Updated: Jun 18
Bitter gourd (Melon) stew - A South Indian Delight for Diabetes!
This is called Paavakai pitlai in Tamil Nadu, one of the South Indian states where I am from. It is a blend of dals and bitter melon cut into junks with spices added to increase digestion and improve flavor. Bitter gourd is as its name says, bitter in taste but it is also astringent which are two tastes suitable for detoxing. It is also rich in fiber.Its fruit has a distinguishing bitter taste, which is more pronounced as it ripens, hence the name bitter melon or bitter gourd. It is also known as karela (North India), Paavakai (tamil) and balsam pear and is grown in Asia, South America, India, Carribean and East Africa and commonly used as an Anti-diabetic. People also make a juice out of it and drink it in the morning to control blood sugar.
(Ref: Antidiabetic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) and its medicinal potency https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4027280/)
According to Ayruveda, it is bitter and astringent in taste, which makes it light and helps to remove toxins. It is very good for Kapha and Pitta body types but taken in large quantities may cause bloating in Vatas. However when spices are added especially asafoetida, it helps with gas and bloating. Since it is bitter in taste, it is an acquired taste. However this recipe makes it very tasty. This recipe has all 6 tastes in one dish, sweet and astringent from the dal, bitter from the vegetable, salt, sour from tamarind and pungent from the spices. This dish was made using the Chinese variety of bitter melon which has a smooth skin. The Indian variety has a more ridge exterior and a lot more bitter. So people commonly add a tsp of jaggery to balance the bitter taste. That is an option for those who find this too bitter. Enjoy and make your own variations by adding other veggies like carrots or squash. #Ayurveda #bittermelon #nutrition #healthyrecipe #recipe #bitter #detox