BITTER gourd, by virtue of its name and appearance, is not a popular vegetable. Nevertheless, the health benefits imparted by this vegetable make it a good choice for the health-conscious person. In many Asian traditions, bitter foods are believed to contain disease-fighting phyto-chemicals that may be beneficial to health. Bitter gourd is a typical example.
Most bitter foods have anti-bacterial and cleansing properties.
If eaten in moderate amounts, bitter foods can improve appetite and quench thirst. However, if taken in excess, it may affect our digestion.
The diuretic property of bitter gourd may increase mineral loss in urine. It is considered a “cooling” food. We can cook the gourd with ginger and meat to balance the cooling effects.
Bitter gourd helps lower blood pressure. It is therefore not suitable for people with low blood pressure. People who always feel cold may also want to limit intake of bitter gourd, especially when cooked in soup. Boiling the gourd in soup increases the absorption of potassium. For these people, elevated blood levels of potassium may cause irregular heartbeat.
Our kidneys play an important role in eliminating excess potassium from the body. Bitter gourd is not a good choice for people with kidney problems.
Those who dislike the bitter taste can add a bit of oil or butter to their dish. Oil can mask the bitter taste and helps promote absorption of fat-soluble phytochemicals such as vitamins A, E and K found in the gourd.
It is advised when cooking bitter gourd, to blanch the gourd in hot water or season with salt before cooking as these help to reduce the bitterness. I normally do this for Indian bitter gourd which has more bitterness in it compare to the Chinese bitter gourd.
Today am posting a very simple fried crisp bitter gourd using Chinese bitter gourd.
½ a bitter gourd (250gm )
1 ½ tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp(scoop) rice flour
3 tsp (scoop) cornflour
Dash of yellow colouring(optional)
Cut bittergourd into half. Remove seeds and clean. Slice thinly at an angle.(You can rub with 1 tsp salt,leave aside for five to six minutes, then wash if preferred). Leave to dry on a kitchen towel.
Heat 2 cups of oil on medium heat.
In a bowl , mix in all the ingredients.Do not add water.Sprinkle salt and hing powder on the bittergourd.Mix the flours.Shake well so that it coats the bitterguard.Add the bittergourd in medium heat oil and fry until crisp.Dish out on a kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Leave to cool before storing in an air tight bottle or container.
Note: Advisable to consume all in the same day.
Am sending this recipe for the event Think Spice - Think Hing started by Sunita ofSunita's World and at present hosted by Kharas Mithaas