Here are pictures and recipes of some of the ways I managed to sneak it into my family’s diet without anyone noticing.
Barley and Garden Veggies
In this preparation, I used Korean Squash, another lovely large crunchy vegetable with a delicate taste, celery, red peppers, green peppers, onion and garlic from the garden, along with shitake mushrooms from the farmers’ market. I sautéed everything, including the finely-chopped bitter gourd, and tossed it all into the pre-cooked barley. I then added some chicken broth (vegetarians could use water or a different broth) and baked it in a low 325 oven until the barley was fully cooked and had absorbed the flavors of the vegetables. No one noticed the presence of bitter gourd.
For this curry, you start by washing your cut up chicken in watered down lemon juice. In a separate bowl, place enough non-fat yoghurt to cover all the chicken and mix in the following powdered spices: coriander, 1tblspn; cumin 1 tspn; chili, ½ tspn; paprika, ½ tspn. Mix the spices into the yoghurt, add chicken, mix well and let sit for about two hours.
Fry together the equivalent of roughly one medium onion or two shallots, about one inch of ginger finely chopped, about six cloves of garlic, finely chopped. This is the place to also add about one cup or more of finely chopped bitter gourd. Sauté well. Then add about 6-10 whole green cardamom pods and 6-10 whole cloves, one 4-inch piece of cinnamon stick, broken into two or three pieces. Continue frying for about two more minutes. Finally, put in the chicken/yoghurt mix and cook gently until the meat is cooked through. Then sprinkle a teaspoon or two of Garam Masala (available at most grocery stores in ethnic food section) and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro. The rich flavors of this curry completely hide the bitterness of the bitter gourd. In the curry pictured above, I also added some celery and a little green pepper from my garden, just in case someone noticed green bits. Any vegetables that are not soggy may be added, such as potato, turnip, carrots, green beans, etc.
The last recipe is for cous cous. Much like the barley, I simply chopped up whatever I had in the garden—in this version, there is purple and white eggplant, finely chopped green beans (they are tough at this time of year!), green, yellow and red peppers, garlic, onion, and, of course, the bitter gourd. I sautéed everything, added 2.5 cups of chicken broth and brought to boil. Then I sprinkled one cup of cous cous, turned off the flame, closed the dish and let it sit until the cous cous cooked through. This is another family favorite, and no one noticed the bitter gourd.