Bitter Gourd (Bitter Melon)
Bitter gourd or bitter melon is a tender, traditional, edible fruit/vegetable pod grown on climbing vines. As the name suggests, it tastes bitter. To be frank, it is considered one of the most bitter among all fruits.
The best part, however, is that the dishes made from bitter gourd are considered tasty by the consumers. Once you start cooking and eating bitter gourd curry, you will love it because it is truly appetizing.
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Serves 6 people
- 2 cups bitter gourd, finely chopped and marinated in salt
- 1 1/2 cups thick curd/yogurt
- 1/2 cup coconut, grated, optional
- 2 green chilis
- 1/8 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 pinches hing/asafoetida, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, as per taste
- 8 curry leaves, for tempering
- 1 teaspoon oil/ghee, for tempering
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, for tempering
- 1/4 teaspoon black gram split, for tempering
- 2 teaspoons oil/ghee/butter, for sautéing bitter gourd
- Wash the bitter gourd. Slit it lengthwise in half. Remove the seeds and discard them. Finely chop the gourd. Marinate it with salt. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
- While it rests, the water in the bitter gourd gets partially released. Squeeze the water out by tightly holding the gourd inside your fist. Discard the water. This will lessen the intensity of bitterness.
- Heat oil/butter/ghee in a pan. Sauté the bitter gourd until the pieces are cooked and become crispy. This will take about 10–12 minutes on medium-low heat. Keep aside. It becomes crispier after cooling.
- Take grated coconut, green chili, asafoetida powder (which is optional for this recipe and available in Indian stores), mustard seeds, and salt. Grind the mixture, adding water to get a smooth paste. Transfer the mix to a bowl.
- Add sautéed bitter gourd and curd/yogurt to the bowl. Mix well.
- Now, it is the time for tempering. Heat oil/ghee in a small pan. Add mustard seeds to it. Let it crackle. Throw in black gram split and curry leaves. Fry until golden brown. Pour it on top of the curry. Mix once. Check for salt. Adjust as per your taste.
- Bitter gourd curry is ready to serve. Serve as a side dish for boiled rice or for flatbread. Enjoy eating the crispy chunks of bitter gourd!
- Always marinate bitter gourd in salt before making the curry. This way, the curry becomes less bitter and tastier. You will not lose the nutrients either.
- This curry is less spicy. You can eat the crispy bitter gourd in the curry just like that.
- Keep the liquid mix and the sautéed gourd separate. Mix both of them just at the time, using the curry to retain the crunchiness of the veggie. Otherwise, it turns soft and a little bitter.
- You can store the sautéed veggie for a day or two in a closed container for later use.