This refreshing watermelon chili popsicle recipe is perfect for a scorching day and packs a punch to boot.
I was taking a break from the blog one day and decided to fire up Netflix instead. I stumbled on the series Chef's Table, Volume 6 with an episode on Mashama Bailey "Inside a former segregated bus station in Savannah, Georgia, Mashama Bailey pays homage to history as she puts a new spin on Southern food traditions.
The episode takes us on her culinary journey and evolution as a chef, reinventing southern food into fine dining. Mashama talks about growing up the black neighborhoods as a child and getting a Thrill when it was scorching outside. A Thrill is like a popsicle, made in a takeaway cup with a stick poked through the top. She has memories of hot days and going next door to get a Thrill from the Thrill lady "It was a thrill to get a Thrill" In her restaurant in Savanna Mashama serves watermelon habanero Thrills as a pallet cleanser and homage to her childhood.
I've just received my shiny new silicon popsicle molds and was dying to try these out in the heatwave we're currently having.
You will need about a kilo of red seedless watermelon for the recipe but you could also use yellow if you wanted to.
I use the larger, longer, and milder red cayenne chilies available from supermarkets in southeast Australia. You can absolutely mix things up with other chilies such as jalapeños, bird's eye or habaneros. Adjust the amount of chili to taste. If unsure add a bit, taste and add more if needed.
Cut up the watermelon into large chunks and cut off the skin and rind. Blend most of the watermelon then strain off the juice. You can do this in batches if you only have a small food processor.
Cut and deseed your chili. I highly recommend you use a glove for the hand handling the chili, it's really hard to wash off your hands and can burn burn burn if you get it anywhere on your face or other sensitive parts of your body. You have been warned!
When you get the last bit of watermelon to blend add the sugar, jams-et and a small amount of chili. Blend until chili is well chopped and sugar and jam-set is dissolved in the juice.
Jam set is used to set jam, funnily enough. It contains pectin which helps stabilize the ingredients in the icy poles/ popsicles and stop the ingredients from separating as they freeze. You can see here a picture I made of watermelon icy poles/popsicles without pectin and the mix has separated a bit. Still tastes good, but not as pretty 🙂 You can make it without the jam set if you prefer.
Strain and add the mix to the rest of the watermelon liquid with the lime juice. Taste the mix. It should have notes of sweet and sour with a punch of heat. If it's not hot enough add some liquid back to the blender with more chili, blend well, strain, return to the mix and taste again. I started with a quarter of a chili then added another quarter, so half a chili in total. If it's not sour or sweet enough add more lime juice or sugar, but I found these ratios are the perfect combination for my taste.
Hot tip: Make sure you have space for you popsicle molds in the freezer BEFORE you pour in your mix, or there will be tears!
Pour the mix into the icy pole/popsicle molds and add sticks. Leave about a cm at top to allow room for expansion.
Freeze for 8 hours or until set. Carefully remove from the molds, eat and enjoy! If you're not eating them all now, put the extras in a container in the freezer with layers of parchment in between to stop them from sticking together.
Looking for more fresh homemade popsicle recipes?
Why not try making my
Watermelon chili popsicles
- Popsicle mold with sticks
- 2.2 lbs (1kg) red seedless watermelon
- ½ a whole red chili add more or less to your personal taste
- 1 tbsp (15 gms) granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp(15 gms) jam set optional but icy pole may seperate without it
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) lime juice approx. 1 lime, more to taste
- Cut the green skin off the watermelon and cut into large chunks
- Carefully cut your chilli in half, deseed and roughly chop. I highly recommend you use gloves!
- Blend most of your watermelon then strain liquid.
- With the last batch of watermelon add chilli, sugar and jam-set. Blend until chilli is well chopped and sugar and jam-set is dissolved. Strain liquid and add to the rest of the strained watermelon.
- Juice lime and add to watermelon mix. You will need 600ml of liquid in total, if you are running short blend and strain some more watermelon.
- Taste the mix and add more chilli, lime or sugar to taste
- Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 8 hours or overnight until set
- Once set carefully remove from molds and enjoy! Mind the drips!
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online database. The nutritional content of ingredients may vary by brand. If you require accurate nutritional information, you should calculate this based on the specific brands and products you are using.
Have you made this recipe? I'd love to know how it went in the comments below 🙂