Bittergourd Pilau

I am not a fan of bittergourd, mainly due to its bitter taste.  Locally they care called faaga. I remember eating the ripe ones when they were bright and orange just scooping out  bright red fleshy seeds  and eating it but  I  never liked them in their green stages.
Its also known for its medicinal qualities, my father has started to soak thinly sliced bittergourd in water, leave it over night and drink the water the next day. Apparently it reduces the blood sugar but please don't start doing this before consulting a doctors, my father like most patients his age like to take matters to his own hand and try to cure himself rather than see another physician ,a stubborn or ego problem  which comes along with old age , I guess...

Anyway back to my recipe, I came across this interesting recipe while visiting my usual blog friends. Akila's Learning to cook blog is one of the places I love visiting and I saw this recipe  featured in one of her posts.  The rice looked yummy and since bittergourd is something tha'ts locally grown I decided to give it try. I had to do a few tweaks as I didn't have sour curd I used home made buttermilk and added some fresh tomatoes to my pilau.

Recipe: Bittergourd  Pilau, recipe adapted from Akila's  Bitter gourd Pilau from Learning to Cook blog

Serves about 4 people

100g bittergourd
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar or lime juice
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tamarind paste or small ball of tamarind
1 1/4 cup basmathi rice, washed and soaked in water for 20-30 minutes
1 medium onion, sliced
1" ginger , grated
3 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 large tomato, chopped
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 cardamon pods
1 " cinamon stick
2 cloves( karanfoo)
1 sprig curry leaves( thats about 8-10 leaves)
1 green chilli slit in half
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp Ghee or vegetable oil
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups water

First prepare the bitter gourd, slice them thinly. In a plastic or glass bowl, add milk, and vinegar or lime juice and let it sit for 10 minutes. You will notice the milk curdles and you get  a sour sort of smell. well that's your buttermilk . In to the prepared buttermilk ,mix in tumeric, salt and tamarind. Then add the bitter gourd and let it sit for about 20- 30 minutes or an hour if you can.

After an hour, drain the buttmilk mix and wash the bittergourd thoroughly under running tap water, set a side.

Heat oil ,  add onions cinamon, cardamon, cloves curry leaves and fry for about 2 minutes till softened and aroma is released.  Stir in the spices and a tomatoes  and chilli and stir fry for another 1 minute or two ,add  a few tablespoons of water to stop it from catching at the bottom.

Then mix in the bitter gourd and rice, stir to coat everything well. Add  coconut milk,  water and about a tsp of salt. Bring to a boil then simmer, 10 minutes till the water on top is absorbed. Stir in coriander  and cover, bring the heat down to the lowest and cook another 5 minutes.  Switch off.
Let it rest for 10 minutes, add lime juice and fluff the rice up with a fork and serve with a mild curry or raita and some grilled chicken or fish.

Note:, you will be surprised there was just a slight bitter taste but was very tasty. 

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