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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tamarind Flavored Crunchy Roasted Bitter Melon

tamarind bitter melon

Almond + Flax meal being a favorite alternative to bread crumbs, many dishes come into existence just because a thought popped into my head about combining a few favorites...

Bitter melon (Chinese Fu Gwa) is a cucumber-shaped fruit which has a lighter skin and thicker flesh than the Indian bitter gourd which is typically smaller, darker, more ridged and textured and quite intensely bitter.

I like bitter melon for some dishes and bitter gourd for some others.

To reduce the bitterness, salt the chopped bitter melon and leave them on a towel to drain for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the almond meal as in Almond + Flax meal encrusted chicken nuggets recipe.

I like the concentrated goodness of tamarind in this rich dark Tamicon™ tamarind paste and I use it in many Indian recipes. Alternately, for a milder tamarind flavor, try the Vietnamese Sour Soup Base sold in most Asian stores.

The sourness from tamarind and sweetness from agave nectar, combined with the crunchiness from the almond meal makes this a wonderful side for an Indian meal of brown rice and pippili rasam.

1 or 2 bitter melon, Chinese Fu Gwa
½ Tbsp Tamicon™ Tamarind paste
½ Tbsp Blue Agave nectar
salt to taste
1 Tbsp oil


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F
  2. Chop the bitter melon into rings (remove pulp and seeds) and sprinkle salt on them and lay them out in a single layer on a towel for 15 minutes; rinse and drain; then, toss them with tamarind and agave nectar and par cook them in the microwave - still firm, not mushy, but turns translucent
  3. Press the par-cooked bitter melon rings into the almond+flax meal mixture
  4. Lay them out on a greased pan in a single layer, drizzle or mist some oil on top
  5. Bake in a 400°F oven for about 12-15 minutes, checking part-way and turning the pan if needed
Remove from oven and serve warm with a favorite dipping sauce. I love it as-is. Even got the kids to try it. 

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