Mrabbat Raggi

IRAQ

This watermelon rind jam is a labor of love with flavor fit for royalty

SUBMITTED BY

Nada

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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Mrabbat Raggi

Ingredients
  

For jam

  • watermelon rind
  • water
  • sugar
  • lemon
  • cardamom pods or ground

For geymar (clotted cream)

  • cups heavy cream
  • 1-2 Tbsp cornstarch

Instructions
 

Make the jam

  • Remove red pulp and peel green skin from watermelon rind. You can leave some of the pink bit if you want the jam to have a pinker color. Cut into small cubes.
  • Add watermelon to a pot and add 1:1 ratio of water (so 1 cup of watermelon rind = 1 cup water). Bring to a boil and cook for 10-20 mins (or until soft) skimming any foam that develops off the top.
  • Remove watermelon from water, but save the water in the pot. Add sugar (¼ cup sugar for every cup of water that was added), a slice of lemon peel, a dash of cardamom (or 1-2 pods), and a small pinch of salt to water. Stir and let boil for 10 mins.
  • After this, add watermelon back in and boil 10-20 more minutes until rind is translucent. Remove from heat, allow to cool and let sit overnight.

Make geymar (clotted cream)

  • Stir cornstarch into ½ cup of cream until smooth, then set aside.
  • Heat the rest of the cream over medium heat, until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pot.
  • Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the hot cream and continue to stir until the mixture thickens. This can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. The consistency should resemble thick pancake batter.
  • Pour the mixture into a shallow pan and bring to room temperature. Once cooled, place the pan in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Finish jam and serve

  • The next day, boil mixture again for about 30 more minutes or until desired thickness is reached. Add a squeeze of lemon juice in the last minutes of cooking.
  • Cool completely before serving with geymar and Iraqi bread!

Notes

Recipe inspired by Nawal Cooking
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Region: Asia
Keyword: Crowd-pleaser

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