How to Cook Bitter Gourd

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Bitter gourd is also known as bitter melon, for the shape and appearance. This is widely grown in Asia and China and is used in dishes in Africa and the Caribbean as well as Punjabi, where it is stuffed with spices and fried. The bitterness of the melon can be masked slightly by mixing it with other vegetables and salting or washing the melon after cutting it, before cooking. This is normally prepared with potatoes or used in sabji, a spicy vegetable dish.

Things You'll Need

  • Bitter gourd 1 tbsp. salt Cooking oil 15 medium-sized red chilies 1 ½ cups of water 1 tsp. salt 2 tsp. tamarind paste Mustard leaves or seeds for seasoning, to taste 1 tsp. asafetida
  • Slice the bitter gourd into thin pieces and roll them in 1 tbsp. salt. Let the slices sit for about four minutes, as this helps the water to seep out of the vegetable and gets rid of some of the bitterness. Squeeze the remaining moisture from the vegetable by hand, and use a dry cloth to wipe up the rest.

  • Add oil to the frying pan and turn stove to medium heat. Fry each piece of the bitter gourd until it is dark brown. Fry all of the red chilies and put them aside for later.

  • Boil the water, then add 1 tsp. of salt and the chilies, then let this water cool. Add the chilies to a bowl and mix in the tamarind paste. Put mixture back into the pan and boil again.

  • Add bitter gourd to mixture in the pan and then turn off heat. Add the mustard leaves or seeds along with the asafetida to the pan, and let cool.

Tips & Warnings

  • This dish is served as a thick soup or a topping for rice as a meal. There are many different types of dishes that bitter gourd is used in. For those who do not want this dish to be so spicy hot, take out the chilies and add your favorite vegetable with some garlic for spice.

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