Llayland’s Food, Oracle, and Haskell

September 13, 2008

Bitter Gourd Curry (Indian/Thai Fusion)

Filed under: Food — llayland @ 9:44 pm

Here’s another recipe I dug up that was very popular at work.  This was my second attempt at making bitter gourd. The stuff is difficult to work with since it is so incredibly bitter.  Honestly, this was still a bit too bitter for me, but it was a big hit for the people that were used to other bitter gourd dishes.

Here is my best shot at a recipe for the curry. I almost never measure anything, so you have to use your judgment.

1) Mix in a large zip loc bag to marinate at least overnight:

3 chinese bitter gourd, diced. each about the size of a large cucumber.

1 handful raw bird chilies, rough chopped

1/2 to 1 bulb of garlic sliced thick

canola oil to cover and toasted sesame oil for flavor


cracked black pepper

2) Ingredients

strained oil from marinade

1 handful raw bird chilies, sliced lengthwise

dried red pepper flakes (to taste for extra heat, but do use some as they have a different flavor than the bird chiles)

4-5 kaffir lime leaf (fresh, dried is pointless)

3-4 bay leaf (dried)

1/2 can red curry paste (yes, I cheated a little bit since I was in a hurry)

black mustard seed – No clue how much, probably enough to cover the bottom of the pan about 30-40%

powdered cumin – a lot of this, probably about a heaping palmful.  I kept having to add more to get the flavor right

cinamon – not to much, it is just there to accent the cumin

8-12 baby bok choy washed, whites diced and greens left whole – I had used the whites for another dish, but they would be fine in the curry if diced finely

1/2 to 1 bulb garlic sliced thick

bitter gourd, chile, and garlic from marinade

natural sugar (the brown crystals) – about 3/8 cup, but I might reduce this to 1/4 cup since it was a bit on the sweet side

cream of coconut

rice wine vinegar

asefoetida – enought to lightly cover the pan

3) Method

drain the oil from the marinade into a large skillet.  Avoid getting much of the juice from the bitter melon in the skillet to avoid splattering, but do not discard the juice.

add chiles, red pepper flaeks, mustard, cumin, cinamon, bay leaf,  kaffir lime leaf, and curry paste.

Turn on the burner to a low to medium low heat. You want to let the oil come up to temperature slowly to allow the flavors to infuse and to minimize splattering from any liquids from in the oil.

When the oil get to temperature add the garlic, bitter gourd with juice, whites from the bok choy and salt to taste -then turn the burner up to medium high.

Cook until the gourd is tender (probably 7 to 10 minutes) stirring occasionally

taste and reseason if needed – I had to add more cumin, cinamon, and salt here

Pour off excess oil into a jar to save (do leave some in the skillet)

stir the greens into the mixture until they are wilted (less than a minute)

add sugar and stir until thoroughly dissolved

give it a good sprinkling of the rice wine vinegar

sprinkle asefoetida powder over the entire skillet.  I used a good amount because I felt the dish was lacking pungency.

stir, taste and reseason or add more vinegar if needed

mix in enough cream of coconut to thicken the sauce. the cream of coconut also serves to bring all the flavors together and tone down some of the bitterness.  start with a small amount and add more if needed.

I think that is pretty much how I made it.  Next time I’d like to add some fresh curry leaves.  The excess oil is also very good, especially for roasting potatoes.


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