On The Line: Geeta Bansal Of Clay Oven, Part Two

We don't request a recipe anymore, but sometimes our chefs still want to contribute. After Part Two, you can continue reading to learn how to create the watermelon curry photographed above. Tell us how the dish works out– we know vegans and Paleo dieters that would love to add another recipe to their repertoire.

Chef, collaborator, world traveler, mother, survivor. Geeta Bansal dons a different hat depending on the need. We look forward to seeing how her experiences translate into whatever Clay Oven has in store for us next.

Read our interview with Geeta Bansal of Clay Oven, Part One.
And now, on to Part Two. . . .

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Playing Angry Birds, watching travel shows, or gardening.

Last song playing on your radio/smart phone/iPod:
Tina Turner – What's Love Got To Do With It.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in India and moved to Orange County from New York City after vacationing here.

Hardest lesson you've learned:
Not to take life for granted. I am an eight month breast cancer survivor, and want to live every moment of life doing what makes me happy.

What's your favorite childhood memory?
Traveling to our family summer home, Simla, in the Himalayas.

Are you superstitious?
Only about the number 13.

Last book you read or last movie watched.
Movie: Les Intouchables. Book: Emperor of Maladies. Both amazing.

Do you have any skills that are non-food related?
I am a former college professor in urban planning and landscape design.

Watermelon Curry

Serves 4

Recipe ingredients:

3 cups seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
Reserved watermelon trimmings
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
1 serrano chili, seeded and julienned
1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, roughly ground
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt to taste

Recipe instructions:

Remove rind from watermelon and cut into 1-inch cubes, saving the trimmings. Blend the trimmings into a pulpy mixture, about 2 to 2 1/2 cups. Add any juice from the cutting board to the pulp as well.

Heat oil in a wide saute pan and add cumin seeds. Saute until browned, then add chopped garlic and ginger. Cook until golden, but do not brown. Then add the reserved pulp and the rest of the dry spices.

Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce reduces to roughly 1/2 the quantity. Add the watermelon cubes, serrano chili and lemon juice. When the watermelon is heated through, add the chopped cilantro.

Serve hot with basmati rice tossed with cooked green peas, quinoa or fluffly couscous.

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