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Bitter gourd fry(Sri Lankan karawila sambol)

This bitter gourd(bitter melon)recipe is one of a kind unique vegetable salad you have to try.

Many home cooks or someone learning to cook are reluctant to prepare bitter gourd because of the bitterness of the vegetable.

But you can actually get rid of the bitterness and make a Sri Lankan vegan/vegetarian dish that complements your rice & curry bowl by providing a perfect balance of crisp & crunch. 

Different names of bitter gourd.

Bitter gourd is also known as bitter melon, bitter squash, balsam pear, karela and goya.

 

bitter gourd fry salad.

 

 

A bitter vegetable that is good for you.

It’s one of the most bitter vegetables out there and unless you know how to prepare the bitter gourd by remove the bitterness of the vegetable, you will no be able to take a single bite(even a micro bite, no amount of milk or sweet is going to get that taste off your tongue!).

But despite having a god awful bitter taste(I kid you not), this vegetable is packed with several key nutrients and is a superfood you have to add to your meals.

Considered a staple in many types of Asian cuisine, including Sri Lankan and India. bitter gourd or as we call it karawila done right is a unique dish you have to try.

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how to make bitter gourd/bitter melon salad without the bitterness. vegan, vegetarian and good for diabetic patients.
Different ways to prepare bitter gourd.

You could consume this raw or slightly boiling it after following the steps to remove the bitterness and then mixing it with the other ingredients as per the recipe given below.

This form of preparing bitter melon is mostly preferred by diabetics as it is a quick way to reduce the level of blood sugar.

The fried version which we are using for this bitter melon recipe is preferable as it gives that added crisp to the sambol and even the little ones wouldn’t mind having it.

This can also be cooked as a curry by adding spices and coconut milk, although the bitterness would still be a tad bit present in this form too.

These are merely a few options for you to try out considering the benefits of this vegetable.

Sri lankan bitter gourd salad(karawila sambol).
Beginner’s tips on making bitter gourd(bitter melon)salad.
  • When buying bitter gourd, make sure you buy the vegetable that is green in color, the color that you might refer to as “not mature or ripe enough to cook”.
  • Avoid bitter gourd that has any yellow or orange tinge. It should be firm to the touch and not have any blemishes.
  • Storage life can be extended to almost a week if you refrigerate but I would recommend preparing the bitter gourd within 3 days.
  • Follow the recipe instruction given below and make sure to soak the sliced bitter gourd as per the given timing.
  • The bitter gourd is de-seeded as it is the mid-region that contains the seed which is mostly bitter. It can be done as described below or a much easier way is to slit it in half and scoop out the mid-region.This way, you’ll end up getting semi-circles once it is sliced. I have opted for the latter for the dish to look more presentable.
  • Salt and lime juice are the two best basic ingredients that make this bitter gourd salad really tasty, use them wisely and even the kids would give the bitter gourd salad a try.
  • Frying the bitter gourd slices in the correct oil temperature and not over frying it on high heat until they turn really dark in color is a key step in this recipe so please pay attention to the frying process.

Where to buy bitter melon.

You can find the vegetable in most Asian, Indian and Sri Lankan stores.

Here in Sri Lanka if you drop by at your nearest Super Market you’ll find all of the required ingredients for this recipe packed in a manner where you are required to only assemble it.

Utensils and appliances

Chopping board/knife.

Large bowl or plate to mix in the ingredients.

Frying pan

Kitchen Towels

More vegan/vegetarian salads!

Sri Lankan gotukola(pennywort)salad.

Fried eggplant/brinjal salad

Green mung dhal-coconut salad.

Spicy tomatoes, onions and green chilli salad.

Storage- avoid storing fried bitter gourd, it’s best consumed on the same day.

Reheat-avoid reheating

Freezing- avoid freezing.

Stop food waste – the bitter gourd salad is best when prepared and consumed on the same day.

Try to make the salad as per your family need which means not in large quantity unless you are sure to have a few bitter gourd lovers in the family to finish it up.

RECIPE DIFFICULTY -EASY

 

How to make bitter gourd fry.

Please make sure to read the recipe instructions carefully to avoid mistakes.

Ingredients

Ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.

2  medium-sized green bitter gourds (approximately 250-300g)

Water as needed

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

oil to fry the bitter gourd slices(about 1 and 1/2 cup)

1 medium-sized onion sliced finely(large if you prefer more onions)

1 medium-sized tomato sliced 

1-2 Green chilli sliced fine into thin rings

1/2 teaspoon of red chilli flakes

1 lime 

Salt to taste 

Method

Assemble all the ingredients needed to make the fried sambol.

picture of bitter gourd/bitter melons.

Slice the bitter gourds (250g -300g) into circles of about 5cm in thickness.

sliced bitter gourd

Gently insert your thumb through the center of the rings to remove the seeds.

removing the seeds of the bitter gourd.

Immerse them in a bowl filled with water and salt(1 teaspoon)and let it rest for 30-45 minutes.

soaking the bitter melons to remove the bitterness,

While the slices soak, have all the other ingredients needed for the salad ready by slicing the onions (1 medium-sized), tomatoes (1 medium-sized) and green chilli (1-2). 

30-45 minutes later, drain the water from the bitter melon slices, gently squeeze and remove out any excess water and place them in a bowl.

draining the bitter melons to fry them.

Mix the bitter gourd slices with salt(1/4 tsp, just enough to season)and turmeric(a pinch).

How to fry the bitter gourd.

Have a plate or platter with kitchen paper towels ready to hold the fried bitter melon slices.

Pour the oil into a deep frying pan and heat the oil.

It’s important to maintain a level of heat that will fry the bitter gourd evenly and not too quickly. Please make sure the rings are well drained prior to frying to avoid oil splatters.

Fry the slices until the inner ring of the bitter gourd turns golden brown and the outer ridged part of the slices still have a very slight tinge of green(probably between 7-10 minutes).

As they fry move them about with a flat frying spoon and avoid frying the slice to a dark brown as this will, in turn, make them bitter again.

Transfer the fried slice to the paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Add all the ingredients into large bowl or platter, include the chilli flakes, combine and then season with salt and lime.

Make sure to taste and add more lime juice(gradually) to balance the taste of the salad.

mixing all the ingredients to make the bitter gourd fry.
Yield: 4

Bitter gourd fry(Sri Lankan karawila sambol)

Bitter gourd fry(Sri Lankan karawila sambol)

This bitter gourd(bitter melon)recipe is one of a kind unique vegetable salad you have to try.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Ingredients mentioned below use standard measuring cups and spoons.

  • 2  medium-sized green bitter gourds (approximately 250-300g)
  • Water as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • oil to fry the bitter gourd slices(about 1 and 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium-sized onion sliced finely(large if you prefer more onions)
  • 1 medium-sized tomato sliced 
  • 1-2 Green chilli sliced fine into thin rings
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chilli flakes
  • 1 lime 
  • Salt to taste 

Instructions

    1. Assemble all the ingredients needed to make the fried sambol.
    2. Slice the bitter gourds (250g -300g) into circles of about 5cm in thickness.
    3. Gently insert your thumb through the center of the rings to remove the seeds.
    4. Immerse them in a bowl filled with water and salt(1 teaspoon)and let it rest for 30-45 minutes.
    5. While the slices soak, have all the other ingredients needed for the salad ready by slicing the onions (1 medium-sized), tomatoes (1 medium-sized) and green chilli (1-2). 
    6. 30-45 minutes later, drain the water from the bitter melon slices, gently squeeze and remove out any excess water place them in a bowl.
    7. Mix the bitter gourd slices with salt(1/4 tsp, just enough to season)and turmeric(a pinch).

    HOW TO FRY THE BITTER GOURD.

    1. Have a plate or platter with kitchen paper towels ready to hold the fried bitter melon slices.
    2. Pour the oil into a deep frying pan and heat the oil.
    3. It’s important to maintain a level of heat that will fry the bitter gourd evenly and not too quickly. Please make sure the rings are well drained prior to frying and to avoid oil splatters.
    4. Fry the slices until the inner ring of the bitter gourd turns golden brown and the outer ridged part of the slices still have a very slight tinge of green(probably between 7-10 minutes).
    5. As they fry move them about with a flat frying spoon and avoid frying the slice to a dark brown as this will, in turn, make them bitter again.
    6. Transfer the fried slice to the paper towels to remove any excess oil.
    7. Add all the ingredients into large bowl or platter, include the chilli flakes, combine and then season with salt and lime.
    8. Make sure to taste and add more lime juice(gradually) to balance the taste of the salad.

    HAVE YOU MADE THIS RECIPE?

    Please don’t forget to RATE THE RECIPE on the recipe card so other readers find it helpful and show me your recipe by tagging me #islandsmile178 on Instagram.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 440Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 1205mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 20g

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Chris

Friday 15th of January 2021

Very clear and precise instructions on both the kind and quantum of ingredients to be used and methods of preparation.Most appreciated

jehan

Saturday 16th of January 2021

Hi Chris, Thank you, glad the detailed recipe is helping you. And you are most welcome.

Nisha Pereira

Thursday 30th of April 2020

Tried the receipe. I like your level of detail, it makes the receipe very easy to follow. The salad is tasty and healthy. Definitely a keeper.

jehan

Friday 1st of May 2020

Hi, Nisha Thank you. happy the recipe worked out for you.

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