Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stir-Fried Bitter Melon & Eggplant

Karola Begun Bhaja

My trip to the Asian market a couple of days ago proved fruitful because I found a tray of already sliced bitter melons.They were of the Chinese variety which have a smoother and lighter skin than their subcontinental counterparts.

Sour Food Examples Chinese bitter melon
Chinese Bitter Melons

Smooth Gourd Bitter gourd seed amar tara
Subcontinental Bitter Melons

Chinese bitter melons are also less bitter than the subcontinental variety. The long and slender Japanese eggplants go so well when they are stir-fried along with bitter melons.

This dish is a common side served as a first course of a Bengali meal. It's so simple to make and is considered to be beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels. It tastes perfect with any form of Indian bread or steamed Basmati rice.

3 bitter melons, cut in half, deseeded and sliced
2 Asian eggplants, cut in half and sliced
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. whole Bengali 5-spice or panch phoron (equal proportions of fennel, nigella, fenugreek, cumin and mustard seeds)
salt to taste

  1. Toss both vegetables with salt to taste.
  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat and sputter 5-spice.
  3. Stir-fry bitter melon and eggplant slices until golden brown.
  4. Adjust salt and transfer to a serving dish.
Serve with chapatis or Basmati rice.