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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Stuffed Whole Fried Baby Indian Bittergourd

Stuffed Whole Fried Baby Indian Bittergourd delectable victuals vegetarian sweet-sour spicy

Bittergourd is usually an acquired taste. I wasn't particularly fond of it when I was young, but, over the years, having tried it in several different cooked forms, I like it enough now to make it part of my regular diet.

I prefer the Chinese bittermelon Fu-gwa to the Indian bittergourd as it is cooks faster - especially the light green waxy kind I can find easily at the local Asian stores. But, certain dishes are best with the Indian bittergourd - like this fried baby bittergourd recipe. The flavors are absorbed better in the Indian bitter gourd, especially the tamarind.

Bittergourd sambar, bittergourd pitlay, bittergourd curry are a few easy ways in which I relish this vegetable, and Chinese bittermelon is a good substitute in these dishes.

Every once in a while, if I manage to find tender, young Indian bittergourd, I like to cook it up as in this recipe, and serve it as an appetizer, snack or side.

The recipe is very simple: slit them, salt the insides and outsides, leave it on a paper towel for about 15-20 minutes to release the bitter juices and then pat dry; stuff it with favorite spice mix; deep fry; serve with favorite chutney.

Alternately, instead of deep frying,  pan-fry in a cast iron skillet, covered. To ensure that bittergourd is cooked through, I usually par-cook in the microwave before pan-frying in the cast iron skillet. If the slit is too open, tie a piece of string across to hold the stuffing in while cooking; remove the string before serving.

Stuffed Whole Fried Baby Indian Bittergourd delectable victuals vegetarian sweet-sour spicy

Baby Indian bittergourd usually doesn't have a lot of seeds, and the innards are spongy and soft. They are usually about 4 inches long. It takes a bit of trial and error to figure out how to buy the best tender baby bittergourd.

The masala paste I used for this recipe is very simple - just a blend of tamarind-date chutney, brown sugar, cumin powder and coriander powder, chilli powder and a pinch of salt. But, any other favorite stuffing like mashed potatoes, or potatoes and peas or any other flavoring spices can be used.

Keep the stuffed bitter gourd fairly dry before deep frying to avoid explosions - I usually just pat dry with paper towel, wipe off any excess masala paste, and use a splatter-proof lid while deep frying. Also, tie with twine if the stuffing makes the bitter gourds not close up tight again.

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  • At 9:36 PM, Blogger Nags said…

    bittergourd is really not my vegetable but havent tasted it this way :)

  • At 5:15 PM, Blogger Linda said…

    Hi Sheela,

    Isn't this funny as I found the chinese variety far too bitter! Perhaps I should look for babies as you have pictured here - they look wonderful!

    Happy New Year and hope to hear more from you in 2008!


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