This is an interesting and wonderful way to cook bitter gourds. Here, the natural bitterness of the bitter gourds is mellowed to a great extent by the spices and onions, making the bitter gourds really moreish. Serve this as a side dish.
8 medium bitter gourds
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for shallow-frying
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons besan
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon amchur
½ teaspoon asafoetida
½ teaspoon garam masala powder
1. Scrape the bitter gourds and place the scrapings in a bowl.
2. Slit each bitter gourd lengthwise. Remove the pith and seeds and add to the bitter gourd scrapings.
3. Place the bitter gourd in another bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt and lime juice and mix well. Set aside for 45 minutes.
4. Grind the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds to a smooth powder, using a spice grinder.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until well browned.
6. Add the besan and stir until fragrant.
7. Add the bitter gourd scrapings, and internal pith and seeds. Stir to combine.
8. Add the ground spices, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, amchur, garam masala and the remaining salt and stir until fragrant. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
9. Drain and discard the liquid accumulated in the bowl.
10. Fill the mixture in the bitter gourds and tie with a thread.
11. Heat the oil in a pan and shallow-fry the bitter gourds, turning frequently, until uniformly brown and tender.
12. Serve hot; remove and discard the thread before eating.