The moment bitter gourd is mentioned, most people wrinkle their noses and twist their taste buds, as if they can actually feel the bitterness.
The bitter truth is, this vegetable is so chock-full of benefits for overall health, it is unbelievable. So avoid it at your own risk.
Bitter gourd is my personal favorite vegetable. I have fond childhood memories of waiting and watching for the flower on our creepers to shrivel and give way to the young karela, just so I could pluck and eat it. We had this little patch of soil in our backyard where we grew bitter gourd, beans, tomatoes, and curry leaves. The bitter gourd creeper grew all the way up, across our roof and one fine day, appeared above our front door! I remember climbing the roof with my uncle and harvesting the bitter gourd in small buckets. Then we’d distribute it in the neighborhood. With the produce we kept for ourselves, a number of dishes would be made. Curry, Sambar, Sliced, flavored and dried to be fried and savored later, pickled, and so much more!
Of course, most people prefer karela/bitter gourd deep-fried–but that’s really not the best way to reap its benefits. We generally cook it as a dry curry, or in gravy. Either way, our family enjoys it.
As a diabetic, salads are a mandatory part of my diet. I love salads and am always looking for variations and variety.
When my classmate suggested the salad recipe I am about to share here, I was delighted. I like eating it raw, but this sounded just delicious. She assured me I would fall in love with it and also told me her son loves to make a big batch when he’s home on a break and carry it to college.
Well, I now make this regularly and thoroughly enjoy it. I mean, absolute win-win situation for me. And my blood sugar.
Here’s what you need to get together:
The ingredients for karela bitter gourd salad
2 medium sized karela or bitter gourd
half a medium sized onion
2 pods garlic,
one green chilly,
Half a cup of grated coconut
Juice of one lemon. I like to go with one and a half
A pinch of salt
How to make it
1. Slit the karela/bitter gourd length-wise
2. Scoop out the insides, cut in strips and chop finely.
3. Chop the onion, garlic, chili, and coriander finely
4. In a bowl, add the chopped karela, onion, chili.
5. Add the lemon juice and pinch of salt and mix
6. Add the grated coconut
7. Add the chopped coriander
Make a big batch and pack off half into the fridge. It will taste even better since the karela gets time to marinate in the lemon juice.
- No lemon juice? I sometimes splash some apple cider vinegar. My blood sugar says thanks.
- No coconut? Not the end of the world. Still tastes good without it. Go ahead and sprinkle some grated paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese)
- Optional: you can also add chopped cucumber, sprouts, boiled peanuts, chopped tomatoes
- Salt is not mandatory, I find that it tastes fine without it, too.
- I substitute green chili with jalapenos. Tastes fabulous.
Do you like bitter gourd? Would you try this salad?
I’d love to know!