Watermelon Mint Ice – Granita

In the scorching summer all that the heart wants is ICE!! Imagine ice, dripping with a syrup of your favourite flavour (kala-khatta for me) – thats our entire childhood for most of us. If you’ve grown up in a tropical country like India, then your memories can’t be without stories of ice. Sneaking an ice tray from the freezer, eating it and being punished for it was a common thing. Although, the most enjoyable bit was dropping a few cubes down your sibling’s shirt and watching them wiggle all over the place. Aaaahhh… those joyous memories!

In the 80’s, the ice-cream experience was very different from the current times. The vendors would shave ice right in front of you, bind it together with their hands on a stick and drizzle your choice of syrup from the brightly coloured options displayed on their carts. That was a fresh, handmade and customised popsicle for each of us. It was fondly called chuski (Hindi word for sipping or slurping) or barf ka gola, which literally translates to a ball of ice. No ice-cream ever came close to that. However, we thought, in this summertime lets take a trip back to childhood. Interestingly, shaved ice is eaten in many countries in various forms. So, we’ve transformed our memories into a modern fusion recipe.

Here’s a recipe for a granita which find its roots in the very hot island of Sicily, Italy. Granitas are basically shavings of ice (big and small) and are eaten all over Sicily, although each town has its own version. Some have a smooth granita and the others, more coarse. Do it the way you like it best.

You literally need just 3 ingredients for this. A good sweet watermelon, lemons and sugar.

Cut it in pieces and try to remove the seeds. You can cut them in any shape. The size can vary. Go with whatever can fit in the jar of your blender. Cover and put it in the freezer for 4-5 hours.

In the picture above, you can see its just out of the freezer. It should be completely frozen.

Add lemon juice and mint leaves to the frozen watermelon.

Put it in the blender along with sugar and blend. If all of it doesn’t fit in one go, then do it in batches. Be quick so that it doesn’t turn into juice. We want to churn it while its still frozen.

You’ll get a sort of a slush. Transfer it straight away to an aluminium tin to freeze it. Make sure its not very shallow. Your slushy mixture should at least be 2 inches deep so that you can scoop and scrape it later. Although if you only have a flat tin, you can later scape it with a fork or knife.

Once frozen it will be slightly lighter in colour because of the ice crystals.

Scoop it out with an ice-cream scoop or a spoon. A granita is not as smooth as a sorbet. Its flaky and more icy, probably for a cooler experience during the scorching heat. Serve it quickly so that its still frozen.

This is a wonderful idea for a dessert at any time. The watermelon granita has a beautiful tartness because of the lemon juice and a refreshing fragrance from the mint leaves. All the ingredients are very easily available. Its just a refreshing new way of putting them together. You absolutely must try this while watermelon is still in season.

We’re sharing this wonderful recipe to make your summer fun. Let us know in the comments how yours turned out!

Recipe: Watermelon Mint Granita

Ingredients

½ watermelon, peeled and cubed
15-20 mint leaves
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp sugar

Method

  1. Arrange the watermelon on an aluminium tray and cover. Freeze for 4-5 hours. You can also freeze the watermelon in a zip lock pouch.
  2. Add mint leaves lemon juice and sugar to the water watermelon. Put it in batches in a grinder or food processor and grind to a slushy frozen paste.
  3. Transfer the slush to an aluminium tin and freeze covered overnight.
  4. To serve scrape with a scooper or spoon or fork to create ice and serve immediately garnished with mint leaves.
  5. Adjust the sugar based on the sweetness of the watermelon. Serve immediately as it starts melting very fast.

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