Watermelon Rind and Bean Curry

Throwing food is something I try to avoid as much as possible. Almost everything we buy gets eaten or used this way or another. In this case, I’m referring to watermelon rind. Did you ever think it was edible? I didn’t think about it until a few months ago when a friend brought me some mysterious preserves she made. I couldn’t figure out what she could possibly had used to make the preserves. I was very surprised when she finally revealed her “secret” ingredient – watermelon rind. I enjoyed it, but when it was gone, I moved on with my life and completely forgot about it.

Yesterday, I brought home a watermelon. My husband cut it and placed the wedges in a special container, and we were left with a big amount of the rind. Just before we were about to dump it in the compost bin, my son reminded us of those preserves we all enjoyed, which gave me an idea. Try and make a savory dish using the rind as the main ingredient. I decided to go completely untraditional and use unconventional combinations of ingredients and flavors, and got some inspiration from a post I found in the blog Sumptuous Spoonfuls.

I think my creation came out pretty good…

Ingredients:
Sauce:
2 tbs minced fresh ginger
4 large cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1 medium lime
2 tbs palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
2 tbs peanut butter
2 tbs rice vinegar
2 tbs soy sauce
5 tbs Thai masaman curry paste
1 15oz can coconut milk
4 tbs chopped cilantro
2 tbs Thai fish sauce (optional)

5-6 cups watermelon rind, peeled and cubed
3 tbs oil
3 cups cooked beans (I used pinto beans)
8 medium baby Bella mushrooms, sliced into thick slices

Preparation:
In a medium bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the watermelon cubes. Sauté for 6-7 minutes over high heat, stirring the watermelon occasionally. The watermelon should be lightly seared and wilted.

Add the sliced mushrooms, the beans and the sauce. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 more minutes.

Sweet Potato in Curry and Cinnamon

My daughter doesn’t like vegetables. She’s been fighting it for years. But for someone who really wants to be vegan and healthy, she has to learn to eat her veggies somehow. Last week, being home from college, she decided to experiment a little in the kitchen. She found one sweet potato and decided to combine it with Indian flavors that we all love so much. When she let us try the end result, we were all blown away. It came out DELICIOUS!! So Indian tasting on one hand, and so original on the other. She actually invented a dish, and a really good one, too. I’m so proud of her!

So, we made it again last night, this time with measurements, so I can post the recipe for all of you to enjoy.

Ingredients:
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 tbs oil
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
black pepper
Salt

Dressing:
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
Juice and zest from 1 large lime
3 tbs oil

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes with the spices. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and spread the sweet potatoes on top, in one layer.

Roast the sweet potatoes until they are soft, about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, in a large bowl, mix the dressing ingredients.

Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and toss them in the bowl with the dressing. Coat all pieces with the dressing but be careful not to mash the sweet potato.

Return to the baking sheet, turn the oven to hi broil and broil for a few minutes, until the sweet potatoes are roasted and crispy.

Remove from the oven and try not to finish everything while you wait for it to cool off.