Watermelon Bowl Shiratama

Carve out a watermelon and fill it with shiratama dumplings for a fun and creative summer treat!

Watermelon Bowl Shiratama
Photographed by Hideo Sawai

Recipe by
Yoshiharu Doi






Calorie count is per serving.
Excludes time needed to chill the syrup.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 watermelon (small)

    *About the size of a bowling ball (18-20 cm diameter).

  • [Syrup]

    • 60 g granulated sugar

      *Or plain sugar.

    • 200 ml water
  • [Shiratama dumplings]

    • 100 g shiratamako
    • 100 ml water
  • Sugar
  • Water



Make the [Syrup]. Pour 200 ml of water in a pot and place over medium heat. Bring just to a simmer, then add the granulated sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool until safe to handle, then place in the refrigerator to chill.


Make the [Shiratama dumplings]. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Pour the shiratamako into a bowl, then add 100 ml of water, a little at a time, as you knead the dough together by hand.


Add the water in small amounts. Use your fingertips to moisten the flour and bring it to the desired firmness. If you find that the dough is too soft, wrap it in a clean cloth and squeeze out excess moisture.


When the dough has largely come together, continue to knead for 4-5 min in a folding motion until the dry dough becomes moist and has the softness of an earlobe. Break off pieces of dough and roll into balls 1.5-2 cm in diameter, and place them one by one into the pot of boiling water.


Boil the dumplings for about 2-3 min at medium heat; when they begin to float, boil for another minute, then transfer to cold water. Wash any sliminess off the surface and transfer to a bowl of clean water.


The dumplings are ready when they are nice and plump.


Prepare the watermelon to form the bowl and the lid. Insert a knife between the top and middle part of the watermelon, then remove and keep rotating to create a zig-zag cut all the way around the watermelon.


Wrap a towel around the area where the blade remains exposed. Hold the knife firmly as you cut the watermelon. Be careful not to cut your hand!


Remove the lid and scoop out the fruit from the bowl using a melon baller so you have balls that are about 3 cm wide. Place the watermelon balls in sugar water (add about 5 tbsp of sugar to 600 ml of water).


Soaking the watermelon balls in sugar water will help prevent them from becoming watery.


While scooping out the watermelon, use a spoon to scrape the surface flat 2 or 3 times (reserve the scraps to use for juice). When done scooping out the balls, scrape the remaining fruit off the inside of the rind with a spoon for a clean inner surface.


Chill the shiratama dumplings in ice water just before serving. Remove the seeds from the watermelon balls. Gently drain any excess water from the shiratama dumplings and watermelon balls, then place them alternately in the watermelon bowl. Pour the syrup over top.


Remove the seeds from the scraps of watermelon that you couldn't make into balls, and place in a blender to make delicious watermelon juice!