended up my watermelon in a Vitamix and found there was little to no pulp, so I skipped the straining part.