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Indian Watermelon Curry

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This unusual curry turns bland watermelons into a spectacular and quickly prepared original and authentic Indian curry.

You will read many curious traditional indian recipes, but this one from Camellia Panjabi 50 Great Curries of India immediately caught my fancy. A savory watermelon curry, no less.

I tried it last night and it works wonderfully - tasty, light and refreshing, and very easy to cook. See for yourself!

Watermelon Curry
A savory curry by Camellia Panjabi
Half a small watermelon
4 garlic cloves
1 pinch turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp hot chili powder
1 lemon
1 pinch sugar

Peel the watermelon and cut the flesh into bite-sized cubes.

In a mortar grind together coriander seeds, salt, turmeric and chili.

Add the crushed garlic and a cup watermelon cubes to the spices.

Mash everything to a pulp. This is very fun to do!

Fry the cumin seeds in a little oil a deep frying pan. Wait until they start to smoke before moving on to the next step.

Pour the watermelon-spice mixture into the frying pan. Psssssh, it boils and bubbles like an Icelandic hot spring. Reduce heat and let it thicken a bit, 3-5 minutes. Taste and add a bit of sugar if needed. Watermelon look very sweet but they are not.

Add the watermelon cubes to the sauce.

Cook for 3-4 minutes, gently tossing the watermelon cubes until each is fully coated with sauce. Season with a little lemon juice (photo).

Serve as a side dish or as a light and refreshing evening meal with rice or naans.

This recipe is more than a curiosity - it's very pleasant and I shall be cooking this again. The curry is very hot with the chilies and yet bursts into a sweet shower in your mouth, a bit like a red cousin of raita.



  • #1
  • Comment by Marc
Wow, that sounds amazing! I shall try that this weekend!
  • #2
  • Comment by Derek
Interesting recipe.  I made it this afternoon and it has definite potential.  I'm wondering about the 2 tbsp of turmeric, though -- is that the correct amount?  It seemed off-balance to me; I think I'd reduce it by half the next time I make this.Also, what is the rice dish shown in the final picture?  I cooked some basmati with raisins and cashews and it was pretty good.  Maybe yours has saffron?
  • #3
  • Answered by fx
Derek, I revised the ingredient list and you were indeed right - there was way too much turmeric. Sorry for that!

For the rice if I'm in a hurry I usually boil basmati or long grain parboiled rice with a chicken stock cube and add raisins soaked in water and saffran or just a drop of turmeric water for the color. You can add some cashew nuts or blanched almonds briefly dry-roasted in a frying pan.

  • #4
  • Comment by Giovanna
Questa ricetta è davvero curiosa e interessante... complimento per il bellissimo blog!!
  • #5
  • Comment by Clive Costa-Correa
Hi Francois.I tried this at the weekend for an Indian barbecue for 25 people and it was a serious hit. However the dish generated a great deal more fluid than I'd expected (not a problem as I just drained it). Have you experienced that? One of my guests suggested that if it was lightly blitzed in a food processor, it could be an interesting Gazpacho-like spiced soup!RegardsClive
  • #6
  • Answered by fx
Clive, your making one of my curries is praise from Caesar! I've never eaten better curries than yours even in serious Indian restaurants - thanks! Yes there is much water coming off the crushed watermelon but you just boil it off over high heat. The watermelon cubes are just heated, not really cooked, so unless it is very ripe they should not give off all that much liquid. As for a gazpacho, why not, it would be a nice substitute for people like me who are not too keen on tomatoes!
  • #7
  • Comment by pandhibhojan Cult
We are starting watermelon cultivation in Malayattoor village near Kalady the birth place of Adhi Sankara in Ernkulam Dist. Kerala. Pl inform from where we can get good watermelon seeds? And its marketing possibility.(Vijayan Pandala)Secretary.
  • #8
  • Comment by Clive
Hi FrancoisWhile recently in Canada I sampled for the first time, wine from India. This was a 2005 Nashik Shiraz, apparently from 100 miles from Bombay, at 2000 feet asl. Interestingly, it was quite light, closer to a South African Pinot Noir. They've got a website which I've not had a chance to visit yet: www.sulawines.com
  • #9
  • Comment by parshu.narayanan
Vijayan Tambi. This is a foodie's blog and the wrong place for your question, glad as I am to hear the name of the sixth century saint adi Shankara, as my 4-year old son's name is Advait (non-dual). I suggest you contact APEDA in delhi, a quasi-govt developmental body for further information through their website. The UP goverment Agriculture dev. deptt is also a good place to ask, as the Rampur pathans, desecendants of invaders from the original melon country, Afghanistan, do extensive cultivation of all varieties and types of musk and water-melon. The GM Namdhari melon from Pune, Maharashtra is also worthwhile for your research. I may also add it is ridiculous to ask this question on an international food blog run by a Swiss CA, but it is more to do with your (innocent) lack of exposure than anything. I have lived in an Indian village, ( my maternal grandmum's family zamindari was in Chittor ditrict, Andhra Pradesh) so I understand.
  • #10
  • Comment by Rick
I made this dish a few times this past summer. I work and live on a towboat for two weeks out of every month, with three other men who are not as adventurous in their willingness to try new foods as I am. I cook Indian food almost every day and most days the men will only try a bite. This dish they loved and asked me to make it a regular part of my menu.As the sauce reduces, the cubed watermelon in the bowl releases more of it's delicious juices. I keep adding that juice to the reduction. This prevents the finished dish from becoming too diluted.Rick...
  • #11
  • Answered by fx
Rick, this sounds intriguing! What do you do on a towboat? Where in the world is it based? Your fellow workers must like you big time for cooking such fine dishes every night!
  • #12
  • Comment by Malissa
I love your illistrations and how very detailed you are. I am excited to try all the recipes in your articles. I love it, I thin you are better than the foodnetwork channel and website! You rock!
  • #13
  • Answered by fx
Thanks Malissa, I hope you'll get to try some of my recipes and to see you around the blog in the future!
  • #14
  • Comment by Hassan Bun Yaasim
It is very delicious and tasty. Jolly good curry :D
  • #15
  • Comment by Helena
Mmmm ... cannot wait till the watermelons fruit and ripen in the garden to try this.

I'm a carnivore though. Trying to decide what type of meat to throw into this sauce to bulk up the texture.
  • #16
  • Answered by fx
Helena, if you try this I recommend you do a separate meat dish and keep the watermelon curry as a refreshing side dish.
This is a very interesting recipe. I never know that we can use watermelon to cook curry. Nice colour!
  • #18
  • Answered by fx
Pete, indeed the colors are quite striking, but the curry is delicious too!
  • #19
  • Comment by Julie
Hi FX. I tried this tonight as a side dish with a chicken curry & it was very popular with all the family. Most unusual, spicy & refreshing at the same time. Thank you.
  • #20
  • Answered by fx
Julie glad your family liked the watermelon curry!
  • #21
  • Comment by Paty
 Im going to try this recipe,it works perfect for me right now because we have plenty of watermelons in my city plus a very hot summer and it will be nice to have refreshing meal.
  • FX's answer→ Yes it's a great way to use watermelons, don't let it cook too long though and use plenty of chilies.

How many people will this serve?

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