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)
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon chili, ground
- ½ teaspoon garam masala Click here to buy
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon amchur (dried mango), ground Click here to buy
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 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.
- 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.
- Add white watermelon rind (the tougher pieces), ground cumin, turmeric, ground chili powder, garam masala, and rock salt. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
- Add remaining watermelon pieces and ground amchur (dried mango). Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer stirring occasionally. Allow watermelon to cook 8-10 minutes until rind pieces are tender.
- Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with chapati or rice.
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 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!
Critical Ingredients: 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 an 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 dried mango ground with a teaspoon or two of lemon or lime juice, to provide tartness. Ground red chili can be replaced with a whole fresh green chili sliced down the center.