I was never a picky eater, but when I started thinking about how I felt about bitter gourd when I was young, I don’t have a distinct memory of either liking it or disliking it. May be my mom wasn’t feeding it to her kids, because she knew we wouldn’t like it or maybe she masked the bitterness and made us eat it, I have no memory whatsoever.
But one distinct memory I have was eating stuffed karela at our dear neighbors place; karelas were stuffed and tightly closed with kitchen twine and then sautéed until golden brown (may be in a batter—don’t remember that), but I remember them just melting in my mouth with no bitterness at all. I guess that was when I started really noticing and liking this bitter veggie.
I don’t mind slight bitterness anymore, but personally I try to take out as much of that bitter taste as I can by pre-cooking the gourd with yogurt or tamarind and then using the veggie as needed. For today’s Bengali dish for BM#5, I picked this delicious bitter gourd dish from Sandeepa’s Bong cookbook. I have to say this is one of the best karela dishes I have ever made. It’s a dry curry and the poppy seeds coat the bitter gourd and give them an almost creamy taste when eating. A must try for all Karela fans.
Did I mention the original recipe only has 5 ingredients, but with my pre-cooking the ingredient list grew to a whopping 6 ingredients that includes salt too.
Sandeepa’s Original recipe here.