Spicy Watermelon Soup with Crabmeat

This light, spicy watermelon soup can be served hot or chilled, and in the end resembles a tomato-based soup more than watermelon.


For soup ...

  • 5 Cups Coarsely Chopped Seeded Watermelon (rind discarded)
  • 1 Fresh Lemongrass Stalk
  • 3 Tbs Finely Chopped Shallot
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Finely Chopped Peeled Fresh Ginger
  • 1 Tbs Finely Chopped Garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Hot Green Chile (Like Serrano), Finely Chopped
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3/4 Tsp Salt

For crabmeat ...

  • 10 Oz Jumbo Lump Crabmeat (2 cups), Picked Over
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt


  1. Purée watermelon in a blender until smooth and transfer to a bowl. (Don't wash blender.)
  2. Discard 1 or 2 outer leaves of lemongrass and trim root end.
  3. Thinly slice lower 5 to 6 inches of stalk and then mince, discarding remainder.
  4. Cook lemongrass, shallot, ginger, and garlic in oil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until aromatics are pale golden, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add about one third of watermelon purée and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 5 minutes.
  6. Remove watermelon mixture from heat, then transfer to blender along with chile, lime juice, and salt and blend until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids).
  7. Add remaining watermelon purée and blend briefly.
  8. Season soup with more chile, lime juice, and salt if desired, blending if necessary.
  9. Pour soup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on and then discarding any solids.
  10. Chill soup, uncovered, about 2 hours if serving cold, or reheat in cleaned saucepan.
  11. When ready to serve, toss crabmeat with cilantro, oil, and salt.
  12. Divide crab among 4 soup plates, mounding in center, and pour chilled or hot soup around it.

Tip: Soup can be made one day ahead, but it does increase the spiciness.