Mamta's Kitchen

Watermelon Skin Pickle Style Bhaji/Sabji

Tarbooz ke chilkae ki Achari Sabji

Kiran Devi Gupta

Note from Mamta: This dish is cooked in the style of a pickle, hence the name Achari a trip down the memory lane; my late mother in-law used to make it and it always tasted great. The watermelon in those days used to have a thick layer of white flesh between the red, sweet flesh and the outer, green skin. Anyway, I tried it today, leaving a tiny bit of red flesh on as well, simply to give it a little flavour and substance. The green skin takes a little while to cook, so you have two options; steam the cut pieces first in a microwave over or in a pressure cooker. Serves 2

Edited July 2018


  • Water melon skin, 2 tea-cups when finely sliced

  • 2 tbsp. oil (I suggest mustard oil)

  • 1 tsp. Panch Pooran/Phoran

  • 1 red chilli, broken up. Adjust to taste.

  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp. coriander seed powder

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli flakes or powder, adjust to taste

  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon or 1 level tsp. amchoor or dry mango powder or 1- 1 1/2 tsp. vinegar of good quality.


  1. Steam chopped melon skins in a pressure cooker for 2-3 minutes or a microwave oven on full power for 5 +5 minutes). Taste a piece, it should not be hard skin any more. Drain. Precooking the helps to soften the tough skin and reduces eventual cooking time.

  2. Heat oil in a wok. Add panch-pooran and asafoetida.

  3. When the seeds begin to crackle, add broken red chilli.

  4. Add chopped watermelon skins*, salt and spices. Stir to mix, cover and cook on low heat until skins are cooked. They should not be raw and hard. This takes about 30-40 minutes of slow cooking. If it begins to catch at the bottom of the pan and the skin still looks raw, don't be afraid to add a little water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time.

  5. Once cooked, squeeze lemon juice or add amchoor/dry mango powder. Adjust seasoning and lemon juice; it should be quite hot and tart, almost like a pickle.

  6. Once the skins are cooked to your liking, stir-fry on high until all water has evaporated and the vegetable looks shiny.

  7. Serve hot with freshly made Plain Paratha or as part of an Indian meal.

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