Sunday 3 March 2013

WW Watermelon Curry and CC Green Dal

It has been quite a week.  Finished my contract, the cubby hut blew over in the wind, I discovered how hard it is to find kid's bathers in the shops at the start of autumn (now it is March), and had a busy weekend that ended with me falling over in a game of hide and seek.  My elbow is quite sore.  But fortunately I can still type (and hence blog)!  And I made watermelon curry!

I had decided to make broccoli dal, that Mel's had adapted from Vegan Yum Yum. Only I didn't have any broccoli.  I did have green leaves.  (Which reminds me of Sylvia asking why we eat spinach and not leaves from the trees.  I have been wondering did our ancestors taste lots of leaves and decide which ones made us feel good.)

As well as a lone curly kale stalk and a bag of baby spinach, I had a can of creamed corn I had opened by mistake when making kidney bean and corn stew for tacos.  I threw it in.  The dal looked quite pretty before pureeing but after it was just sludge.  E is not keen on leaves in his curry and liked it pureed.  I think I would have preferred not to puree it and be able to taste the separate elements more. 

While the dal was simmering, I had plenty of time to make a watermelon curry.  I had forgotten the watermelon I bought for Sylvia's birthday and had been interested in using it in a savoury dish.  I was quite interested in Shaheen's Watermelon, Black Bean and Paneer Curry but I find it difficult to buy black beans in our local shopping centre.  She also referred to a Watermelon Curry by Roopa Gulati.  It had a far simpler ingredients list, that suited my kitchen.

The dal was great with just a slight bitter edge.  My fascination was focused on the watermelon curry for its novelty.  It was so different to most of the curries I have made.  It had no onion, no chilli, and no salt.  I added the mustard and used smoked paprika which would have made it more savoury than the recipe intended.  Even so, it was quite sweet on the surface with lots of interesting flavours that then lingered ever so subtly.  I really loved how the watermelon chunks were soft around the edges but still had some crunch and sweetness inside.

I am sending the Watermelon Curry to Ricki for her Wellness Weekends that promotes healthy eating, and the Green Dal to Helen (co-hosting with Camille) for Credit Crunch Munch, an event that promotes frugal cooking.  (And isn't it frugal to find a use for a tin of creamed corn opened by mistake!)

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Butterless Butter Cake
Two years ago:  Fast track pizza with sweet potato sauce
Three years ago: PPN: Of birthdays, farewells, and noodles
Four years ago: Welcome little one!
Five years ago: WTSIM...Slow Food, Tambo Salad

Watermelon Curry
adapted from Roopa Gulati 
serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1/4 watermelon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp seeded mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds (optional)
  • mint leaves or curry leaves (optional)
  • Juice of ½ lime
Cut the watermelon into chunks and puree half of the watermelon chunks with the smoked paprika, turmeric and mustard.  Fry the seeds briefly in oil until they start to sizzle.  Stir in the garlic (and curry leaves if using) and then pour in the watermelon puree.  Simmer gently until the mixture is reduced by a third.  (Roopa suggests about 15 minutes but I only did about 5 minutes.)  Add the remaining watermelon chunks and cook another 5 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice and (if using) scatter with mint leaves.  Serve warm.

Green Dal
Adapted from Veganise This
serves 6

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon kalonji/nigella seeds
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chilli paste
1 cup red lentils
3 and 1/2 cups water
400g tin of creamed corn
1 teaspoon salt (or less)
1 stalk of curly kale, woody spine removed, roughly chopped
150g bag of baby spinach, roughly chopped

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add seeds and stir briefly until they start to sizzle. Add onion and cook til soft. Add garlic and dry spices. Stir for about 1 minutes. Add chilli paste, lentils, water, creamed corn, salt and curly kale. Simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are cooked. Add spinach and stir in until it wilts. Serve chunky or puree.

On the Stereo:
Beginners Guide to Scotland: Various Artists


  1. Two great recipes, Johanna. I love that broccoli dal! I can't wait to try this with creamed corn if I still have one in my pantry. :)

    Also, that watermelon curry sounds so intriguing. Glad it was a success! :)

    1. Thanks Janet - I felt like the corn disappeared in the blending of the dal which is part of the reason I think I would have preferred it unblended

  2. I'm a big fan of all kinds of dal so I know i would love the dal, but watermeloncurry? I'm intrigued. I suspect it's the kind of dish you'd either love or hate. And probably the rather hard, underripe melons we get in the UK would be better for this dish than the soft, sweet ones found in warmer climates.

    1. Thanks Janet - I think cooking hard underripe fruit always improves it - we both loved the watermelon curry but I would love to try it with more people about and see what they think - the sweetness was great and a nice alternative to having a yoghurt or chutney with the dal

  3. Ooh, I have a lot of watermelon in the fridge, and this sounds like a fascinating thing to do with it!

    1. Thanks Catherine - highly recommend you use up some of your watermelon like this - though I am amazed at just how much of it we are going through (uncooked) in this hot weather

  4. It would have never occurred to me to put watermelon in curry! And yet - I think I'd quite like it. I also like the different flavours in your green dal, and like you, suspect I'd like them left different rather than pureed (although, like you, I live with someone who would not want leaves in their dish).

    I hope the cubby house has recovered and your elbow does the same too!

    1. Thanks Kari - I have wanted to try this sort of thing for years so am pleased I finally got around to it. The cubby hut has seen better days but is still hanging in and my arm feels a bit the same but the scab is healing up nicely :-)

  5. What a unique recipe! I love this, would have never though of using watermelon!

    1. Thanks Natalie - I have at least one watermelon recipe in my cookbooks

  6. The dal looks wonderful, although I must admit I also found it prettier before blending. :P And the idea to use watermelon for a curry is really cool! I've never cooked with watermelon, only had it as a refreshing cool snack in summer so far.

    1. Thanks Kath - definitely prettier before blending - just need to get used to this curly kale I think. We are enjoying lots of watermelon as a refreshing cool snack in our current heat wave

  7. Glad you liked the green dal! The main reason I pureed my version was pure laziness, I should have chopped the broccoli into smaller florets to begin with and then it wouldn't have been necessary. The watermelon curry sounds really interesting, it's not something I can imagine my fellows being into but I'll bookmark it to try for a gathering one day.

  8. Hmmm.. watermelon in a curry. I never thought of that!


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