Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tangy Bitter gourd from Sukham Ayu

Bitter gourd plant is one vegetable plant that keeps on giving, provided you manage to sprout them. The first year I managed to sprout a few but by the time they were transplanted outdoors only one managed to grow to adulthood and bear fruit. It was the best thing that ever happened, they were atleast 3-4 fruit every week starting late July to the end of October. After enjoying them home grown, straight from plant to pot, the store bought ones just did not cut it. They were too soft and sitting on the shelf too long. Before long I had stopped buying them and not missing them one bit because it was worth the wait. Last week I was at the international market shopping for some chilies when I saw a mother-daughter pair buying some bitter gourd. The bitter gourd looked firm and I am sure they were not that fresh but atleast they were firm and I had just the recipe in mind.

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.


  1. Indo love tha tangy bittergourd and thanks for sharing the sprouting tips.
    Between there is an award waiting for you at my place. please collect it.

  2. I love bitter gourd, however I don't cook it that often... Tangy bittergourd looks delicious!

  3. Ok, ISG. You got me. I am going to get some bitter gourd. It's about the only thing that looked halfway fresh in the Indian store Friday -- other than a few baby brinjals and I scooped those right up ;)

    I am going to get bitter gourd and I am going to try this your way -- with garlic and your sambhar powder, how can it go wrong :)

  4. P.S.

    To whomever did the photography for sliced bitter gourd before cooking... have you thought of photography as a career? :)

  5. Nice curry! Amma makes a curry with tamarind paste and onions and just th bitter gourd. It tastes more like puliodharai when mixed with rice. This curry with amchur powder would also taste similar I suppose!

  6. I love bitter gourd!! thanks for the recipe - looks like a reaaly nice one, will try it today!

  7. I veg which five me goosebumbs is this one, as I dislike them with a passion, it could be also because mom used to tell us eat them and it is so healthy etc....

  8. I like that book, fascinating recipes in there - of the few that I've tried so far, my fave is the double beans with ajwain! Yours looks nice, I would never have thought of bitter gourd and bread as a combination.

  9. another bitter gourd recipe,..looks delicious,..

  10. Good morning on this lovely Monday Indo. I know kids are home for MLK's birthday. Planning anything? We went to Monster Truck Jam on Sat and "The Book of Eli" on Sunday. Tushar has dental appointment today, so no more entertaining.

    I buy 1-2 small Bitter gourds and make stir fry. Don't like wat the bitter one too much but if added with jaggary and balance it, its yummy with rice rottis.

    s look delicious. I haven't tried to grow them yet. Yes, when planted directly on the ground they all thrive better than in a pot. I make a huge hole in the bottom of the huge pot and let the root go in while still controlling the spread on the ground.

    Have a nice day! :)

  11. Sounds delicious, Indo!

  12. Looks good... Though not sure of how it tastes..... Because as I am not the one who is into it...say so..but I know peeps who are totally a fan of this veggie..would surely love it a lot.... Well prepared, presented & clicked too....


  13. you have made the bitter gourd look so yummy..

  14. Sayantani, thanks for the award. Humbly accept.

    Linda, you would like it I know :)

    Nirmala, normally tamarind is the one I pair with bitter gourd but this aamchur was a nice change.

    Sra, bitter gourds with chapatis, you got to try it.

  15. ISG, I don't cook BG so much..Since I can't seem to get the bitterness out of it..I'll try your version, the pix looks so tempting and inviting.. they are healthy too..About time I start eating these.

  16. what is bitter gourd???

  17. My husband loves bitter-gourd, I not so much, find them too bitter but I am so intrigued by the spices used in this recipe that it makes me give bitter gourds one more try! Will also follow the tip to not cook too much. Bitter gourd plants sounds great, you know, I do envy your green thumb :)

  18. I never quite made a curry so elaborate with bitter gourd before! I love karela and looking forward to having fresh ones again in my yard. I froze so many of them this year.

  19. AS long as it is available, I buy bittergourd regularly. I love it very much.

  20. ISG, I should have been here half a dozen times here, and I was mesmerized by your writing that I read the post and moved on..This is what I forgot!
    Congrats on the award!

  21. hmm...interesting. I always wondered what were they and how to cook it. Now I know they are pretty much like bitter gourd. :) My mom either stir-fry it or make it into soup. Yours sounds delicious.

  22. I am planning to plant bitter gourd this spring too and cannot wait to have my own supply of it ! Will definitely try your tips for sprouting the seeds when I do...
    This looks delicious, I always love the combination of tangy with bitter gourd :-)

  23. I've never tried gourd before I have to admit, but this is the perfect chance to start! Looks like a fab recipe.

  24. I made this yesterday and it turned out absolutely amazing! I made the dry version and had it with just a nice moong dal with turnip preparation served with rice. The meal was great! Thanks!

    BRW, the recipe doesn't mention when to put in the garlic - just fyi..

  25. Miri, glad to hear that. Garlic goes with the onions and the gourd. Thanks, updated the recipe.

  26. for me the only complain to the commercially grown bitter gourd is that they aren't bitter enough. I have a large pot by my balcony, must come back to view all the tips you shared. Millions Thanks.
    And the photos you took are really beautiful!

  27. I tried the bitter gourd curry and it came out well. My husband liked it despite its bitterness. The spice mixture makes the curry easily palatable.



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