Burmese Gin Thoke Melon Salad

Burmese Gin Thoke Melon Salad, courtesy of chef Susan Feniger and chef Kajsa Alger

1/2 small seedless watermelon (2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 ripe cantaloupe (1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 ripe honeydew (1 pound)
2 (3-inch) pieces young ginger peeled and minced (1/3 cup); or 2 (3-inch) pieces of regular fresh ginger, peeled and minced (1/3 cup)
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup lime juice (from 3-4 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 raw blanched 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.

Serves 6

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