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Monday, April 09, 2018

Tempeh-Stuffed Bittergourd


Tempeh-Stuffed Bittergourd


Bitter gourd is another favorite of mine, which is an acquired taste for many, thanks to its -- er, bitterness.

Indian bitter gourd is about 5 inches long and deeply ridged with a darkish green skin. Chinese bitter melon is about 7 inches long, or even 8 inches, with thicker flesh and lighter color and milder flavor, still quite bitter, of course. I like both varieties, and each lends itself well to certain types of dishes, as in the many bitter gourd and bitter melon recipes shared here.

Tempeh, fermented soy beans, lends itself to many interesting additions. Here, it is sauteed with onions and spices and used as a stuffing for Indian bitter gourd.

Tempeh-Stuffed Bittergourd



Bitter gourd is gently slit and the seeds are carefully removed first, then par cooked in boiling salted water before stuffing and pan-cooking.

Ingredients
1 cup crumbled or diced tempeh
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp freshly grated ginger

4 Indian bitter gourd
1 Tbsp tamarind paste (sold as Sour Soup base in Asian stores)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup vegetable broth
salt to taste

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. Heat some oil in a pan, add the tempeh and the spices with a splash of broth, cover and cook the filling
  2. Meanwhile, slit, remove the seeds, and par cook the bitter gourd in boiling salted water till slightly tender; drain and pat dry
  3. Stuff the slit par-cooked bitter gourd with the spiced tempeh mix
  4. Stir the tamarind paste, remaining broth, and brown sugar and keep handy for basting
  5. Heat some oil in a cast iron skillet, place the stuffed bitter gourd, add the basting liquid from the previous step, cover and cook till bitter gourd is softer and has absorbed the flavors from the liquid
  6. Remove the lid and continue to cook if a crispy bottom is preferred

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