Bitter gourd is one of my absolute favorite vegetables to eat. If you cook them right, they taste incomparably delicious, and not in a masochistic way. My favorite way to eat them is when they’re cooked the Pakistani way, which ensures they are super oily (which M is never happy about), and super spicy (which he is always happy about). Served with a dallop of yogurt; a light, airy phulka or roti fresh off the fire; and a piping hot cup of cardamom chai will make this one of the most ideal meals to enjoy on a rainy day.
Here’s how it’s done:
- 1 kilo bitter gourd
- 1 cup yogurt
- 2 tablespoons salt
- Red chili powder (as much as you can handle)
- Oil for frying
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Cut the bitter gourd in half, lengthwise.
- Using a small spoon, completely scrape out the seeds and discard.
- Slice the hollowed out bitter gourd super thin, ideally 2 mm wide.
- Toss the bitter gourd (until fully coated), in the yogurt and 2 Tbs of salt, and let it sit for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. This reduces the inherent bitterness in the gourd.
- Rinse the marinated gourd thoroughly and let drain thoroughly.
- Deep fry the drained out bitter gourd in oil. You can stop once it’s translucent or you can fry to a semi-crisp, the way I like it. Also, this might spurt oil so a lid would come in handy at this point.
- Remove the fried gourd onto some kitchen towels, and let as much oil get absorbed as possible. Believe me, they’ll still be super oily.
- In the meantime, in just half a cup of the oil left behind, braise the turmeric, red chili, garlic, ginger, and onions.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes and bitter gourd, give it a stir, and you’re pretty much done.
Toldja. Easy Peasy.