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Watermelon poke: A Hawaiian inspired dish with a bright summer twist
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Watermelon poke: A Hawaiian inspired dish with a bright summer twist

  • 2 min to read

My next dish has a Hawaiian influence with a summer twist you won’t forget! That’s right, we’re making watermelon poke.

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Cooking tip: Start by cutting both ends of the watermelon so you can turn the watermelon on a stable side. Then, using a circular motion, curve your knife down the watermelon in order to cut as much of the rind off as you can without removing any of the juicy insides.

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All you need to get started is a watermelon, limes, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, tahini and honey.

Cut the watermelon into large slices. And don’t worry if the watermelon is a little bit red on the inside, that just means it's nice and sweet!

I marinate the watermelon with some sweet and salty flavors, including sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, tahini and honey. To combat a little bit of that sweetness, I add a little bit of lime juice.

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These bright, red chucks of watermelon are beautiful and sweet!

Toss the watermelon chunks with the marinade in a zip lock bag until all the watermelon is coated. Let these flavors marinate for at least four hours, (but you can marinate up to a day) because these flavors are going to be intense!

Once marinated, put the watermelon chunks into a medium-high heated pan – make sure to save and set aside the remainder of the marinade from the bag to make the sauce.

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Make sure to save the marinade from the watermelon to make the sauce with. 

Cooking tip:Try not to crowd the pan too much so the watermelon dries out a bit.

Time to assemble! I take a little bit of rice and put it at the base of the bowl. On top I add shredded carrots, some pickled red cabbage and pickled ginger. (If you can't find pickled ginger, you can use rice wine vinegar and a little bit of sugar/salt to substitute.) Now add the star ingredient: the watermelon! Garnish with white sesame seeds and sliced scallions. Finally, now that the sauce has thickened a bit, drizzle it over the bowl to add some intense flavor.

There you have it! You’ll feel like you’re on the island itself with this spin on a classic Hawaiian dish.

Watermelon Poke

Recipe by Christopher Sinclair-McCalla

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I like to build my watermelon poke on a bed of rice with shredded carrots, pickled red cabbage, pickled ginger and of course the sauce.

  • 3 lbs watermelon, rind removed and flesh cut into large cubes
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • salt, to taste (optional)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

|Preparation| Place watermelon in large resealable plastic bag. In bowl, with whisk, stir vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, tahini and honey until smooth. Pour marinade over watermelon; seal bag, pressing out excess air. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Heat large skillet over medium heat. With slotted spoon, remove watermelon from marinade. Add watermelon to skillet and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until it lightly caramelizes, stirring frequently. Transfer watermelon to large serving bowl.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat marinade to boiling over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or until marinade thickens to the consistency of heavy cream.

Refrigerate watermelon and sauce separately at least 1 hour or until chilled.

Add marinade to watermelon in bowl; toss until well coated. If desired, add salt to taste. Sprinkle watermelon with green onions to serve.

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