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Kitchen Adventure #12 to India - Watermelon Curry

Kitchen Adventure #12 to India - Watermelon Curry

1st Aug 2021

This week's adventure: So my brother's an adventurous eater. He's well known in my family for eating squid, frog legs, and all the things that makes my tummy turn. When he learned that I was doing these adventures he had one request...that I try watermelon curry. By pure coincidence, he came in for a visit this past week, so, being watermelon season, we decided to give it a go. With Indian Independence Day coming up, the timing was perfect!

Pre-adventure jitters: Ummm...it's watermelon...in a curry. I tried grilled watermelon several years ago and just couldn't embrace the temperature of it. I like my watermelon crispy cold. You know, so you hear it crack as the knife goes through? No salt, no seasonings, no fruit salad...just simple unadulterated watermelon. Mhm...this doesn't bode well, but I made a promise to my brother. Soooo armed with a recipe from Food.com and a big ole butcher knife to whack open that watermelon, the adventure begins. 

The adventure: I can't believe it. I have everything I need except for the watermelon! There's no searching, no multiple stops, just a quick run to the store and I'm good to go. 

I survey the big cardboard bins of melons and try to select the best one. It's always such a crap shoot. I look for a clean stem break, yellow on the bottom where it sat in the field, pronounced patterning on the skin versus a solid green, a good hollow sound when I knock. Mhm...I'm totally aware the 10 minutes I spend choosing just the right one is pretty much a waste, cause you truly never know, but it makes me feel like I have the "in" on sweet and juicy. I finally focus in on one specific melon that checks all the boxes, pick it up, theennnn see a second bin and the comparison begins all over again. Finally, an obscene amount of time later, I choose my perfect melon and I'm on my way home.

The directions are incredibly easy on this one...and it's done in the time you cook the rice. Seriously? I almost feel like I'm cheating with this adventure. The cookies took a couple days. The beef wellington took HOURS as did several of the others. A 20 minutes and done makes me feel a little guilty. 

I start the rice, since that's the time consuming portion of this adventure. Grab the butcher knife to whack at my watermelon, take the end off, annnddd it's not quite ripe. Dammit. It's an imposter melon. You know, one that looks like it should, sounds like it should, but is truly just pretending so it can muck me up. It is what it is. I'm certainly not going back to the store when this is getting coated in spices anyway. I chop up the watermelon, feeding the massive area of kinda pink but not ripe to my dog. She just LOVES watermelon. 

Toss a cup of the chunks in my blender and hit puree. Nothing. The chunks are caught up in that spot. You know, where the glass flares out above the blades. I give it a jiggle, hit puree again. One cube gets liquified, the rest are still stuck. Dammit. I take off the lid and use my spatula to mash it down, hit puree, and only two more get zipped. I shake the bejeebers out of the blender in a fit of annoyance as it's "pureeing" and it works. My sauce is now blended and my blender knows it's on thin ice. 

I grab my wok pan, pour in the sauce, and heat it up. Stir while it's bubbling for way more than 5 minutes. Seriously. The first 5 minutes did NOTHING in the boil down. Rice cooker clicked finished in the middle of it, so we're looking at maybe 10 minutes? Added the coconut milk, lime juice...then the watermelon cubes. Annnddd just like that, it's done.

I plate my meal, give myself a moment to mentally prepare, then take the first bite. My mouth completely freaks out. There's the sweet of the watermelon, the spice of the curry, the cream of the coconut, and the earthy texture of the rice. My tongue is having a complete sensory overload. I take another quiet moment. Bite number two and my taste buds have settled down a bit. It's really good...really really good. I finish off plate number one and realize, aside from the rice, I really didn't get much to eat. I'm still hungry. I finish off plate number two. Still hungry. That's the thing about watermelon...it's water. There's nothing there to stick to the ribs. Soooo I make myself a slice of peanut butter toast to finish off my meal and call it a success. This one will be in the book to try again next watermelon season...only with a shish kebab, I'm thinking. On to the next adventure!

The Recipe - Watermelon Curry

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups seedless watermelon cut into 1" square cubes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

Directions:

  1. Puree 1 cup of the watermelon cubes, chili powder, turmeric, coriander, garlic, and cumin in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour puree into a large skillet or wok and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, so that the contents have reduced by about half.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice and continue simmering for another minute.
  4. Add the remaining watermelon cubes and simmer until hot through, about 3 more minutes.
  5. Serve over rice.