Sunday, 14 July 2013

Mexico: tropical fruit with chilli and lime in a watermelon bowl

 tropical fruit with chilli and lime in a watermelon bowl

 We have a rare patch of hot weather here in the UK, it feels like another country. Let's take a tip from hotter climates on how to eat. No cook recipes are what you want, begone slaving over a hot stove.
The Mexicans have it right, with their light and refreshing beach snacks. Every day on the beach at Sayulita, near Puerta Vallarte, a series of vendors would stomp up and down the hot sands, big pot on their heads, cool box banging against their knees, calling out what they were selling, a repetitive loop that merged into a song. What was particularly brilliant, if you were staying a few days, is that you could put in orders. Like, meet me here on this patch of sand tomorrow at 5pm with a vegetarian tamale, no make that two, type thing. And if you weren't on that patch of sand, they'd find you, wherever you were. Because they all chat to each other, the vendors, and they say, oh no, that gringa with the red hair is a bit further up.
My fruit guy would bring me a large plastic beer glass studded with spears of pineapple, mango and watermelon. Over the fruit, he'd squeeze of bottle of chilli sauce, add lime and salt. Try it, it's both savoury and sweet, cooling and heating.
In India they use sulphuric black salt and lime over fruit which is also very good. The salt, obtainable in most Indian shops as Kala Nemak, smells a bit farty but tastes wonderful and gives that authentic Indian sour taste.
This is also a great recipe to add to a barbeque spread.

Tropical fruit with chilli and lime in a watermelon bowl recipe

For two

1 small watermelon
1 papaya
1 mango
1 lime
Your favourite chilli sauce
or grind together some dried chillis

You could also add a small pineapple. If you want to make this dish for more people, buy a large watermelon. Make sure the fruit is ripe then chill in the fridge. Cold fruit is even more refreshing.

Cut the watermelon in half then on one half, cut a thin slice from the bottom so that it will stand up like a bowl. Carefully, with a knife, cut around the inside edge, and then, without cutting through the skin, cut each half into pie type slices. Use a spoon to pull out the wedges and set them aside.
Cut the papaya in half, scoop out the black seeds, then like an avocado, use a thin knife to cut inside the  skin, then cut slices lengthways. Peel off the skin.
Mangos are always a bugger to cut because of the stone in the middle. Here is a great link which will explain perfectly how to do it. Rather than cutting the hedgehog pattern at the end however (although that's great for salsa or a fruit salad), I cut the mango into spears, lengthwise.
Put all your fruit into the watermelon bowl.
Squeeze the lime juice onto the fruit, scatter some good sea salt on it, then add the chilli sauce.
 tropical fruit with chilli and lime in a watermelon bowl with tajin seasoning

In Mexico they sell Tajin, ready-made small packs of a chilli lime and salt mixture, for school lunch boxes and picnics!
If you haven't got a chilli sauce you like you could also grind up a dried chilli with some salt and sprinkle that.

 tropical fruit with chilli and lime in a watermelon bowl


  1. looks lovely, so refreshing I always have a jar of chilli salt to hand, usually for the rims of cocktail glasses but works a treat with this sort of thing too
    Adele x

    1. Wish they sold tajin in the UK!

    2. This looks so tasty! they sell tajin here:

  2. Lovely post. X


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