Bitter Melons are both a loved and hated vegetable in most countries, yet their healing powers cannot be denied. Even if you’re not a fan of bitter melon, you may change your mind after trying this dish of bitter melon and gram lentils.
If you’re looking for a healthy and nutritious vegan recipe that’s also flavorful and delicious, then look no further than bitter melon and gram lentils.
Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, is a vegetable that is commonly used in Asian and African cuisine. It has a unique, bitter taste that pairs well with the nutty flavor of gram lentils. This vegan recipe is easy to make and can be enjoyed as a side dish or a main course.
This vegan bitter melon and gram lentils recipe is packed with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. It’s a flavorful and nutritious dish that’s perfect for anyone looking for a healthy and delicious meal option.
What is Karela (Bitter Gourd/ Bitter Melon)?
Bitter melon, also called bitter gourd or karela, is a tropical vine that is related to the gourd family. It is closely linked to squash, pumpkin, zucchini, and cucumber. The edible fruit of this plant, which is grown all over the world and is a common ingredient in many Asian cuisines, is what makes it so popular.
Typically lengthy, light green, and covered in bumps that resemble warts. The Indian version, on the other hand, is thinner and more pointed at both ends, and its rind is covered in rough, jagged spikes.
Bitter melon has a distinct flavor and appearance in addition to being known for its great health properties.
Why You Will Love This Bitter Melon And Gram Lentils Recipe?
- It is a simple, easy-to-prepare, one-pot meal with pantry staples, spices, and veggies that nourishes the body and tastes delicious.
- This quick sabzi recipe is loaded with protein and is vegan. The abundant plant-based protein in this bitter gourd makes it a satisfying meal that won’t leave you hungry for long.
- The spices blend used provides a pleasantly warming dish that will please everyone’s taste buds.
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE DETAILED RECIPE, BUT I REQUEST YOU DON’T SKIP READING THE INFORMATION INCLUDED IN THE BLURB.
Health Benefits Of Bitter Gourd
- It is high in a variety of essential elements such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, folate, zinc, and iron. Among all of these minerals, bitter gourd is particularly high in vitamin C, a vital micronutrient involved in bone development, wound healing, and disease prevention.
- It might lower blood sugar levels. Indigenous people all over the world have used bitter melon for a long time to treat diabetes-related illnesses because it is a powerful medicine. Recent studies have confirmed the fruit’s function in blood sugar regulation.
- It may have anti-cancer effects. According to research, bitter melon has several substances that have the ability to fight cancer.
- It may lower cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels lead to fatty plaque accumulating in your arteries, making it more difficult for your heart to pump blood and raising your risk of developing heart disease. The bitter melon may lower cholesterol levels to enhance general heart health, according to several animal studies.
- It may help with weight loss. Because it is low in calories but high in fiber, bitter melon is a great complement to a diet that aims to lose weight. Each serving of one cup (94 grams) has about 2 grams of fiber. Fiber helps you feel satisfied for a longer period of time and suppresses your hunger by moving through your digestive system extremely slowly.
Health Benefits of Gram Lentil (Dal Chana)
Gram lentil is a very nutritious lentil that is also readily available. It is a great source of numerous minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Gram lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, and iron. They’re also high in folate and potassium—both important for healthy pregnancies!
If you incorporate it into your diet, you’ll get the following potential health advantages:
- It will fulfill vegans’ protein needs, as it is an excellent plant protein source.
- It helps to provide instant energy.
- Gram lentil is high in fiber. A daily fiber intake helps your digestive system move waste out while also preventing constipation.
- If you’re trying to lose weight or manage your weight, it’s a fantastic option for you. It prolongs your feeling of fullness and thereby controls your appetite.
- It benefits diabetics by improving insulin responsiveness and maintaining pH levels.
- Gram lentils also lower blood pressure. So if you are prone to having high blood pressure, consume it.
- You make a heart-healthier decision when you choose lentils over red or processed meat.
- Yellow lentil is also antioxidant-rich, so it prevents inflammation and maintains the health of the organ.
- For the eyes, skin, bones, teeth, and heart, chana dal is regarded as a superfood.
Ingredients I Used
- Bitter melon: The best bitter melon to use for this recipe is young and fresh.
- Gram lentils: I used Gram lentils to make this bitter gourd dish.
- Onion: The flavor of onion is slightly sweet but savory. Feel free to substitute white, yellow, and red onions for the recipe.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes give color to the dish. They also bring in a tangy taste to the dish.
- Cumin seeds: The addition of cumin seeds adds a touch of warmth and earthiness to this dish.
- Turmeric powder: Most recipes include a small amount of it for color and health reasons.
- Coriander powder: It is dried coriander seeds in powdered form. It is available in an Indian grocery store’s spice section.
- Red chili powder: The heat of chili can vary significantly depending on the kind and age of the chili.
- Olive oil: I have used olive oil for this recipe. It is loaded with healthy fats and is a perfect choice. In place of olive oil, use melted vegan butter. It’s really delectable!
- Salt: I use sea salt but any natural salt is great
- Cilantro: for garnish
- Rinse the soaked gram lentils and cook them in a pot with 3 cups of water until they are tender. Drain any excess water and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the sliced bitter melon and fry until golden.
- Take the fried bitter melons out of the pan, and add sliced onions in the same pan sauté sliced onions until translucent.
- Add the sliced tomatoes and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, and red chili powder to the pan and stir to coat the masala evenly.
- Add the cooked gram lentils to the pan and mix well. Season with salt to taste.
- Cover the pan and let the mixture cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Now add the fried bitter melon slices and give it a good mix, cover and cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.
Serve with warm gluten-free naan or any other type of bread, such as Gram Flour flatbread, Gluten-Free breadsticks, Bread In Air Fryer, or Gluten-Free Flatbread.
Tips To Tame Bitterness Of Bitter Melon
Sometimes, karela might taste unpleasant because it is too bitter. There are several things you can do, then, to at least slightly reduce the bitterness.
- Karela should be cut into pieces and heavily salted. Rub the salt into the skin and allow it to settle for at least thirty minutes.
- To remove as much salt as feasible, wash it thoroughly.
- Fry the karela in some raw rapeseed oil or mustard oil. The flavor of these oils is potent, and it balances and softens the karella’s acrid flavor.
- Any food you like can be enhanced with karella. It goes very well with minced meat, onion, and chana daal.
- Don’t forget to pre-treat karela before preparing it.
- For cooking, use karelas that appear fresh and green.
- If you want your sabzi to be less spicy, you can use reduced chili powder.
- If the sabzi starts to get too dry, you may always add a little water. It will be less likely to stick to the bottom as a result of this.
- To get the onions caramelized, they must be cooked slowly. This imparts a wonderful sweetness to the karela sabzi.
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Store Leftovers?
This recipe makes enough food for about 6–8 people. You could make two batches and freeze the extras for up to 2 months in an airtight container.
How To Reheat Leftovers?
Let frozen leftovers defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat them in a skillet over medium heat with a splash of milk or water. Heat until thoroughly warmed.
Can You Make This With A Different Type Of Lentil?
Neither green or other lentils have been tried in this bitter melon recipe, but I imagine they would work just fine. But the cooking process will take much longer, and the food will have a different texture.
That’s it. You should immediately think about including this recipe in your food plan. If you like and love this dish, please leave a comment and share your thoughts. Enjoy life’s pleasures!
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- Energy: 249 kcal / 1041 kJ
- Fat: 4.4 g
- Protein: 14.9 g
- Carbs: 39.7 g
- Preparation: 10 min
- Cooking: 20 min
- Ready in: 30 min
- For: 4 servings
- 2 bitter melons, sliced into thin pieces
- 1 cup of gram lentils, boiled
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon of red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Cilantro, for garnish
- Rinse the bitter melon slices in cold water and sprinkle with a little salt. Let them sit for about 10-15 minutes. Then rinse again and pat dry. This process helps reduce the bitterness.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and stir until they start to pop.
- Add the sliced onion to the pan, sauté until it turns golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add the bitter melon slices to the pan, and stir-fry them until they become slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
- Next, add the sliced tomatoes, turmeric, coriander, and chili powder. Mix well to ensure the spices evenly coat the vegetables.
- Cover the pan and let it cook for around 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes become soft.
- Add the boiled gram lentils to the pan. Season with salt and mix well. Let it cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
- Once everything is well combined and heated through, remove the pan from the heat.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.