Dosakai

Dosakai is technically a melon.

The prettiest little melons you ever did see.

What Is It?

Dosakai are a little mysterious: Some research suggests it’s a member of the cucumber family, while others claim that it’s simply a lemon cucumber known by a different name. However, dosakai is technically a melon – one with cucumberlike tendencies, perhaps, but a melon nonetheless. They’re a bit flashy, with mottled, solid or tiger-striped skin ranging in color from deep green to vibrant sunset orange. They can be as small as a lime or as big as a grapefruit, firm but with a little give when you squeeze it. Inside, you’ll find cream-colored flesh that’s neutral to softly bitter – think raw zucchini – with a surprising amount of edible, peach-colored seeds in the center.

What Do I Do With It?

Dosakai are native to India, and a perfect fit for classic Indian fare. You’ll find them in pickles, chutneys and sambar curry, a lentil and mixed vegetable soup eaten just as commonly for breakfast as it is for dinner. Try using them as you would a zucchini or cucumber: Grill or stir fry them with a little balsamic glaze or soy sauce, or shred them to use in quick breads, fritters, chopped salads or slaw.

Although they can be eaten raw, I prefer these little melons cooked. Their flesh becomes beautifully translucent and takes on an aroma and flavor reminiscent of an Asian pear or sweet apple, with clean, floral undertones and not even a whiff of bitterness. This tender sweetness makes a lovely inclusion in savory dishes, but sorbet is also an excellent showcase. Chamomile brings out the floral notes, and rosé wine adds a crisp acidity and hints of summer berries. It’s the perfect sorbet for warmer weather; try it as a palate cleanser or as a delicate final course.

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Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning blogaperiodictableblog.com, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.

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