Massaman Curry with Watermelon Rind

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 

Chef Rebecca Peizer
Culinary Institute of America
St. Helena, Calif.

With the bold flavors of curry paste, ground chiles, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves, diners won’t miss the meat in this Indian-inspired plant-based dish. The use of watermelon rind as a key ingredient also helps reduce food waste.


1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. minced shallots
½ tsp. minced fresh garlic
1-2 tbsp. massaman curry paste
½ tsp. Asian ground chili paste or dried red chili flakes
1 can (13½ oz.) unsweetened Thai coconut milk
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 yellow onion, cut into large cubes
1 lb. watermelon rind, cut into large cubes
1 lb. butternut or winter squash, peeled and diced large
1 lb. cauliflower florets
1 cup large white mushrooms, halved
¼ cup water
2 tbsp. fish sauce, or as needed
Sugar, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
2 cups cooked jasmine rice
3-4 kaffir lime leaves, slivered
¼ cup Thai basil leaves, roughly torn


1. In large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add shallots and garlic; cook 15 seconds until fragrant. Stir in curry paste and chili; stir for 10 seconds.
2. Remove ½ cup of the top creamy layer of the coconut milk and stir into curry mixture in saucepan. Cook about 2 minutes or until bubbly and oil begins to separate, stirring constantly.
3. Stir in remaining coconut milk, soy sauce, onions and watermelon rind. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes until onions and rind are softened.
4. Stir in remaining vegetables, water and fish sauce. Continue cooking another 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Add sugar and lime juice to taste.
5. To serve, divide rice among six bowls; ladle curry over rice and garnish with lime leaves and basil.

Photo courtesy of National Watermelon Promotion Board

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