Last week Nicola and I tried a vegetarian, fruit recipe called “Watermelon Curry with Black Beans and Paneer” from the recipe book, “The Modern Vegetarian” by Maria Elia. Naturally we didn’t have any Paneer handy so we used tofu. Paneer, by the way, is a form of curdled cheese. We also used Canola oil instead of Grapeseed oil and substituted yellow curry for turmeric.
- 2 tablespoons Canola oil
- 1 white onion
- fresh ginger (6 cm)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 red chilies
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 2 teaspoons yellow curry
- 4 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 250 g of tofu
- 400 g of black beans
- dried coriander (powder)
- sea salt
- juice 1-2 limes (not used)
First off I sliced up the watermelon and carved off the outside. I placed about 3/4 of the watermelon into my blender and puréed it. I cut about another 1/3 into chunks to be added later in the cooking process. I ended up with a small chunk of watermelon left over.
Heating half of the oil in a pan we added the onion, ginger and garlic and cooked over medium heat until softened.
We then added the chilies, lemongrass and spices and cooked it for another minute or so.
We then added the purée and brought it to a boil, then simmered until it reduced by about 50%. This really is the key step as upon adding the whole amount of watermelon the spices are doused and the acidic nature of the juice comes out.
The tofu was fried in the rest of the oil then dabbed to remove any excess oil.
After the liquid had reduced we stirred in the beans, tofu and cubed watermelon. The powdered coriander was added and we aded a bit of salt.
Once warmed through we served the liquid with coconut basmati rice that we had prepared in our rice cooker.
Initially we had reservations about the amount of watermelon juice we would be using and whether the spices would show through. We needn’t have worried, after reduction the spices melded wonderfully with the watermelon and the rice. The dish was truly delicious and we have been enjoying leftovers for a few days. The blending of the fluid and spices only gets better with time.
You need to demonstrate a bit of faith and patience with this recipe, however in the end it will be a nice change of pace meal, especially using the watermelon, which was a first for me.