I grew up with a regular dose of bittergourd, cooked up in a few different ways that my mom liked, and have grown to relish it more as an adult. For this Sweet, Sour and Spicy Bittergourd recipe, I prefer the Indian bittergourd.
Indian bittergourd has deep ridged skin, darkish green color, about five inches long usually, and is a lot more bitter (to my palate at least) than the Chinese Fu Gwa and Hong Kong Bitter Melon I've used extensively over the last decade here.
Cut, clean and slice the bittergourd, salt it and allow to sit for about 30 minutes to draw out the bitter juices. Wash, drain and pat dry before cooking it up.
6 Indian bittergourd, cleaned and sliced
6 jalapeños, seeded and sliced
¼ cup fresh ginger, julienned
3 Tbsp tamarind concentrate (sold as Sour Soup base in Asian markets)
1 tsp red hot chili powder or Cayenne pepper powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
salt to taste
water as needed
1 tsp vegetable oil
- Heat the oil in a pan, add the ginger, bittergourd and jalapeños, some salt, and sauté a bit till ginger is aromatic
- Add the tamarind concentrate, chili powder, brown sugar, some water, cover and allow to cook on medium low heat till bittergourd is cooked through, adding a little water at a time as needed to keep it fairly dry, not saucy
- Stir well and taste for balance of sour-sweet-spicy, adding more of these flavors as preferred
- Serve warm with hot basmati rice and home-made ghee, or with roti/naan