A labor of love that is well worth the effort
When I began my latest series on watermelon, I expected to have my mind blown with some amazing watermelon fruit recipes. However, I did not expect to receive so many watermelon rind recipes, especially savory ones. Yet, here I am with one of the most delicious and savory watermelon rind dishes around – Taramuja er Tarakari. This shrimp and watermelon rind curry is an exciting part of my recent series on how the world eats watermelon.
This recipe is courtesy of Alisha, and more specifically, Alisha’s mother. Although they are both originally from Bangladesh, they currently live in Canada, where they love to make Alisha’s mother’s Taramuja er Tarakari. There are a few kinds of watermelon rind curries in Bangladeshi cuisine, but this shrimp variation is all thanks to Alisha’s mother. After a few different experiments in the kitchen, her watermelon rind and shrimp curry was born. Now in Alisha’s family, everyone knows that when a watermelon is purchased in the summertime, you can expect a bowl of the curry soon after.
At first glance, Taramuja er Tarakari may seem like a complicated dish, but it honestly couldn’t be simpler. Fresh watermelon rinds are cut into bite-sized pieces and then blanched – a cooking method where food is quickly boiled and then plunged into cold water to halt the cooking process. Meanwhile, diced onions and green chiles are sauteed together until tender and then combined with a bold mixture of turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, and ginger garlic paste. Finally, the watermelon rinds and shrimp are put into the skillet and left to absorb all of the aromatics and spices. Everything is then served over a bed of white rice and topped with some fresh herbs.
The blanched and sauteed watermelon rinds end up with this beautifully soft texture that’s also surprisingly reminiscent of a cucumber. The fishiness of the shrimp also brings out a savory boldness, along with the earthy heat of the spices. In my opinion, Taramuja er Tarakari is a nice introduction to a few of the flavors and cooking methods of Bangladeshi cooking, but is also a tasty and affordable meal to make throughout the summer.
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