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Monday, January 16, 2017

Spicy Bitter Melon Curry with Fenugreek and Szechuan Peppercorns

Spicy Bitter Melon Curry with Fenugreek and Szechuan Peppercorns

Indian Bitter gourd and Chinese Bitter melon are oft-relished veggies at home. Having offered it to kids since they were little, both seem to like bitter gourd and bitter melon, especially as chips. Healthful properties of this supremely bitter vegetable is no secret in India, where many regional recipes showcase this green beauty.

Spicy Bitter Melon Curry with Fenugreek and Szechuan Peppercorns

This time, the flavors come from toasted Szechuan peppercorns and fenugreek seeds, along with other curry staples. After toasting the peppercorns, put it through a sieve to remove the husks before using.

Spicy Bitter Melon Curry with Fenugreek and Szechuan Peppercorns

Health benefits of fenugreek is also quite well-accepted in India, where the cuisine naturally incorporates it in many everyday dishes. Just ½ tsp of fenugreek seeds, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed in the morning and eaten on an empty stomach is a habit I had going for a while, and still do on and off but not as regularly as I'd like, being too forgetful with old age and all.

Served with a side of pearl millet, this is a hearty weekend brunch.

millet bitter melon

1 Thinly sliced red onions
2 medium bitter melon, cleaned and sliced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
cilantro for garnish

Spice Mix:
1 Tbsp Szechuan Peppercorns, toasted
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds, toasted

Masala paste/gravy:
2 Tbsp Tamarind
1 Tomato, chopped
1 cup diced yellow or red onions
6 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger


  1. Soak the sliced bitter melon in salted water and let it sit while preparing the spices
  2. Masala paste: Grind up the paste and keep handy
  3. Spice mix: toast the peppercorns and fenugreek seeds, put it through a spice grinder and sift to remove the shell-like husks
  4. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the sliced onions with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder
  5. Add in the masala paste and saute some more till the rawness of onions mellows down; then stir in the spice mix powder and sauté some more
  6. Drain the bitter melon, rinse well, pat dry, and add it to the pan, stir in enough water to make a gravy, cover and simmer on medium low heat till bitter melon is cooked through
  7. Adjust salt to taste, garnish with cilantro and serve warm with roti or quinoa or millet

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