Bitter [Better] Medicine!

One of our favorite vegetable is an infamous bitter vegetable. Invariably this will be the first vegetable we pick up when we go veggie shopping. We love this so much that we really don't mind having this everyday. I know, you must be surprised as the rest of our family but do you know that bitter is better?

Momordica charantia, as it is know by its botanical name, is also called bitter gourd, bitter melon, karela, ampalaya, goya, balsamino and saraseed around the world.

Apart from its culinary uses, bitter gourd is also used in alternate/traditional medicine. It is said to be a stimulate sluggish digestion and control dyspepsia and constipation.

Quinine imparts the bitterness to this vegetable and in some countries, bitter gourd is used in folk medicine to prevent and cure malaria

Bitter gourd is also tested for its property of being an immunomodulator and if the tests prove to be positive then we can see a cure for HIV

The most interesting thing is that it is believed to be a boon for diabetics!! It is said to have an action similar to insulin and also stimulates the pancreas to work better. Though folk medicine vouches for bitter gourd to control diabetes it is better to consult a physician before starting on an exclusive bitter gourd therapy.

Besides this, the leaves and fruits are also used to brew tea and beer in some places.

Though I prepare a number of dishes with bitter gourd, this stir-fry is our favorite.

You need:

1. Bitter gourd - 2 medium sized, deseeded and chopped
2. Onion - 1, chopped
3. Tomato - 1, chopped
4. Garlic - 2 pods, minced/grated
5. Ginger - 1cm piece, peeled and grated
6. Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
7. Mustard - 1 teaspoon
8. Cumin seeds/Jeera - 1 teaspoon
9. Curry leaves a few
10. Coriander leaves - finely chopped - to garnish
11. Oil - 1 teaspoon
12. Salt to taste


1. Put the chopped bitter gourd in a microwave safe dish, sprinkle water and cook on high for 10 minutes or till done
2. In a pan heat oil and put in mustard and jeera
3. When it crackles, put in curry leaves and wait for it to crisp.
4. Put in ginger, garlic and onion and saute till the onions turn transparent
5. Next in goes the tomato which is cooked till soft and mushy
6. Put in the chilli powder, salt and cook for 2 minutes
7. Add the cooked bitter gourd and mix well.
8. Cook for another 2 minutes.
9. Serve garnished with coriander leaves.

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