Varuth aracha kootu curry with watermelon rind.

Kootu curry
Whenever I talk about Kerala, I feel like I have words pouring out of my ears,and nose too to the speed I am unable to keep up. This time it is about the huge relief to see Kerala get back on its feet after massive flood destruction. It is still in need of rebuilding and your help if possible is needed.
You can use these portals to contribute whatever you feel worthwhile toward this largescale attempt.

 To this recipe

Kootu curry js one of the most simple and flavourful side dish from Kerala. The use of water laden vegetables in the kootu curry, along with the masala paste made with roasted coconut makes this curry aromatic.  Since I have been moving countries for a while and finding wintermelon or snake gourd means a lot of travel, I have learned to use watermelon rind effectively in these situations. Of course, it is a part of the waste not! want not! policy.
Check out the watermelon rind chutney version here.
The combination of lentils and the mixed masala with coconut makes this nonspicy side dish popular among all ages.  You can prepare this recipe for the Onam/Vishu sadhya menu too.


If you prefer a coconut free version of this recipe use almonds as the swap, just like I have done with the papaya erisherey.
The same recipe can be made with vegetables like wintermelon, snake gourd, ridge gourd squash or zucchini.

Shh cooking challenge

Renu is my partner for this month’s Shh cooking challenge based on Kerala. An amazing blogger with a variety of recipes under her hat, Renu’s website is tongue tickling.
Here it is for you to explore
Since we, both have similar concerns about living abroad and accessing Indian ingredients so she gave me two wonderful ones to incorporate. The lentils and turmeric that she gave me were appropriate for what I had at hand. Added to that, the huge watermelon we picked up at the farmers market served its purpose well too.
 So here we go with this recipe and watching Kerala arise like the pheniox bird. When you make this recipe, please send me a picture of it with your review. Catch up with us here on
or pin your favourites here
Catch you next month with more festivities, stories and recipe updates.
Kootu curry

Varuth aracha kootu curry

with water-laden vegetables
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course sidedish, Traditional
Cuisine diabetic friendly, gluten free, Indian, Kerala, One pot, Pressure cooker
Servings 6 people
Calories 96 kcal


For cooking together

  • 1/2 watermelon (small)
  • 1 cup Moong dal pasiparippu / green gram dal
  • drinking water as needed
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

for the masala paste

  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 small dry red chilli
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal skinned black gram
  • 1/2 tsp Split bengal gram
  • drinking water as needed

for tempering

  • 1 tsp coconut oil (swap to any neutral oil )
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida
  • 2 whole red chilli


  • Wash, cut and remove the juicy pink sections of watermelon. Save it for eating, juicing or slushie ( recipe is available on this blog)
  • Remove the green outer portion of the rind and save all the white portion.
  • Dice the white portion from half a water melon to get about 2 and 1/2 cups of white portion dices as 1 to 2 cm cubes.
  • Into a cooking pot add the moong dal, two cups of water, turmeric and bring to a boil.
  • Bring this to boil and simmer till the dal is cooked. to test this remove a few bots of dal and crush gently. if they yield it is cooked.
  • Now add the watermelon rind diced, salt and mix well. Add a bit more water if you need. ( remember the watermelon will release a lot of water.)
  • Cook on a low heat till the rind is translucent.
  • Mean while in a Pan roast the urad dal, channa dal, red chilli, black pepper, cumin , till the dals turn golden brown.
  • Now add the coconut and gently roast till it turns aromatic.
  • Add this masala mix into a spice blender and powder when it is a bit cooler.
  • Add a touch of water and grind to a smooth paste.
  • Add this mixture together to the watermelon lentil mix which is cooking and simmer for about 7-10 minutes.
  • Check on the water level and do not miss to keep stirring as it may catch at the bottom.
  • Now for the tempering, In a small pan add 1 tsp oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and allow them to crackle.
  • Add the red chilii, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida and saute till they roast well.
  • Add the coconut grated and roast till it is golden brown
  • Add this to top the curry which has just finished cooking. Keep it covered for another 5 minutes allowing the tempering to infuse.
  • Serve hot with rice, breads or on nachos( my kids love this)
    Kootu curry


You can omit the red chilli totally if you want a nonspicy version.


Calories: 96kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 3gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 369mgPotassium: 87mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
5 2 votes

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Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
5 years ago

Cooking it with rind is definitely new… kootu curry is something I make when my head rings nothing for lunch on weekends… hehe… like you said, any vegetable goes with it! We usually add fennel instead of cumin for our paste… I guess it’s more of a Malabar thing… 🙂

The Girl Next Door
5 years ago

This looks so good! 🙂 It is so interesting that you have used watermelon rind in the dish!

Vidya Narayan
5 years ago

Kerala is famous for its Kootu Kari varieties and it is a hearty, healthy meal option. What I like most is the roasted coconut with tempering as the grand finale. Makes it so flavourful and delicious.

Shobha Keshwani
5 years ago

I have never prepared any dish with water melon rind.. brilliant idea. I will make it this week as I have a water melon.

5 years ago

Yummy ! Love the idea of using watermelon rind. The watermelon better watch out now for there will be a madscientistskitchen after it’s rind.

5 years ago

oh this is completely new to me. Watermelon rind and daal…wow ..very nice

Anu Kollon
5 years ago

I never made kootu curry with watermelon rind. I have read making curries with the rind but never tried them. Going to make this one for sure.

Priya Suresh
5 years ago

Nothing can beat the aroma of this kootu curry, just love anything prepared with homemade masala paste..Can smell the flavor of this dish rite now here.

Sujata Roy
5 years ago

Moong dal with watermelon rind sounds amazing. I always discard the rind. Next time I will try it. Dal looks delicious and flavourful. Superb share.

5 years ago

Innovative use of the white part of watermelon. My mom makes use of the whole watermelon and everyone use to be how. I will share this recipe with her, she would be happy to see this.

Mayuri Patel
5 years ago

And to think that I throw away the rind when I can easily make a scrumptious looking curry with it. A wonderful share for the theme and used your ingredients very well. Waiting for Kerala to rise back to its glory as I’ve not been there. We were planning to visit it this year but now will have to wait for a while.

5 years ago

what a lovely way to use up the rind ! Malabar cookign also has a similar recipe, and this kootu curry pairs so well with rice and papaddum !

5 years ago

Innovative Kootu. I have tried only Rajasthani dishes with Watermelon peel and this one goes on my list with its familiar and comforting flavours.

5 years ago

I need to try this, looks like a comfort meal for me. I just throw away that rind. Lovely share for the theme.

Poonam Bachhav
5 years ago

Using watermelon rind in a lentil curry is something very new to me Seema. Love the aroma of freshly prepared spice mix. The curry sounds very flavorful and nutritious.would definitely try it when watermelons are in season again.

Sujata Shukla
5 years ago

Vegetable kootu is a regular on my table – easy to make and tasty, using any of a variety of vegetables. I haven’t come across kootu made of watermelon though. Every time I buy watermelon, I cut out the pink part and discard the white and the rind. Now you have given me a way to use up these parts too! Love this recipe and I hope to try it at the earliest.

Mayuri Patel
1 year ago
Rating :

Seema I had saved this recipe sometime back. I finally got down to trying the recipe and it turned out simply delicious. Initially the family thought that I had used bottle gourd. They were pleasantly surprised when I said it was watermelon rind.

1 year ago
Rating :

Kootu curry with watermelon rind looks delish ! Love the aroma of that toasted coconut, i have made kootu curry sometimes back, but with mix of veggies, will definitely try this rind

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