In my childhood, the bittergourd we get nowadays were a hybrid and not available in local shops. We were buying a smaller version of them called 'mithi pagal':), those used to be very tiny and not bitter like the ones we get nowadays. Moreover that mithi pagal plant, root, fruits everything can be made into a juice and drank for obesity and diabetes. Then came the longer version and one day we saw them in our Vivekanandan uncle's house and were amazed at that yield. They were gathering them in big baskets and no one was there to buy them as they couldn't find a better way to cook them without that bitterness. Mom showed them a way using more oil and chilly powder and it was so excellent. Yes, my Mom used to make very good fried curries with this bittergourd and call it as pakarkkai varuval along with paruppu kulambu. At that time I have also consumed that but after I started cooking, I could neither take that bitter flavor nor add oil like my mom. So bittergourd became a rare commodity in my kitchen and I prepared it sometime ago and with chapathi for supper and packed it with lentil rice the next day. Anyways everybody liked it and I am just noting it down because of the way I added very minimal oil.
Ingredients:Bitter gourd - 2 (150 gm)
tomato - 3 (100 gm)
onion - 1
salt - to taste
red chilly powder - 1 tbsp
garam masala powder - 1 tsp
oil - 1 tbsp
fennel - 1/2 tsp
Method:Finely chop the vegetables. Remove the seeds of bittergourd.
Heat oil in a wok and add fennel. After they get red, add the sliced onion, curry leaves and fry till they wilt. Then put the tomato and cook till they get mushy.
Now add the bittergourd along with salt and other masala powders mentioned above.
Stir well and after a minute sprinkle a handful of water and cook covered till the bittergourd is cooked well.
Serving suggestions:Serve with roti or any rice.
If you still find the bitterness unacceptable, then try adding a few drops of lemon or tamarind extract.