This is a delicious bitter-sweet-hot-and-sour dish that goes well as a side-dish with any meal.
200g bitter gourd, trimmed and cut into 1-inch/2.5-cm thick rounds and then into quarters
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste if needed
1 tablespoon de-seeded tamarind
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
7-10 dried red chilli peppers
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
Jaggery to taste
- Place the bitter gourd pieces in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Mix and set aside for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, dry-roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies separately in a small pan until fragrant and slightly darker in shade. Transfer to an electric blender and blend to a smooth powder.
- Extract the juice of tamarind using 1 cup/250ml water.
- Heat the oil in a medium pan. Add the onions and cook until golden, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
- Discard the water released by the bitter gourd and add to the pan. Stir well and add the tamarind water.
- Cover and cook until the bitter gourd pieces are half done. Add the spice powder and mix.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the bitter gourd is cooked. You may add extra water if required to prevent the mixture from burning.
- Add the jaggery and mix. When the jaggery has melted, check for the seasonings and adjust as required.
- Remove from the heat. Leave the dish for 30 minutes for the flavours to blend, before serving.