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‘Otai – A Tongan Traditional Watermelon Drink
A favorite drink in Polynesia
Summer is over, but watermelons are still hanging around – why not take it a little further and make a memorable watermelon drink. I have lived in Polynesia for the past 20 years and this drink is always a hit at gatherings. You will run out of food before you get it.
Be sure to use clean surface And Wash your hands and the tools you use. First, choose your watermelon. Look at the watermelon and look for one that is symmetrical, firm and free of bruises, cuts or dents. catch it It should be heavy for its size, as watermelons are 92% water. The outside of the watermelon should have a dull, healthy glow. It should not have a shiny, shiny surface. Turn it over. There should be a tell-tale “ripe spot” on the underside, a creamy yellow spot where the watermelon sat on the ground. This space develops after the melon grows on the ground. If the spot is greenish or white in color, it is not yet ripe. Watermelons do not ripen once they are picked, so this is important to watch.
Seedless watermelons are the easiest to pick, but if you have seeds, this will be the trickiest part. Cut the watermelon in half and scoop out the seeds – the little yellow ones don’t count. Then use a fork or potato masher to mash the fruit. You still want it to be fizzy (this is a drink you eat and drink at the same time). Now place half the mashed watermelon in a large bowl and add two quarts of water, one to two cups of sugar or sugar substitute (depending on preference), two cups of half and half (fat free is best) or a can. Milk You can also add a handful of grated coconut from a bag – or grate fresh coconut if you have experience doing so.
Add a can of crushed pineapple or use fresh pineapple, peeled, dried and cut into small pieces. Be sure to mix until the sugar scrapes the bottom of the container.
Chill before serving or you can add ice if you are in a hurry. I promise you won’t be disappointed. You can add shaved ice but drink quickly or it won’t be as good. Tongans make this drink from green mangoes, green apples and some other fruits. They also like to burst crackers in it. It takes a bit of getting used to, so try just the watermelon/coconut/pineapple mix at first.
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