Monday, June 30, 2008

Watermelon Curry with Cucumber

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.


  1. watermelon, curry and cucumber! What a unique combination, so creative :)

  2. wooow. for me it's very unusual combination yest very interesting. I will definitely give it a try :-)

  3. What a fantastic recipe. Great contribution for weekend herb blogging. Such an interesting conbination!

  4. how awesome! some show had the head chef at Tabla here in NYC recently and he made a watermelon curry dish! at that time i scratched my head, but then figured some of the best chutneys include fruit and curry so why not? i've gotta give this a try.

  5. I'm intrigued! Great combination. I will give it a try.

  6. Fearless KitchenJune 30, 2008 8:49 AM

    This looks great. Really great, in fact. Do you think it would be okay served cold or at room temperature?

  7. hmmnn.. this is interesting. never had watermelon as a savory dish before. this recipe is going to my must-try list...:o) by the way re: the bola-bola siopao, in cebu (philippines) where i come from, they use color codes. i think the yellow one is the bola-bola.

  8. Watermelon curry? I thought I was weird putting apples into my chicken curry! :O

  9. That's such an interesting combination! Looks great!

  10. First the bagoong butter, now this... Really interesting stuff.

  11. WHHOOOAAA this really looks like something. The sweet coolness of the cuke and melon against the spicy curry....ooohhh.

    I might need to think about this for awhile.

  12. Wow!!!!! I love the colours♥♥♥
    This is an amazing recipe!!! Bookmarked for this hot humid summer we are having... I love it :D.
    You should try to send it over to root source, I think their subject is watermelon... you'd probably get this one published!!!

  13. That sounds incredibly interesting! I just love how unique the flavors are!

  14. This dish is so intriguing! Sweet and spicy! Fabulous pictures too!

  15. I have actually never had watermelon in a savory dish, but this is the second one I've seen today! Sounds interesting and delicious!

  16. Cool and juicy watermelon with spices sounds good.

  17. to all:
    I myself was quite excited making this dish as well. =)

    fearless kitchen:
    I made this way ahead, so when we were actually eating it, it was room temperature. It was fine that way. It may leach out liquid as it sits. But I think to counter that, I would just make the flavors stronger and bolder.

    That's not weird at all! I make curried chicken salad with granny smiths myself. =)

  18. Wow. What a neat combo. It never would of occured to me to put watermelon in a curry. Thanks for the great tip on the book too.
    Great WHB!

  19. Nice thing have been mentioned and I am glad to be the part of it..
    Carrol Spncr
    vancouver flowers


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