Cooked in the oven to make life easier and healthier. This vegetable/fruit known as Bitter gourd, Karela, balsam pear or bitter melon is a super food with endless health benefits. If the name or the look puts you off I say do not fear. It may look like a green Dinosaur but it is after all a humble piece of goodness. It grows off the vine as a green oblong shaped fruit, with a distinct warty exterior. The size, texture and bitterness vary between the different regions in which it grows. It is actually considered the most bitter among the fruits and vegetables.
My love for this vegetable-fruit seems to grow with my age. The bitterness is not for everyone but if well cooked it can be a treat. I prefer it braised or stir-fried with loads of thyme or curry leaves, chilies, onions and tomatoes. You may even put it in a fish, chicken or meat curry. Which ever way you cook these babies I suggest adding loads of tomatoes to reduce the bitterness. It can be served with brown rice or anything although my favorite is with baguette bread. For a healthier self try to eat this bitter goodness at least once a week or whenever you can.
Bitter Melon is used in traditional medicine for colic, fever, burns, chronic cough, painful menstruation and skin conditions. It can be eaten as a fruit, made into juice, the seeds can be added to food in a powdered form and can be found in most Asian shops.
Bitter melon are a rich source of phytonutrients like dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Fresh pods are an excellent source of Folates, Vit C. It also has an excellent source of health benefiting flavanoids.
Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd
Helps Fight Diabetes
One-of the very often studied health benefits of bitter gourd is its effectiveness in lowering blood sugar. High blood sugar contributes to diabetes, which in turn may cause heart disease, hypertension, blindness, high cholesterol, and stroke.
Green juice for diabetics: cucumbers, green apples, bitter melon, celery, ½ green capsicum (bell pepper). Bitter melon contains certain chemicals that are like insulin which help to reduce the blood sugar levels.
Bitter melon can be helpful in riding the body of kidney stones through naturally breaking them down
High cholesterol is a main risk factor for heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. LDL builds up on arterial walls and may cause blockages and hardening of the arteries. You can increase your HDL levels through nutrition and exercise, and research shows that bitter gourd is a dietary component which will help increase those HDL levels.
One of the most surprising health benefits of biter melon is it’s anti-cancer properties. Bitter melon has been shown to disrupt the production of glucose, potentially inhibiting the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.Bitter gourd can also starve other cancerous cells in the liver, colon, breast or prostate
The regular consumption of bitter gourd helps in keeping your skin glowing and free from blemishes. It also helps prevent acne thanks to its blood purifying properties
The properties that aid against type 2 diabetes also assist in healthy weight loss and maintenance. The melon is high in nutrients which is another reason it’s so beneficial in weight loss.
This tonic aids in digestion, improves gallbladder function, lowers fluid retention, weight loss and may relieve symptom of irritable bowel system
A healthy immune system is vital for fending off potential infections and diseases. A glass of bitter gourd juice each day will help reinforce your immune system and improve the body’s fighting power against disease.
Carbohydrates turn to sugar and bitter melon metabolizes the sugars. Faster metabolism of carbohydrates means that less food is stored in the body which leads to weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. Proper carbohydrate digestion also aids in muscle growth and development.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Number of servings: 4
4 large bitter gourds
1 table spoon coconut oil
1 large white onions
4 plum tomatoes
2 clove of garlic
2 inch ginger
10-15 curry leaves
4 chilies (optional)
- Cut and discard the top and bottom of the bitter gourds.
- Cut the bitter gourd into 1-2 cm rondelles (as shown in the picture)
- Take each slice and with your thumb try to remove the white parts as much as you can. Discard the white parts
- Put all the green circles into a bowl
- Add a generous amount of salt, mix and leave them for about 20 minutes or as long as you want. This helps reduce some of the bitterness.
- After the 20 minutes wash them thoroughly 3 to 4 times
- Pat dry the bitter gourd using a tea towel.
- Put all the ingredients above in an oven dish.
- Cook in a preheated oven at 180C for about 30 minutes or till it's soft when pressed.
- This can be served as it is now although I continued by putting the bitter gourd on a baking tray and cooked if for another 15 minutes. It just made it a bit crispier and less bitter.
- Serve with some brown rice and lentils
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and don’t forget to tag a picture#everydaycookingwithmira on Instagram or Facebook so we can see what you come up with. Till then Keep Well!