Bittergourd.. you either love it or you hate it. There can’t be an in between. I fall in the former category. I love bittergourd. I also love any vegetable that is stuffed with onion paste and cooked. So, then, this is one of my favourite curries. The sweetness of the onions offsets the bitterness of the bittergourd creating a wonderful contrast. This is definitely one of my comfort food curries.
You would need:
Bitter gourd : 1/4 kg
For the stuffing:
Onions – 3 to 4 medium sized.
Turmeric – a pinch
Jeera/cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Chilli powder – 2 to 3 tsp or to taste.
Oil – for frying
How to make it:
Chop the end off the bittergourds. Cut them into equal pieces as shown in the pic. Remove the seeds and slit in the centre to hold the stuffing. Set aside.
For the stuffing, peel the onions. Cut them into quarters and add the to your food processor along with turmeric, jeera, red chilli powder and salt and ground into a fine paste.
Heat some oil in a frying pan. Add the onion paste to it and fry till the moisture disappears completely, the raw aroma disappears and the stuffing starts to change colour. You can check seasoning at this stage to add more salt or chilli powder and adjust quantities.
Once the stuffing is cooked, set it aside to cool down.
Now stuff the stuffing into each of the prepared bittter gourd pieces.
Once again heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough, place each of the stuffed bittergourd pieces into the oil carefully. Allow the pieces to fry on each side till the colour changes and the bittergourd pieces are cooked.
Keep turning the pieces occasionally with tongs or slotted spoon making sure that all sides are cooked and fried evenly. A few minutes before turning off the stove, you can add any remaining stuffing left over to the pan to make sure it is warmed up enough and flavours the curry.
Serve hot with rice and ghee.
1. If you do not like the strong bitterness of the bittergourds, boiling them might be an effective way to remove the bitterness. You could bring a pot of water to boil with some salt in it, place the chopped and slit bittergourd pieces in it, boil for a few minutes till the colour starts changing. Then drain the water and squeeze the excess water off the pieces and now they are ready for stuffing.
2. You can also add a couple of spoons of besan/senagapindi/gram flour to the ground paste before frying. This will give the finished product a delicate flavour balancing out the bitterness.