Summers, for us are sealed and kissed with watermelons. Every week we are hugging and cradling an enormous green back home with promises of sweet juicy times.
This recipe came from a friend’s mom. It is perfect example of how every parts of fruits and vegetables may be used. I grew up seeing my grandma using peels of vegetables in most innovative ways. The potato peels would be stir fried with poppy seeds, plantain peels would be cooked and mashed with spices to make a chutney and there were fritters with the peels with squash and gourd.
It is a perfect summer recipe; more of a light soup than a heavily spiced curry.
The children love this as much as they love the Khatti Meethi Lauki – Sweet and Sour Bottle Gourd, which I had posted earlier. The process of cooking is the same and both the curries sort of have similar taste and texture except for the hint of sweet in the this one with watermelon. One would think that a fruit would make a sweet curry, but it does not. The hint of sweet compliments the light spices beautifully.
There does not go one day of summer in our home when we do not have a watermelon. The girls have it for breakfast and snack. Then there are those times, my favorite ones when we make tall glasses of icy cold watermelon juice with plenty of fresh mint. With all the watermelon that we consume during the summer, I had often wondered if we could do anything with them, until I heard of this. She was visiting us and after I scooped out the watermelon she mentioned that she cooks the rind!
That was it. I requested her if she would make it for our lunch and she immediately set about. It took less than twenty minutes and soon we were slurping the mild soupy curry with hot rotis/flat bread rolled up and dunked in it.
This has become of our favorite recipes since that day and almost every other week, through the summer time, and as long as we find watermelon we have a bowlful of this comforting stewed watermelon.
Watermelon Curry: Lightly Spiced Stewed Watermelon
- 4 cups watermelon, remove the green peel ( use the white part and about 1/4 layer of the red along with the rind if you want + some red watermelon pieces for a nice color to the curry)
- 2-3 cups water or part watermelon juice and part water; the more juice you add the sweeter it will be (adjust depending on how soupy you want it to be)
- 1 tablespoon ghee or cooking oil (ghee preferred for flavor)
- a generous pinch of hing/asafoetida (a must)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- about 8 seeds of fenugreek/methi seeds, optional
- 1 hot green chili pepper, slit
- 1/4 cup chopped ripe tomatoes (optional, but recommended)
- salt to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, dry grind coriander seeds
- fresh lemon juice and fresh coriander/cilantro for garnish
Peel the green skin off the rind. Leave some of the red flesh for texture, color and some sweet after you slice out the watermelon. In addition to the rind add some red melon pieces. Slice the watermelon in one and a half inch pieces.
Heat ghee/or oil in a deep pot. Add the hing/asafoetida and then after a few seconds add the cumin seeds and the fenugreek seeds, if using. When the seeds sizzle add the green chili pepper.
When the peppers sizzle and has a few brown spots, (less than a minute), add the tomato (if you are using) to the pot. Add salt, turmeric powder and cook for 2 -4 minutes, until the tomato mushes and thickens a bit.
Add the watermelon, toss for the tomato mix to coat the pieces, cook at medium heat for 2 minutes uncovered. (if you are not using the tomatoes, you may want to blend some of the red watermelon pieces and stir them back in the curry).
(If you are not using the tomato, add the chopped melons to the oil and cook while tossing for a couple of minutes. Add the turmeric, coriander powder and salt. then add the blended red watermelon)
Add the water (or water and juice combo), cover and cook until the melon is tender- it will look translucent. You may cook in the pressure cooker for about 8 minutes. The curry will be lightly soupy. If you want less liquid, simmer it a little bit longer until you get the desired consistency. If you want a thicker soup mash some of the melons, especially the ripe ones with the back of the spoon.
Serve hot as a side with a drizzle of lemon/lime juice and garnished with fresh chopped cilantro.
Its the best over hot rice or with warm bread to dunk it in the beautifully flavored curry.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
Serves: 4 as side
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