Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bitter Gourd Poriyal (roasted) - not so bitter though

I like bitter gourd and so does DH. Whenever I see some fresh ones at the Indian store I can't resist buying them. The kids not so much but they usually eat it if the bitterness is not so obvious. Few weeks ago I bought a few bitter gourds and instead of a roast I wanted to make a tamarind based hot and sour curry. Normally I saute the bitter gourds before I add the tomatoes and tamarind. This particular time I added the tomatoes first and then the bitter gourd. Bad idea, the bitterness never left and how much ever sour and sweet (jaggery) went in the bitterness just would not go away. Lesson learned. Short cuts need to be avoided when cooking this vegetable. It has to be roasted for at least a few minutes in oil for the bitterness to go away. Just a few minutes generally does the trick.

I again bought bitter gourd last week but this time I was going to cook it in such a way that the rest of the family does not run away from it. So I followed a trick that a lot of people do to get the bitterness out. First slit the bitter gourd into 2 halves, sliced them into thin moons and sprinkled some salt and let it sit for about 1/2 hour. Squeezed the moisture out and then roasted it. This helps remove some of the bitterness.

Roasted bitter gourd is usually not as bitter and though DD2 complained finished what was on her plate. DD actually likes this.

Bitter Gourd Poriyal (roasted)
Preparation Time:30 minutes
Cooking Time:25 - 30 minutes
  1. 6 bitter gourds, seeds removed, split in half and cut into thin moons
  2. 1/2 red onion sliced thin
  3. 6-8 green chilies
  4. 2 tbsp thick tamarind pulp (1/4 tsp if using tamarind paste)
  5. 1 tsp chili powder if needed (I did not use)
  6. 1/2 tbsp jaggery
  7. seasonings: mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves
  8. 1 tbsp oil
  9. salt to taste + salt for the bitter gourd soaking

  1. Add salt to the chopped bitter gourd and let it sit for 1/2 hour or so. Then placing a few bitter gourds at a time in the palm of your hand squeeze as much water as possible from it. Set aside.
  2. In a wide mouthed heavy bottomed pan (kadai) heat half the oil and when hot add the seasonings, when the mustard starts to pop add the green chilies and onions.
  3. Saute the onions till it becomes translucent. Add in the bitter gourd pieces and saute till they start to turn brown on the edges (about 20 minutes). After about 10 minutes add the salt. Add more oil if sticking to the pan.
  4. Turn the heat to high and add the tamarind pulp and jaggery. Saute for another 5 minutes.
  5. Note:Longer the bitter gourd is sauteed, the crispier it gets.
Goes well as a side with any rice dishes.

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  1. I am a big fan of bittergourd - however it may be cooked... the rest of the family however likes it only when deep fried... I need to try this method and see if I can win them over :) Looks really yummy indo.

  2. Love this method, but somehow i dont like to add jaggery, poriyal with rice is quite enough for me.

  3. Hi Indo, love this way of cooking bittergourd. My only concern is whether nutrients will be lost when we squeeze out water from the bittergourd. Any idea?

    1. Deepa, I bet squeezing out the liquid will get rid of some of the nutrients at least. Weighing against nobody eating it and the loss, I took that route. Normally I do not.

      Depends on if the bitter gourd are fresh or not. They are not too bitter when they are fresh.

  4. Indo, I tried and loved this... made it with 3 bittergourds and I ate the entire dish for my lunch :)


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