Burmese Gin Thoke Melon Salad
- 1/2 small seedless watermelon (2 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 ripe cantaloupe melon (1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/4 ripe honeydew melon (1 pound)
- 2 (3-inch) pieces young ginger,* peeled and minced (1/3 cup); or 2 (3-inch) pieces regular fresh ginger, peeled and minced (1/3 cup)
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/4 cup lime juice (from 3 to 4 limes)
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup dried green lentils
- 2 cups wide-flake unsweetened coconut
- 1 1/4 cups blanched raw peanuts
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, chopped**
Start by cutting up the melons: Trim off the rind of all 3 melons, remove any seeds, and cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice. Put all of the diced melon in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine the ginger, sesame seeds, lime juice, soy sauce, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Mix well and pour over the melon. Toss, and let marinate at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Put the lentils and 4 cups cold water in a small saucepan set over high heat, and bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook for 5 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain, rinse with cold water to chill, and then stir into the melon mixture.
Combine the coconut, peanuts, kaffir lime, remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large sauté pan. Toast the peanut mixture over medium-low heat, stirring it constantly, until the coconut and peanuts have toasted, somewhat unevenly, to a golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Just before serving, add the peanut mixture to the melon mixture and stir gently to combine. Serve in a large bowl, preferably at room temperature.
** Kaffir lime leaf: A thorny bush with aromatic, hourglass-shaped leaves, common to Southeast Asia, kaffir lime has an intense and unique pepper-lime flavor. It is also called "kieffer lime," "makrut," or "magrood." If you can't find it, you can substitute grated lime zest.
- Gourmet Live