Bitter gourd, or bitter melon, or bitter squash is indigenous to tropical or sub-tropical climates. It’s bitter taste makes it a perfect cleansing agent. It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The bitterness might be a deterrent in it’s consumption. My mother cooked it two ways: Sweet and Sour Stew and Fry.
Owing to the bitterness, I could never eat the fry, but the sweet and sour stew was always my favorite.
2 bitter gourd, chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 cup tamarind juice
2-3 blocks of jaggery
1-2 tbsp rice flour
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tsp urad dal
1-2 dry red chilli
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
touch of turmeric
touch of asafoetida
a few curry leaves
chopped cilantro for garnish
In a pan, heat some oil. Add turmeric, asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, dry red chillies, urad dal, and channa dal. Fry till lightly golden. Add sliced jalapeno and curry leaves and fry lightly. Add chopped bitter gourd and onion and fry till the onion turn translucent.
Add about 1 cup tamarind juice (or as desired). Add 1-2 cubes of jaggery to sweeten the stew. Bring to a boil. Let simmer on medium low until cooked.
Add rice flour to a little water. Mix well and add to the stew. Let simmer for a few minutes. Season with salt. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve warm with some rice and dal.We always ate our stew with some dal!
Snake Gourd and Moong Dal
Pumpkin and Channa Dal
The inspiration for this soup came from here. It was that time of the month to clean up the fridge, and fall (and winter) are perfect time to cook up new soups. Sipping warm spicy soup on a cold winter’s day is so soothing. It is the perfect lunch time meal with some rustic piece of bread. And this one you can make as colorful as you like!
1/2 cup rainbow quinoa (cooked per directions)
1 cup kidney beans (dry or use canned if you must)
tri-color peppers sliced
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
1 small zucchini sliced
2 carrots sliced
2-3 celery sticks sliced
1-2 tomatoes (or use canned if you must) chopped
1 cup fresh spinach chopped
some fresh basil chopped
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
3-4 cups water or broth
juice of 1 lemon
salt and black pepper to taste
red crushed pepper
If using dry kidney beans, soak overnight or for 8-10 hrs. Rinse and cook kidney beans in two cups of water. I usually cook mine in a pressure cooker. Set aside.
Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan. Lightly fry onion and garlic. Add rest of the vegetables except spinach and lightly cook. Add broth or water and bring to boil. Reduce flame to medium low and continue cooking. Add bay leaves, chopped basil, thyme, red crushed pepper, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked kidney beans and cook on medium low for 30-40 minutes. Add spinach and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile bring 1 cup water to boil in a separate pan. Add rainbow quinoa and cook. Add the cooked quinoa to the soup and serve hot.
It was clean up time again. The refrigerator was cluttered with half a bell pepper here, some zucchini there, a bunch of beans, a small floret of broccoli, some cauliflower and other remnants of vegetables I had used the last few days. Perfect time to weed out of the refrigerator and transform the left over vegetables into an ingredient for a stew or soup with my favorite choice of beans. I go through this at least once a month. It is a perfect precursor to clean the refrigerator to make room for some fresh and vibrant produce to inspire new cooking ideas.
Nothing new here…
I pulled my 13 bean soup mix, some fresh kale and herbs from the garden and tossed all vegetables in a huge bowl with some spices and lemon juice.
Lunch was a delicious hearty 13 bean and vegetable soup. Perfect for a fall day.
Hope you are off to good fall season!
Each visit to Whole Foods I look for new ingredients to bring back to try. Beans and grains are always foremost on my mind. Being vegetarian I tend to get my protein from dairy and beans. I have never worked with fava beans, raw or dried. Period. In my mind, what I planned for it was some sort of stew possibly Morrocan. With that in mind I picked some fresh mint (unfortunately my mint perished as I was out of town for 4 weeks :-(). Fortunately kale, basil and parsley have revived since I started watering them again. So here’s what I did with my fava beans.
1/4 cup fava beans
1/4 cup adzuki beans
1/4 cup lentils
2-3 garlic cloves
salt to taste
Soak the beans overnight in some water. I usually like to cook my beans in a pressure cooker first. This expedites the cooking of the stew in the next step. In a large dish add the chopped vegetables and leafy greens, top with cooked beans and 4-6 cups of water and spices. Bring to a boil, lower the flame and cook for an hour or two until the flavors are infused and everything is cooked.
Top with sour cream when serving.