Many people dislike bitter gourd for its dominant bitterness which if not camouflaged properly does really prove hard to enjoy and eat. But, I have been told several times about the nutrition value of this vegetable. Makes me wonder, why most things that are supposedly very good for health, are not so very good to taste :D The tricky part is to befriend the bitter gourd and disguise it to suit your taste.
Since childhood, I am fond of Bitter Gourd roast that my mum makes. She ensures the bitterness is completely done away with by thinly slicing the veggie and roasting it along with onions. This was the only preparation out of bitter gourd I used to eat.... well, until recently!
Not very long ago, we were travelling to my parents house for a few days. For the last couple of days prior to our travel, I had been finishing off leftovers and the last day I was in the process of clearing out the fridge completely. All that was left was two bitter gourds and half a packet of shallots. Immediately, a rough idea of the dish I want to prepare formed in my mind and the packet of Tamarind paste sitting by the counter, helped me finalize on my experimental creation :)
With some chopping, stirring and mixing... I was done with my brand new dish. Yes, I did succeed in hiding the bitterness too. I befriended the bitter gourd :) I carried some with me for my mum, and she loved it too :)
Bitter Gourd - 2 small, finely chopped
Shallots (small onions) - 1 cup, slit in half
Tamarind Paste - 1 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seed Powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Sambar Powder - 1 tsp
Jaggery - a small piece (the size of half a lime)
Mustard - 1 tsp
Dry Red Chilli - 1
Curry Leaves - a few
Lemon juice - few drops
Oil - 1 tbsp
Water - 1 cup
Salt - to taste
- Put the finely chopped bitter gourd in a mixing bowl, and sprinkle salt a d few drops of lemon juice. Mix well and keep aside.
- Heat oil in pan, add mustard and allow to crackle.
- Add curry leaves and dry red chilli.
- Add the sliced shallots and fenugreek seeds powder and allow to cook till light brown.
- In a cup mix one tbsp of tamarind paste with one cup of water, mix well and make into a dilute liquid.
- Add this tamarind water to the roasted shallots and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the bitter gourd, red chilli powder, sambar powder, jaggery and salt and stir well.
- Keep the pan closed and allow to cook for 10 minutes on medium flame, stirring occasionally.
- Take off the stove and serve hot with steamed rice.
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