Watermelon Juice Recipe (Nuoc Ep Dua Hau)
Freshly-pressed watermelon juice called nước ép dưa hấu is a staple at any restaurant in Vietnam. I haven't been back to Vietnam since I was 17 and I often get nostalgic. To remind me of the good times I had in Vietnam, I bought a ripe watermelon and prepared the fruity juice.
We were very lucky because the watermelon was fabulous and didn't need additional sweeteners. Papa, my father, is an expert at selecting delicious, sweet watermelons. When I was a child, I would always watch him knocking on the fruit, smelling and comparing the weight between watermelons. Ripe, sweet watermelons are supposed to be very fragrant and heavy for their size, the skin should have a nice sheen and the underside should be pale yellow.
Yields: 8 servings1 (4-pound) ripe watermelon, chilled in the refrigerator
¼ cup superfine sugar, to taste
4 sprigs fresh mint leaves (optional), coarsely crushed
½ teaspoon pandan essence (optional)
1 freshly squeezed lime, to taste
Prepping the watermelon: Cut the watermelon into wedges and gather the flesh. Taste and check the sweetness of the fruit.
Simple syrup: In a small saucepan, gently dissolve the sugar (if using) with ¼ cup water. Slightly dissolve the sugar by creating a swirl in the center of the saucepan with your finger (to ensure the sugar is completely submerged in water). Add the mint leaves. Bring to a full boil. Make sure the sugar is entirely dissolved. Turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Place the watermelon flesh in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Strain the pulp through a coarse-mesh strainer, pressing through as much watermelon purée as possible using a wooden pestle. Discard the solids.
Sweeten the watermelon juice with the simple syrup to taste. Balance the sweetness with lime juice. Add pandan essence (if using).
Garnish with freshly-cut fruit.
The amount of sugar is only a guideline since it will vary with the sweetness of the watermelon; sometimes the taste is stronger, sometimes milder.
You could spike the juice with vodka and make watermelon martini but we didn't.
You can find pandan essence in most Asian markets.
Published By: on July 30, 2013.