Hye Thyme Cafe: Sweet Basil Seed Watermelon Cooler

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sweet Basil Seed Watermelon Cooler

This was actually more funny than anything. Last week, we were planning a big Japanese dinner one night, so I took a pass through the Asian market down the street. While I was wandering around, I saw a little packet of Sweet Basil Seeds. Never having seen that type of seed as a food application, it piqued my curiosity, so I took one. When I was cashing out, the girl asked what I was going to do with it. I told her I had no idea, that I had never seen them before. She brought me over to the refrigerator case and showed me a canned beverage with the seeds floating in it. Although they look like any other seed in the packet, once in contact with a liquid, they bloom into something resembling a pomegranate aril.

She doesn't speak much English, so that was pretty much as far as the conversation went, although she did say it's usually used by people dieting. Sounds logical. If you drink a glass before eating, it would plump up and fill your stomach, making you less hungry. That's my guess anyhow. I looked it up online when I got home but didn't see much else, so I figured OK, I'll start with a drink and then decide what to do with it from there.

I didn't want to drink them in just plain water, so I decided to run some watermelon through the blender with crushed ice.
I poured lime seltzer water into a measuring cup and sprinkled in some seeds to bloom them. I didn't want to crush them in the blender, and I also didn't want to spin the carbonation out of the seltzer water, so I wanted to keep them separate for the moment.

 Fill a glass to about 3/4 full with the watermelon mixture, then top it off with the lime seltzer and sweet basil seeds. It turns out the seeds don't really have much of a flavor on their own, but when they plump up, they have a tapioca-like texture. We just kept taking sips, looking at each other with weird expressions, and laughing. Whey would anyone want to drink tapioca?!?
Here's a progression ...

The only thing I could think to use them in would be maybe a Panna Cotta or something like that. When we poured out the rest of the cup we didn't use, it looked like a bunch of fish eyes in the sink. Then I started thinking about silly applications. Halloween came to mind.  You could make Jell-O shots with those in them, or use Halloween molds to make jigglers. That would definitely be creepy looking!

As a more practical application, I suppose if you like to make Sushi at home, but someone in the family doesn't like roe, you could bloom some of these in Mirin or Sriracha and use them in place of the roe??  :)


  1. This is such a cool drink idea! I'll have to keep an eye out for sweet basil seeds next time I'm at the right store. Have any interest in sharing this recipe in my summer recipes blog hop? - http://www.favedietsblog.com/the-healthy-hop-june-edition/

  2. Thanks for the offer Matt. Honestly, if it was something I really liked, I would love to post it to your hop, but since I was more amused by than pleased with this one, I'll pass. However, I think the seeds were only $.85, so if you want to e-mail me your address, I can certainly "splurge" and send you a packet to play around with! :)

  3. Very interesting, I bet my son would try this.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...