Chapter : 3 – Bitter Melon (Karela nu shak)

3 cups bitter melon, sliced in wedges (remove seeds and spongy centers of the more mature bitter melon)

1 Tblsp salt                                             Spices:

5 Tblsp oil for frying                                   1 Tblsp ground coriander-cumin

2 Tblsp yellow raisins                                1/8 tsp hing

2 Tblsp chopped cashew nuts                    1 tsp paprika

1 tsp brown sugar                                      ¼ tsp turmeric

  1. Rub the salt over the sliced bitter melon.  Mix well.  Set aside for 30
  2. Taking a handful of bitter melon at a time, squeeze out the water imparted by salt (which makes the vegetable bitter) between the palms of your hands.
  3. In a saucepan with a lid, heat the oil.
  4. Add the spices, raisins and cashew nuts.  Fry over low heat for a few minutes. Add the bitter melon.  Mix well.  Cover the pan and cook on low heat until bitter melon is done and all the moisture is absorbed (about 25 to 30 minutes).
  5. Taste the bitter melon and if still too bitter, add the brown sugar and stir well.  Cook for a few more minutes.

Serves 4-6

Spinach with Yogurt

(Dahi palak)

1 bag (10 ounce) spinach                         2 Tblsp ghee

3-4 Tblsp water                                       1 tsp mustard seeds

1 ½ cups thick whipped yogurt                 ½ in piece ginger, grated

Pinch of sugar                                        3-4 small red (dried) chillies(optional)

Salt to taste

  1. Wash the spinach thoroughly and allow the water to drain.
  2. Place the spinach, including the stems, in a pot.  Add the water and let the spinach cook for some time till the leaves are soft.
  3. In a blender, grind the cooked (cool) spinach to a fine paste.
  4. Put the spinach paste in a serving bowl.  Add the yogurt, sugar and salt.  Mix thoroughly.
  5. In a small pot, heat the ghee.  Add the mustard seeds and allow it to pop. When the popping stops, laded the ginger and chillies (optional) and saute for 2 minutes.  Pour this spiced ghee into the bowl with the spinach mixture, and once again, stir well.

Serving suggestion: Serve with puris or pariahs.

Serves 4-6

Snow Peas

-a great delicacy-

¼ pound fresh snow peas                         Salt to taste

3 Tblsp oil                                                 ½ tsp garam masala

2 tsp ground coriander-cumin                    1 med tomato, chopped coarsely

¼ tsp turmeric                                         1 Tblsp chopped

½ tsp paprika                                          coriander leaves

1/8 tsp hing

  1. Wash snowpeas and remove strings and cut into half.
  2. In a pan or skillet, heat the oil.  Add the hing and cook for 20 seconds.
  3. Add the snowpeas.  Mix well.
  4. Add the remaining spices.  Mix well.  Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for another three minutes.
  6. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.


Spiced Dried Potatoes

(Suki bhaji)

6 cups boiled, peeled potatoes,                    ¼ cup coarsely chopped,

cut into 1 inch cubes                                  mildly hot green chillies

¼ cup oil                                                     5-6 curry leaves (fresh or dried)

2 tsp black mustard seeds                            ¼ tsp turmeric

2 tsp udad dal                                              Salt to taste

1/8 tsp hing                                                  2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp chopped fresh ginger                            2 Tblsp chopped coriander leaves

  1. Prepare the potatoes and set them aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the mustard seeds.  When they crackle, add the udad dal and cook about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the hing, ginger,. Chillies and curry leaves, turmeric and salt.  Cook, stirring stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.  Add the potatoes and stir gently until they are coated with spices.  Turn carefully so as not to break up the potatoes pieces.
  4. Sprinkle with lemon juice and half the coriander leaves.  Toss gently to mix.  Serve sprinkled with more fresh coriander.

Serves 6-8

Baked Eggplant

(Ringana nu bhartu)

1 or more eggplants weighing 2 pounds in all

2 small boiled potatoes

2 medium tomatoes, washed, stemmed and coarsely chopped

1 small green peper, chopped fine

1 Tblsp minced ginger root

1 fresh green chilli chopped (optional)

2 Tblsp oil

1/8 tsp hing

4 tsp ground coriander-cumin

1 tsp paprika

Salt to taste

3 Tblsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves