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+ servings
pan of watermelon curry

Watermelon Curry

A surprising and delicious use of watermelon. Try this light and refreshing dish next time you need a new main course.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword curry, rice, vegetables, watermelon
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Laura


  • 4 pound seedless watermelon
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, halved About 8-10 ounces
  • 7 ounces extra firm tofu (or firm with water pressed out, cut into 1" cubes See note about pressing tofu
  • 1/4 cup canola or similar vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery or sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (ground red) pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced About 3 medium cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 lime, juiced


  1. Cut off and discard the green outer rind of the watermelon. Then cut the white part of the rind off from the meat and cut both into pieces about 1” square, setting them aside in 2 separate bowls.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan. Sauté the zucchini and pepper chunks for 7-8 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set the vegetables aside in a large bowl, add another tablespoon of oil, and sauté the tofu cubes for about 5 minutes. Add the tofu to the cooked vegetable mixture.

  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. After it heats, add the oregano, cumin, celery or sesame seeds, chili powder and cayenne. Stir the mixture on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until you begin to smell their aroma. Add the garlic and continue stirring for another 30-45 seconds. Then add the chunks of rind, salt, and turmeric. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally for about 6-8 minutes. The spices will adhere to the chunks and the formerly white rind will darken slightly.

  4. Pour 1 cup of water into the pan, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the rind cook for about 10 minutes, until the pieces are tender enough for a fork to go through with mild resistance.

  5. Uncover the pan and raise the heat to medium high. Add the tofu, vegetables, and watermelon chunks. Stir the mixture gently to combine and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring gently once or twice. Once the mixture is thoroughly heated and the chunks of red watermelon meat have begun to soften and glisten remove the pan from the heat. Finally, sprinkle juice from half a lime over the curry.

  6. Serve over basmati or jasmine rice.  

Recipe Notes

Note on tofu - To press the water out of firm tofu, first put a paper towel around the tofu block. Then place a plate on top, with a heavy can or other object on top. Leave it for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, remove the heavy object, plate, and paper towel. Finally, pat the tofu dry.