Cheese and crackers or a plate of charcutrie won't do it here, and even a nice chevre or Vella Tome doesn't exactly match with a South Indian feast. Of course there are a variety of Indian snack foods that can be prepared, and depending on how many other things I've got going stove-wise, there is always the possibility of poppadoms, or bite size samosas, or a chaat. There are times however that I just long to open a bag of chips, crack some nice Indian beer and send everyone into another room. Popping a can of Pringles at this point, or dragging out the lime corn chips or the salt and vinegar potato chips is a culinary hanging offense with a delicately balanced Indian meal. Not to mention that this stuff can actually be bad for you. Surely you jest?! No. I don't. Just yesterday there was study from the New England Journal of Medicine that laid the blame for most weight gain on you guessed it..chips !
I am hereby appointing myself the Bitter Melon Queen since no one else seems to be doing the job. Dude, I gotta crown and everything!
National Bitter Melon Council, trying to join without any results, and I'm starting to think it's a joke site. Either way I'm falling in love with this vegetable. I want everyone else to experiment and share the love. What I discovered once I started preparing bitter melon all by their lonesome, as opposed to just a bit player in vegetable stews, is that as an appetizer, they rock! Plus, did I say they're good for you? That too, which never hurts.
Bitter melon can be found at most Asian or Indian markets and while there are many varieties, it generally looks like this, or like this.
Lord Krishna's Cuisine by Yamuna Devi. I whipped up a batch for my dinner party last week, and they were a huge hit even with people who had never had bitter melon before. They have all the flavor of a spicy chip with just 4 Tbs of oil, far better than the deep frying involved in most chips. Plus they cook fast!
Bitter Melon Chips
Here's what to do:
Wash 2 large or 4 small sized bitter melon and cut them into thin slices. Remove any seeds.
After the melon has been pressed, rinse the slices off in cold running water.
Stir fry them (turn them once) until they start to crisp and brown, about 10 minutes or so. Take the pan off the heat add in:
1/4 tsp of turmeric
1/4 cup grated dried or fresh coconut
1/2 Tbs of lemon or lime juice
Mix all of the spices together with the bitter melon slices.
Sprinkle with a 1/4 tsp of sea salt or any good quality salt and serve them up with beer or any soft drink,
So if you're looking for a healthy alternative to the same old, same old chips and dip, try this. And if you can't believe that something this guilt-inducing can actually be good for you, check this out!
Coming up next, a Summer Sunday lunch goes Goan with Goat Vindaloo and all the fixings, and a new way (yes another) with zucchini.