My sister S, the eldest among the three of us, the doctor in the family, Dad’s pride(the only one amongst his progenies, he believed, carried his superior intelligent genes), raises an eyebrow at almost all my recipes. Why? Apparently, all she can see in them is a blatant, outrageous and shameful cry for fat- FAT-Fat and more fat.
I’m not the kind who does much to appease her. I leave that to my second sis, S ;). S, might deny as she may, but I’ve watched her, all my growing up years, worship the ground, the then budding doc, walked on. The luminary and the fan were always a team, for evident reasons of course, and I was left to scratch my own sores. A grown lady now, I still begrudge them for robbing me of the fun I could have had then, if only they’d let me in. Though I’m pretty convinced it couldn’t have been my kind of fun between a daddy’s pet and a teachers pet! Discussing Iliad over a bucket of popcorn at the most?! Pffft!
Anyway, to prove to the health freak that I’m not all about indulgence, I decided to post a recipe of her favorite, one of the healthiest of veggies, the bitter gourd. I was never a fan of this vegetable as a child but, my adult taste buds find them elating! The heat from the spices, the bitterness of the gourd, the subtle sweetness of the jaggery and the tart tamarind forms a mélange of confusing wonderment in this dish, that you can’t help but ask for more. I’ve used the bitter melons found in the Chinese market for the recipe. I find it less bitter compared to the Indian kind.
1 lb bitter gourd/melon
1/2 onion chopped
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 tsp chili powder (base it on your tolerance)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp grated ginger.
pinch of aesofateda
1 tsp jaggery shavings (reduce the amount if you don’t want to feel the sweetness)
1/4 tsp tamarind paste
1- 2 tbsp refined vegetable oil
salt to taste
Cut the gourd into thin circular slices (up to you to retain or throw away the pit. I keep them)
Heat oil on medium heat in a non stick skillet.
Add asafoetida,mustard seeds, cumin and curry leaves.
When the mustard pops add the onions and crushed ginger and sauté until they are nicely caramelized.
Add the gourd, chili, turmeric and salt. Sauté for a few minutes.
Add tamarind paste and jaggery and cover the pan tight and let it cook for five minutes.
Take off the lid, reduce the flame and turn over the slices carefully without mashing them up.
Continue to do this on low flame until you have a thin caramelization on all the slices.
Serve with white rice and rasam