Watermelon Rind Dal Recipe |  Watermelon Kootu Recipe
One of the highlights of cooking by our previous generations, in my opinion, definitely has got to be how efficiently they used the produce. The amount of wastage was kept to bare minimum and I am sure, even that was put to good use like composting etc. Thanks to my ever increasing interest in gardening, I am now majorly into composting all my food scraps; so much so that its been 2 weeks since I put out my food/garden trash bin for collection thanks to it being empty. I am now looking into ways of using stuff that mostly went into my bin before - watermelon rind being among them.
Watermelon Rind Dal Recipe |  Watermelon Kootu Recipe
After eating the red juicy part, the rest of the watermelon went into trash/compost. Watermelon rind is the nutritious white part of the watermelon just between the bright red/pink flesh and the outer green skin of the fruit.  If you were like me, you would probably eat/scoop the juiciest pink flesh and then throw the remaining away!  But don't do this anymore.  Last few months have been making dishes with the rind part of the fruit, this particular recipe being a favourite. This is my mom's recipe and that we all loved enough to repeat 4-5 times. You know its a winner when your little one suggest we get watermelon so that we can make this kootu once again!
Watermelon Rind Dal Recipe |  Watermelon Kootu Recipe
Kootu is a southern cousin to (north) Indian Dal. The highlight is a dal with some kind of vegetable added to it and forms part of a "thali". This is one of those versatile dishes that makes for a great playing field for your preferences. The amounts mentioned is more a guideline that works perfect for us. But depending on the produce, your palate and your imagination, you can customize it. The rind is almost invisible in this dal and for those worried about its adoption, don't need to think twice before making it. The ingredients marry well and work in harmony.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 4 - 6 people
  • 1-1/2 cups Moong Dal (split skinned mung)
  • 3 cups (heaped) cubed Watermelon Rind
  • 1/3 cup grated Coconut (fresh/frozen) - or to taste
  • 1 tsp Idli Chutney Powder(Gunpowder,Molaga Podi), or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
To Temper
  • 1 tbsp Ghee/ Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 tsp Urad Dal (split, skinned Black lentils)
  • 1/8 tsp Asafoetida
  • Few sprigs of Curry Leaves
1. Add the lentils to a pressure cooker. You can pre soak the lentils for 30min to 1 hour for faster cooking/better digestion. You can alternatively also dry roast the lentils until aromatic and then continue from here.
2. Add the watermelon rind and turmeric powder. The amount of watermelon rind can be adjusted according to your taste.
3. Add enough water to cover the lentil rind mixture. You can always add more later to adjust the consistency.
4. Pressure cook for about 10 minutes. We cooked it for 5 whistles. This is one of those cases when "mushy" is totally a good thing :)
5. While that's cooking, place the coconut in a blender. The amount depends on your taste. You can avoid it if needed as well. It adds to the taste but can be skipped if health reasons don't permit it. I would recommend freshly grated coconut but I use frozen to good results as well.
6. Blend it into a paste with addition of little water if required. Set aside.
7. Open the cooker when done.
8. Add the coconut paste, pepper powder, gunpowder (idli chutney powder) and salt at this point.
9. Mix to combine. You can taste test to adjust seasoning according to your taste. If needed, add hot water to adjust the consistency. Adjust seasoning once again in that case.
10. In another skillet, add Ghee/ Oil of your choice. Add the ingredients given in the "Temper" section, starting with mustard seeds. Once it starts spluttering, add the lentils and asafoetida. Switch off the flame when the lentils turn reddish brown and then add the curry leaves. You can also add few cilantro leaves if you like.
11. Now add it to the Kootu/Dal. Combine.
Serve it hot along with any accompaniment of your choice. Plain steamed rice makes for a perfect accompaniment (drizzled with some ghee) in my opinion. It also makes a great side dish along with a regular South Indian Meal  like Sambar, Rasam, Poriyal/Curry, Pachadi and Vadams.
Watermelon Rind Dal Recipe |  Watermelon Kootu Recipe

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By SUBHA BALARAM on Jun 8, 2018

loved this recipe. It had a unique good taste. Hats off to u

I am so glad you liked it Subha :) --DK

By Christy on Feb 19, 2016

Wonderful recipe! You are the best of all! Whenever I feel Un motivated to cook for my family, I visit your blog to feel self motivated. Not sure how , but you make an otherwise poor cook like me , a good one and sometimes with little hard work I realize I can even become great . you somehow make your recipes work great for my family. Thanks for the magic you bring in my kitchen and in the hearts of helpless many! You make me a winner in my kitchen !! That is one desperate place in the world that I would rather be winner . You are a very special person to me. Absolutely versatile. Your recipes transform that to our kitchens as well ! Thanks !!

Awee, thank you for this much love. Its a blessing! Now I better start posting more recipes soon :). --DK

By Priya on Dec 13, 2015

hi, Very nice Post.... Thank u for sharing...

By Saranya on Oct 5, 2015

I meant to say we grind coconut, cumin and chillies

By Saranya on Oct 5, 2015

Watermelon rind kootu looks delicious. You are absolutely right about the previous generation's no waste policy. We grind coconut and cumin for kootu. I will definitely try your method. Thanks!