The Perfect Match: Pairing Watermelon with Food
Watermelon is one of those fruits that we Asians take quite a bit for granted, given we have easy access to it year-round. Also, most of us enjoy watermelon as is, meaning we blend it down a juice or we eat it as sliced fruit. But what if we told you, there’s more than just these two ways to enjoy this refreshing and thirst-quenching fruit? Like any food duo, you need to take note of its properties like flavour profile, texture and like in this case, its water content. As watermelons are very juicy fruits, you might need to consider how its served and prepared. Also, because most of its flavour is basically sweetness (and sadly, not much else), it needs a good balance of richness and fullness on the palate. We’ll show you just how diverse and experimental you can get with these juicy red gems!
1. Spice Things Up!
Bet you didn’t think to add spices to watermelon, but in truth, they go really well when mixed in with common spices like basil, ginger, mint, cilantro and even curry powder! Juicy morsels of sweet watermelon and diced tomatoes (both of which benefit the heart) perfectly complement the savoury aspects of cumin, chili pepper, and turmeric, which assists in easing inflammation. It’s the perfect combination to create a stewed watermelon curry.
Another idea would be serve watermelon as a salad, like a quinoa salad with watermelon, feta and basil. You’ll want to ensure that the nutty quinoa and salty feta soak in the sweet watermelon juices for longer, giving this refreshing starter a lot more flavour!
Fancy a salsa? Try making a watermelon, strawberry and mint salsa, made with small chunks of watermelon and strawberries, finely chopped mint and drizzled with just a wee bit of honey for that extra sweetness. Then pick out your favourite nachos and happy snacking!
2. Add It to Seafood
The next time you’re thinking of holding a barbecue, we suggest using that watermelon as part of your mains instead of keeping it for dessert. You can grill watermelon cubes and add it to loads of different types of seafood like fish, shrimp and scallops.
One idea would be to make a shrimp and watermelon salad with a lime-honey-garlic dressing. What more, protein-rich shrimp complement a fruit salad made from antioxidant-rich lychees, oranges, and watermelon!
Alternatively, if you’re feeling fancy, you can incorporate watermelons in a ceviche (a South American dish of marinated raw fish or seafood). The bright crunch of very fresh watermelon can add nice texture, while the natural sweetness of shrimp and lobster pair especially well with watermelon.
3. Sip On It
No, we don’t mean just juicing it; we mean turning it into a soup! Just like tomato can be made into a gazpacho (a cold soup), so can watermelon. Add red bell peppers to the mix, and you’ve got yourself one great starter with quite a kick!
Re-think the way you use a watermelon by including its rind in this great recipe. Hearty chunks of watermelon rind contribute citrulline – a key component in creating amino acids that perk up the collagen in your skin. Throw in carrots and watermelon in a pot for 10 minutes, or until softened. Then add stock of your choice (we reckon chicken stock is best) and chopped cilantro and bring it to a boil. Proceed to reduce heat and allow it to simmer for another 10 minutes. You can choose to consume it either hot or cold.
Wani’s writing has always spoken on her behalf far more than the spoken word. Her emotional relationship with food is almost as intense as her crazy love for HIIT workouts. Having written all things lifestyle, Wani now embarks on her freelance journey, journalling her epicurean trails and sweaty gym sessions with relentless fervor.