Gonna stay home and grill all weekend?

Try this amazing side dish courtesy of our friend, culinary curator Charles Perry:

 

LAST year I made a drop-dead Indian dinner: a lamb curry that took four hours to cook, a majestic pilaf full of toasted whole spices, a rich Moghul coconut-lime soup and a raft of fresh chutneys and side dishes. Everybody was very impressed, and afterward all the guests were begging me for a recipe.

 

A recipe.

 

They all wanted the same one. And after all my work, it was the very simplest dish I’d made. It takes less than 10 minutes to cook. But it was also the strangest item on the menu. It was a watermelon curry. No kidding, a real curry, flavored with a typical Indian mixture of turmeric and sweet and hot spices, except that it was made with chunks of watermelon instead of meat. It even had pureed garlic in it.

 

I studied my guests’ eyes; were they just going for the weirdness here?  Did they only want a novelty to surprise their friends with? No, it was true love. They’d genuinely fallen for this dish. It really is something. The sauce is watermelon juice boiled down to a thin syrup and cooked for a bit with all those loud spices before you sauté your watermelon chunks in it. The combination of ingredients makes for an amazing explosion of flavors in your mouth, as if you’re chewing

on some exotic sort of Pop Rock. Try it at your next barbecue. Its unexpected combination of flavors will stand out against that familiar background like fireworks.

 

Watermelon curry (matira)

Total time: 20 minutes

Servings: 2 to 4

 

1/4 of a large watermelon

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon garlic puree

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons oil

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 tablespoon sugar

 

1. Cut up the watermelon, remove the rind and seeds and chop the flesh into 1-inch cubes. (You’ll need about 10 cups.)

 

2. Puree 1 cup of flesh to make juice. Add the paprika, ground red pepper, turmeric, coriander, garlic and salt to taste.

 

3. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and fry the cumin seeds 20 seconds. Immediately add the juice. Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 5 minutes.

 

4. Add the lime juice and sugar to taste. Cook 1 minute. Add the watermelon pieces and cook over low heat 3 to 4 minutes, tossing to coat until heated through.

 

Chill in the fridge for an hour and serve…watch the smiles bloom….”