sweet and spicy watermelon curry
This watermelon curry meets all my requirements of a good recipe! It’s easy, quick, beautiful and delicious! It’s also a low-waste dish, as you can cook the tougher white inner rind of the watermelon as well. A sure hit at any dinner party!
½ a large watermelon (about 800g)
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
I teaspoon whole cumin
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground chili powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon amchur (dried mango) powder
2 tablespoons ghee
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1. Remove seeds and dice flesh into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups), leaving a thin layer of pink on rind. Cut green outer skin from rind; discard. Cut rind into 1-inch dice as well and keep separate.
- 2. Heat the ghee in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the nigella seeds (kalonji) and cumin seeds and cook until cumin is lightly browned and fragrant, about 1 minute.
- 3. Add white watermelon rind (the tougher pieces), ground cumin, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, and rock salt. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
- 4. Add remaining watermelon pieces and amchur (dried mango) powder. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer stirring occasionally. Allow watermelon to cook 8-10 minutes, until rind pieces are tender.
- 5. Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with chappati or rice.
Prep TIme : 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Recipe credit: I was first introduced to watermelon curry- and it's ingredients- by Aditi Bhatia on her instagram account @ms_masala_chai, which she subsequently discontinued. I also the had the pleasure of eating it again at a small local restaurant in Mumbai. It is apparently commonly cooked in Rajasthan, where watermelons are abundant in the sandy, arid land. I remember seeing them growing wild when visiting uncles in Rajasthan as a child; we enjoyed watching peacocks happily peck at them as they ripened!
The watermelon, is of course, critical. Ghee gives a nice browned buttery flavour and viscosity to the curry, but you can substitute the ghee with any mild-flavored oil. Nigella seeds, while uncommon, add a lovely pickle-like flavour (as these small black seeds have a onion-oregano taste and are often used in Indian pickles). If you can’t find them, leave them out. Amchur – dried mango powder – provides sourness to this curry. You can replace mango powder with a teaspoon or two of lemon or lime juice, to provide tartness. Red chili powder can be replaced with a whole fresh green chili sliced down the center.