The ingredients in the title represent everything that Palestinian people enjoy eating: fruits, cheese and onions.

Onions play a perfect role here, a sharp hit against the sweetness of the watermelon and the smooth creaminess of the cheese, which is also tart. This will take about three minutes to make and will remind you of a time when you were on vacation, enjoying the sunshine. It always puts me in a very good mood, remembering all the times I’ve eaten this with my family, sitting on a balcony, on a beach or at home after a month of Ramadan, satisfying every taste bud and quenching my thirst.

Slice the top off the watermelon. Cut slices into the flesh lengthwise, then horizontally, and carefully hollow it out by removing the lovely big chunks of flesh with a spoon. If you’re lucky, your watermelon won’t have many seeds, but if it does, try to discard as many as possible. Place the chunks in a large bowl.

Cut the feta cheese into cubes slightly smaller than the melon cubes and mix with the watermelon. Mix in the slices of red onion.

Combine the mint leaves with the sugar to create a sort of sugared mint. Scatter this all over the salad—you get the sweetness of the sugar, the sharpness of the onion, the creaminess of the cheese and, once again, sweetness from the watermelon.

Serve and eat within an hour of cutting the ingredients, otherwise the watermelon starts to lose all its liquid and the salad becomes soggy.

Reprinted with permission from Baladi Palestine,
Joudie Kalla, 2019, Interlink Books, 978-1-62371-981-4, $35 hb,

Joudie Kalla
Joudie Kalla has been a chef for over 20 years. She trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine, London, and worked in many prestigious restaurants before going on to run her own successful catering business. She opened a Palestinian deli, Baity Kitchen, in London, from 2010–2013 to much acclaim before turning her sights to writing her first bestselling cookbook Palestine on a Plate. She runs cooking classes, catering events and pop-up supper clubs, and she consults on food projects.