Archive for the ‘Bittergourd’ Category

If magazines start “borrowing” ideas from blogs

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Alright, let me be frank. I cannot speak kannada though I have been married to N for almost 5 years. So,when I was in Bangalore this summer, I got some tamil magazines to read for travel. Little did I know that I was in for a surprise.

One of the leading magazines in Tamilnadu-Kumudam Snegithi(meaning Friends) had a tip about cooking Bittergourd and I felt that the picture looked quiet familiar. What do you know, after all it was “borrowed” from my blog without even asking me, and I was wondering where my copyright declaration went to which is written straight across the photo. (Issue dated August 16-31, page 58)

The original photo link from my blog is here.

I would have not known about this if I was still living here in the US. I felt that it was a good thing, as N keeps making fun of the photos I take and if magazines feel that the photos were good enough to publish, then obviously the quality of my photos are better that I thought, right?

What more can I say, here I am sitting and acquiring copyright protections, x, y and z’s and someone somewhere, that too a magazine does not even bother to look at it. Or may be is there a chance that two photos can look alike so much???I don’t know!!

I am not sure if mine is the first case, but I have heard many stories from fellow bloggers about plagiarism. All I can do now is take a deep breath and say-wow I do have stuff worth copying :)

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A Better-Bitter recipe from a reader

Friday, July 1st, 2011

This is quite a special recipe story. Sonia, one of our readers sent me a recipe for cooking bittergourd. Nothing exciting about it, right? Nope. She sent it to me when she learned that I was expecting a baby and I had just started eating bittergourd, thanks to the Gestational diabetes scare. Thankfully, I did not get that GD. Those days I just had one trick of cooking BG, trying the recipe from here, but Sonia sent me more than one way of removing the bitterness from the gourd.

This incident happened last year, if I remember well, it was in July 2010. I was thinking on publishing her tips on cooking the gourd, but I was so tired due to pregnancy and then came the baby and the whole world vanished from my sight. All I could think of was little R. I guess it is about time I publish the recipe. Sorry for the delay Sonia. Do send me the special kofta recipe you were talking about, I promise I will publish it asap with pictures :)

Tips and Tricks on cooking bittergourd:

We have just given approximate measurements for ingredients assuming that the cooking is for 1 or 2 bitter gourds. Depending on the number of gourds you use, please adjust all other quantities accordingly.

Making Stir fry’s:

Chop bittergourd in to rings(half moon shape). Then marinade the rings with 1/4 cup of chopped onions, pinch of asafoedita, 2 tbsp of gram flour, salt and red chili powder to taste.

Remember not to add any water as onions will give out water needed to make a coating. Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard seeds(or the tadka you’d normally use) and stir fry the onions and gourd till crispy.

Serve this as accompaniment for rasams or sambhar or Mango Morekozhambu(kadhi).

For making Bajjis:

Slice the bitter gourd into thick rings. Add salt and leave aside for 10 minutes. Discard the water released by the bitter gourd as that will carry the bitterness. Pat them dry. Then add red chilli powder(to taste) , a pinch of asafoetida and mix well.

Dust the rings with with 2 tbsp of rice flour, keep aside for 5 minutes for the coating to stick and then deep fry in oil. This makes a good crunch munch accompaniment for rice or even as a snack with a hot cuppa chai!

For crispier karelas:

Instead of adding rice flour, soak 1 tbsp of plain uncooked rice for half an hour. Grind this rice, 1-2 whole red chillies, hing, one teaspoon of coriander seeds, 1 tbsp of besan (optional) into a smooth paste. Dip the marinated karela into this and deep fry. Serve as accompaniment or as a snack.

So, are there any more ways of cooking bittergourd? Let me know and I will update this post.

NOTE: This is not included in the postpartum of lactation recipe series that I am writing for the past few days. In general bitter gourd is not included in the diet of lactating moms.

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A simple way to prepare no Bitter-better gourd

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I don’t need anyone to tell me that I am not a big fan of bitter gourd(karela), I’d say so myself. I must have had the bitter gourd about 5 times in the past 10 years..Or may be even less than that. Though there are people in my family who can set a perfect example by savoring it, say my 4 year old nephew A, who loves pagaikai pitla, I always run away from the vegetable.

Luckily for me, N is not a big fan of Bitter gourd either(partner’s in crime huh!!) and we never buy the vegetable from Indian grocery shops. Last year, when we started a vegetable garden, we decided to plant karela as well, only to be rewarded by a dozen gourds every week :(

I have tried almost all the methods suggested to take the bitterness away:
– Soaking bittergourd in butter milk the night before cooking it
– Soaking bittergourd in tamarind water and turmeric before cooking it
-Soaking it in the water which was used to wash rice
-Adding jaggery
-Cutting thin slices of karela and making bajjis
-Immersing one karela in a pan full of onion-tomato masala, calling it healthy (I end up eating one gourd nah?)
and so on and so forth.

Then one fine day, I saw this recipe from Indira and I tried it. This is so far the best way to take away the bitterness from the gourd. Believe it or not, when you finish cooking the karela this way, you can taste only 5% of the original bitterness. And no, you don’t need to fry it, soak it in masala or anything.

Indira’s recipe is for stuffed bitter gourds, but I modified the recipe so that I use the dal powder as a stir fry powder. Try this anyway you like it and you will keep making it again and again.


For 4 Bitter gourds:

For the dal powder:
Chana dal- 5 tbsp (or use chutney kadalai- dalia, like in the original recipe)
Coconut- 5 tbsp
Dried red chilies- 4
Cumin- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste

Oil- to stir fry
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp


Preparing the bitter gourd:
Wash the bitter gourd and using a peeler, peel the harsh surface of the gourd.

Run the knife through the gourd lengthwise, but do not cut it in to two. Scoop out the seeds.

In a microwave safe bowl, add the bitter gourd, a dash of salt, enough water to steam(about 4-5 tbsp) and steam the gourd for 2-3 minutes.

Remove the gourd from the bowl, chop them like rings. Let it cool.

Dal powder:
Toast all ingredients given under the dal powder section and blend them to a fine powder.

Making the stir fry:

Heat oil in a pan, add any tempering(mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves) and add the chopped bitter gourd. Add salt to taste, stir fry for 2-3 minutes, add the dal powder, stir fry again, sprinkle some water for the gourd to cook through. Since it is already steamed, the gourd cooks faster and you do not need more oil or water.

Serve hot with any main dish like sambar or rasam.


I chopped the bitter gourd after steaming, but you can use it as a whole for stuffing after the steaming. Use either the dal powder, potatoes or any masala you like. And you won’t notice the bitterness at all! Steaming is the Key I guess. Thanks Indira, for this wonderful trick!

This Stir fried no bitter-better gourd goes to Priya’s Bookmarked recipes event.

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