Fermented Watermelon Salad

August 22, 2022
This fermented watermelon salad is a showstopper. It is easy to prepare and has unique combinations of spices and ingredients that will intrigue and awaken a food-fatigued imagination. Fermented watermelon is glorious as there is a play between sweet and tart. This is a 5-day ferment, or an early/young ferment because we want that sugary balance to be there. After 5 days, it loses its magic.

Tomatoes and watermelons are famous bedfellows, and then ginger and jalapeño add grounding and lift-off, all at once. I love using Indian spices in unique ways and I am sure you will appreciate the play of fennel and caraway amidst all the drama. Spices tend to mellow out a lot when fermenting, their fragrance becomes more global yet delicate in the dish. Enjoy.
fermented watermelon salad

Fermented Watermelon Salad

Recipe Type: Appetizers Detox Salads
utensils YIELDS 2 servings
herb graphic for recipe card
  • 2 cups summer-ready watermelon
  • 2 cups tomatoes, seeded
  • 2 tsp fresh jalapeño
  • 1 cup ginger
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seed
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 baby cucumber
  • a few tbsp vegan sour cream/ yogurt
        graphic for recipe card


1. Chop the watermelon into 3 cm cubes, removing as many of the seeds as you can.

2. Deseed the tomatoes and chop into 3 cm cubes.

3. Deseed the jalapeños and slice into thin circles.

4. Grate the ginger, skin on or off.

5. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, but gently.

6. Scoop into a large mason jar, making sure there is 1/3 empty space at the top.

7. Seal well and place the jar in a dark corner of your kitchen for five days.

8. Taste it after five days. There should be a good balance between sweet and tart.


1. Top and tail the baby cucumber then slice into paper-thin slices. Lay the slices on tissue paper and salt evenly, but sparingly. We want the cellulose walls to break down, allowing the cucumber slices to bend without breaking. Set aside.

2. Take a heaping tablespoon of sour cream or yoghurt and splat it down onto a plate. It will spread in an organic way. Or, gently spoon the tablespoon of cream or yoghurt  onto one part of the plate as a mound, then take a measuring cup with a flat bottom and smack it down over the mound of yogurt or sour cream. It will make the shape you see in the picture.

3. Next, scoop out 1/2 cup of the watermelon salad and drain it in a sieve then lay it on kitchen paper to absorb all the juices. Make sure that every serving has tomato, jalapeño and ginger, aside from the main players of tomato and watermelon.

4. Gather that 1/2 cup back together and carefully place it adjacent to the splash or anywhere you prefer in relation to the splash of cream.

5. Rinse and pat dry the cucumber slices then wrap then around the salad as you see in the picture.

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Photo: Prashantha Lachanna

Prashantha Lachanna hails from the sunny east coast of South Africa, a warm and friendly city called Durban. She grew up with big, slobbery dogs, loved weeding her Mother's garden in her pajamas with sleepy dust in her eyes and could lift the front of her Father's car clear off the ground by the age of 14. Now though, she prefers lifting cups of tea to her lips, writing menus and meandering through the thoroughly dazzling, labyrinthine alleys of Taipei where she is a permanent resident. She works as a chef and teacher and owns a vegan cheese and chocolate company.


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