Watermelon Shouldn’t Work in Curry. But It Does!

published Aug 11, 2016
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Watermelon Curry (Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Sweet, juicy watermelon really can do no wrong. Sliced into thick wedges and eaten with sticky fingers, it’s summer fruit at its finest. You can also toss it with feta for a sweet and salty fruit salad or whiz it into a ridiculously refreshing cocktail, but you already know this.

What you might not know is that watermelon can be transformed into something hot, savory, and spicy. I am talking about watermelon curry.

What Is Watermelon Curry?

The first time I read about watermelon curry I was confused. Maybe you’re imagining a steaming bowl of the thick and saucy curry you usually order at your favorite Indian spot — just with watermelon chunks in it. How can that be good?

First, it’s important to clear up what a curry really is. The name gets thrown around a lot, but its traditional meaning is anything that is in a flavorful sauce. It’s a loose term for countless dishes in Indian cuisine, so a watermelon curry is really just watermelon in an aromatic sauce.

A Little History

This dish isn’t something that a hip new Indian restaurant in Brooklyn decided to experiment with — it actually has a long history in Rajasthan, the largest state in India located in the northwest corner of the country. It’s a specialty of the state where the fruit is abundant.

Sweet, Spicy, and Refreshing All at Once

What makes this dish so unique is just how the flavors and textures play off of each other. A classic mix of Indian spices — cumin, coriander, and turmeric — infuse their aromatics into the sweet flesh of the fruit, while cayenne gives the whole dish a punch. But it’s not too sweet or too spicy, thanks to the balance between the fruit and the cayenne.

The sauce is simply a mix of a little puréed watermelon and the water that leaches from the fruit chunks. Served over basmati rice, the soft, warm watermelon is a nice contrast to the grains of rice.

I hope I convinced you to give watermelon curry a try. It’s by far the most unique way you’ll enjoy the fruit this summer, but I guarantee that it will also be the most memorable.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Curry

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)