Browsing through Sukham Ayu a gift from dear Linda the tangy bitter gourd was too tempting to wait till summer.
Before I move on to the recipe, few tricks to sprout bitter gourd seeds - soak them in hot water first and let them soak for 24-48 hours, with a change of water if require before putting them in the soil for faster and guaranteed sprouting.
If you do make the recipe don't forget to save some for the next day. It tastes the best the next day even the slight traces of bitterness evident the first day meld well and taste so much better the next day. The recipe was for a dry kind of dish, I added a bit more water to make it slightly wet for parathas or chapatis. The former would be perfect for rice while the later for bread. I added garlic which was not called for in the original recipe. I also used sambhar powder in place of coriander powder, cumin and chili powder.
Tangy Bitter gourd
1. 6 bitter gourds, cut into round thick slices and the seeds removed - 4 cups
2. 1 medium sized onion chopped fine
3. 5 garlic cloves sliced round
4. 1 tsp turmeric powder
5. 1 tbsp sambhar powder or (1/2 tbsp coriander powder + 1 tsp cumin powder + 1/2 tbsp chili powder)
6. 1/2 tbsp amchur powder (I added bit more than the recipe called for)
7. 2 tbsp bengal gram flour
8. 1 tbsp jaggery (I used unprocessed cane sugar, karumbu sarkarai)
9. roasted peanuts roughly chopped (I left this out)
10. salt to taste
11. seasonings: cumin and asfoetida
12. 1 tsp ghee
1. Heat ghee in a pan, add the cumin seeds and asfoetida
2. Reduce the heat to below medium and add the onions,garlic and the bitter gourds and saute for a couple of minutes.
3. Cover the pan and let it cook for 8-10 minutes till the bitter gourd is soft.
4. Add all the powders and mix well. Saute till the powders are well coated, switch off the heat if doing a dry curry. (OR)
5. Add 3 tbsp of water and let it cook for another 6-7 minutes.
6. Check for salt and add a bit more jaggery or amchur powder if required.
Serve with rice or chapatis.
Note: The trick for less bitter, bitter gourd dishes is to not handle the pieces too much meaning sauteing too much. Let them be and they don't taste very bitter.