The easiest (and most beautiful) cake you can make
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my series on how the world eats watermelon, it’s the versatility of watermelon rind. To date, I’ve been shown how watermelon rinds can be used in curries, stir frys, and now jam. That’s right – watermelon rind jam. It’s a completely unexpected treat that I can’t wait to share with you.
Nada from Iraq shared this recipe for her watermelon rind jam, also known as Mrabbat Raggi. Nada lived in Iraq for five years as a child until she and her family left, due to the country’s instabilities. Now that she lives abroad, Nada loves to use food as a way to relive her childhood memories and to connect with her home country and culture. Her recipe for Mrabbat Raggi is something both she and her mother grew up eating and still love to eat today.
Due to the incredibly hot climate of Iraq, recipes that involve pickling or jamming ingredients are fairly common. It’s a great technique to preserve food in the heat and end up with something that’s deliciously new. However, even though Mrabbat Raggi was designed to beat the heat, make no mistake – the preparation will make you sweat.
To make your own Mrabbat Raggi, you’ll need to start with freshly chopped watermelon rind. Nada shared that some people like to leave a bit of the watermelon fruit on the rind to help impart a nice pink flavor into the jam. The rinds are then boiled down and then boiled again in a sugar syrup, just like you would do with any other jam. The syrup itself is a combination of sugar, lemon juice, and cardamom powder for a nicely sweet and sour flavor. Once finished, the watermelon rinds and syrup are left overnight before they are – you guessed it – boiled one last time. Like I said, Mrabbat Raggi is a time intensive recipe, but it’s so, so worth it.
The final jam is served with a bit of bread and clotted cream. The jam is certainly sweet, but the clotted cream provides a nice creaminess, while also cutting through some of the sweetness. All together, Mrabbat Raggi has this incredible blend of flavors and textures. And as an added bonus, it’s a zero waste recipe that shows you just how wonderful watermelon rind can be.
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