Yes. Watermelon Curry.
I first had watermelon curry while I was attending culinary school. One class/kitchen session was spent on creating an Indian banquet. As you can imagine, the watermelon curry was quite memorable.
Then, we used the recipe from 50 Great Curries of India (it's a really informative book, highly recommended; there is now a 10th Anniversary edition available). Now, I'm basing this dish on that recipe, but tweaking it here and there.
Of course, it all starts with the watermelon.
I only needed 1/4 of that gigantormous watermelon. Here are the cubes.
I decided to add cucumbers to the dish. I've always thought that I didn't like cucumbers, but that was because I had always seen them raw. We made Hainan Chicken a while back and had to put cucumber in the soup. That was a discovery! I'm all for cooked cucumber!
I semi-peeled a fairly large English cucumber (leaving strips of peel on) and removed the seeds. I then cut them in large pieces (about 1-1/2").
Then, to make the flavor base for the curry, I took 1 cup of the watermelon cubes and puréed them. Into that juice went paprika, turmeric, coriander and minced garlic. I failed to add it this time, but some cayenne pepper would give a nice kick.
The original recipe actually calls for Rajasthan chile powder. I don't usually have that on hand (as I don't even know what that is). So, instead of substituting any old chile powder, I took the book's suggestion of using paprika instead. I also increased the amount of garlic and just minced it instead of trying to make a very fine garlic purée.
Into hot oil went some cumin seeds. The seeds danced briefly in the oil before I poured in the flavored watermelon juice. I let the juice reduce then added lime juice. The cucumbers went in next.
I let them cook until they were almost soft, then added the watermelon. The watermelon only needed to be heated through. The watermelon does release some liquid (because of the salt and the heat, however gentle and short). I took the cucumber and watermelon pieces out of the sauce after cooking and then reduced the sauce down again.
This watermelon curry makes a very nice side dish. We had this with some roast chicken that echoed the flavors of the curry. One could also serve this alongside grilled prawns or even a steak. It's a very good way to use up leftover cut-up watermelon (especially from gigantormous ones).
Watermelon has long suffered being typecast into sweet roles. It's about time it stepped out into starring savory roles. Will you help it?
Watermelon Curry with Cucumber by _ts
(Adapted from "Watermelon Curry" in 50 Great Curries of Indiaby Camellia Panjabi)
1/4 large watermeon
1 large (or 2 small) English cucumbers
cayenne pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
Cut up watermelon into 1-inch cubes. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces.
Take 1 cup of the watermelon cubes and blend/puree into juice. To the juice, add the cayenne, paprika, turmeric, coriander and minced garlic.
Heat oil in wok or sauté pan. When hot, add cumin seeds. They should lightly dance about in the oil. After 20 seconds, add the flavored watermelon juice. Simmer on low heat until reduced by half.
Add the lime juice and the cucumbers. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until cucumbers are almost soft.
Add the watermelon and cook for another 3-4 minutes on low heat. Stir to make sure the cucumber and watermelon pieces are covered with the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Take out watermelon and cucumber pieces and let the sauce reduce again by half. Pour sauce over watermelon and cucumbers. Serve.
We're submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging, a world-wide food blogging event created by Kalyn's Kitchen with the goal of helping each other learn about cooking with herbs and unusual plant ingredients.
If you'd like to participate, see who's hosting next week. WHB is hosted this week by Pam of Sidewalk Shoes.