My Grandfather loved Bitter Gourd/ Bitter Melon and he always spoke about how the vegetable was a remedy for diabetes, liver, skin and overall health. Bitter Gourd is called "Karathe" in Konkani. It wasn't my favorite vegetable for long until I got this recipe from my mother's cousin several years ago. She made this during one of our visit to India and I couldn't tell the dish was made with Bitter Gourd.
I have made this several times since its a family favorite. It's called as "Onion Curry" in my household as I use a lot of onions to hide the vegetable.
Salting the vegetable helps in draining out the bitterness (although this is not recommended). You can use Indian as well as Chinese Bitter Gourd.
2 karathe/karelas (Bitter Gourd/ Bitter melon)
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp red chilli powder
a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1/4 - 1/2 cup rice flour
2 large onions, sliced
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
golf ball sized tamarind, soaked in warm water for 15 mins
4-5 tsp jaggery/ brown sugar
salt to taste
oil for deep frying
How it's made:
Wash and rinse Bitter gourd. Slice them in circles and discard center seeds. Add salt and set aside for 30 mins.
Squeeze out pulp from tamarind and set aside.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
Squeeze out excess water from bitter gourd. Add chilli powder, hing and enough rice flour to coat bitter gourd. Deep fry without over crowding until golden brown. Set aside.
In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil and fry sliced onions until translucent. Add dry spices. Fry for a minute. Add tamarind pulp, jaggery and salt to taste. If the sauce is thick add 1/4 cup water. Boil on high heat for a few minutes. Add fried bitter gourd and stir until all the bitter gourd pieces are well coated with the sauce. The dish becomes fairly dry as all the liquid gets absorbed by the deep fried bitter gourd. Serve hot with roti or rice and dalitoy.