Saturday, September 7, 2019

Bitter Gourd Pickle

Have you tried growing bitter gourd? They reliably produce fruit all through summer without much fuss. There are a lot of people who love this vegetable but of course there quite a few who hate this vegetable also. So there is a love or hate relationship with bitter gourd perhaps because it is an acquired taste. Bitter gourd is very good at managing blood sugar levels so its popularity is increasing. There are people who swallow bitter gourd pills but I'd say go with the real deal. It tastes far better.

I simply like the taste however it is cooked. It has been my wish to try bitter gourd pickles for a long time but never quite got around to making them but I have been finessing the recipe in my head for even longer. Two things I had in mind, I wanted it like the fish or shrimp pickles from Kerala and also the way my ammayee makes garlic pickle. The former I have only tasted the latter my grandma gave the recipe. The garlic pickle if you are interested in here.

I have made these pickles twice already. I added a few garlic cloves the first time. The second time I left the garlic out but added jalapenos. The two are purely optional. I added those for added taste and since I had those readily available. The amount of lemon juice added depends on how sour you want it to be. I added the maximum that could be without it becoming overly sour.

Usually it is better to use young and tender bitter gourd where the seeds don't have to be removed. If you are using bitter gourd which is slightly mature you can remove the seeds after slicing but it is ok to leave them be.

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This pickle is vey easy to make and for those who like bitter gourd, this is something to be tried.

Cut the bitter gourd, peel and slice the garlic.
Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the bitter gourd pieces and fry till the bitter gourd pieces turn brown.
Fry the garlic pieces and set it aside. Then add more oil to the pan and when hot add the mustard seeds.
When the mustard starts to pop, add curry leaves. Add the garlic and fried bitter gourd pieces and turmeric powder.
Add in the lemon juice and let it boil for 5 minutes. Now add the chili powder and mix it in.
Add in the fenugreek mustard powder and mix and turn off the heat.

The pickle stays on the counter top for 2 weeks. Refrigerate for use longer.

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Bitter gGourd Pickles
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  1. 1 lb of Bitter Gourd - about 2 cups of sliced bitter gourd
  2. 6-8 garlic gloves sliced
  3. 3/4 - 1 cup of sesame oil
  4. 2 tbsp of red chili powder (more or less)
  5. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 1/2 - 3/4 cup of lemon juice (I used both limes and lemons)*
  7. seasonings: 1 tsp mustard seeds, curry leaves
  8. 1/2 tbsp salt
  9. 1/4 tsp of roasted mustard and fenugreek seeds powder
  10. a small pinch of asfoetida

  1. Cut the ends of the bitter gourd and slice the bitter as thick or thin as you want. I made 1/8 of an inch slices.
  2. In a shallow wide mouthed pan, add about 1/4 cup of the oil and when hot shallow fry the bitter gourd pieces in batches and set them aside. Remove the bitter gourd pieces from oil when they start to turn slightly brown. They should not be fried to crisp.
  3. Once the bitter gourd is done add the garlic pieces and fry them for a minute. Take care not to burn the garlic. Set it aside.
  4. Now add the rest of the oil and when it is hot add the mustard seeds and when the seeds start to pop add the curry leaves followed by the fried bitter gourd pieces and garlic. Add turmeric powder.
  5. Fry for a few minutes till the bitter gourd pieces are mixed in the oil. Add the lemon juice and let the liquid come to a boil.*
  6. Add the chili powder and salt and mix well. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes. Check for salt and heat. Add the powdered mustard -fenugreek powder, mix and turn off the heat.
  7. Let the pickle sit for a couple of days before using. Transfer to sterilized glass jars**. Stays fresh on the counter top for 10 days. Refrigerate if you want it to stay longer.
  8. Note:*If you need a little bit more gravy in the pickle increase the quantity of lemon juice. It might increase the tartness of the pickle too. A combination of lime and lemons tends to keep the tartness low.
  9. **For sterilizing the glass jars I put in the microwave for 1 or 1 1/2 minutes.

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