'Otai is a wonderfully refreshing fruit drink made from tropical fruit like watermelon, pineapple, can of coconut milk, coconut water, and lime juice with a little simple syrup as a sweetener. A perfect summertime refreshment.
Watermelon is not native to Tonga but this recipe is beloved and served often around the island as a refreshing drink to cool you off from the warm Polynesian island heat. It is best to use seedless watermelon
It is usually made with grated fruit which the end result has large chunks of fruit in it. You can make it that way which is the most traditional or you can blend it for a smooth concoction.
It is perfectly sweet and satisfying and we loved it alongside our Tongan meal. Perfect for a hot summer day!
It is best to chill everything the night before but don't cut up the large watermelon until you are ready to make the watermelon Otai. This way the inside of the watermelon retains the most juice.
Of course you can use either fresh pineapple or a can of pineapple with the pineapple juice. This can also be made with mango for a mango otai.
Looking for more recipes to enjoy with your Otai?
Here are some more Tongan cuisine recipes
If you would like to learn more about the bucolic country of Tonga, its traditions, food and culture be sure to check out “Our Journey to Tonga” there you will also find more authentic and ancestral recipes like this popular watermelon drink.
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'Otai (Tongan Watermelon Drink Recipe)
- 6 cups Watermelon cold and seedless (cubed)
- 1 cup Pineapple cold and crushed in can or grated if fresh with juice
- 1 15 oz coconut milk chilled can shake before opening
- 1 cup coconut water chilled
- 2 Tbsp lime juice chilled
- 3 tsp simple syrup to taste
- Place the watermelon in a large bowl and mash until nearly liquid leaving small chunks.
- Grate the pineapple if using fresh or if using canned add it with the juice and all the other ingredients. Add simple syrup to taste if you desire a sweeter drink.
- Mix all together and chill for about 30 minutes and serve over ice, garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy.
- Add all the ingredient into the blender and blend in short spurts to keep a bit of texture. Add a small amount of simple syrup or other sweetener if desired just to your sweetness level.
- Pour over ice and enjoy, garnish with a lime wedge.