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**Bitter Gourd Chilli Powder**

**Preparation Time:** 20 minutes 

**Cooking Time:** 30 minutes 

**Total Time:** 50 minutes 

**Servings:** Approximately 1 cup of bitter gourd chilli powder

**Introduction:**

Bitter gourd chilli powder is a flavorful South Indian condiment that combines the bitterness of bitter gourd with the nuttiness of peanuts and aromatic spices. It's a versatile powder that adds a punch of flavor to rice dishes, idlis, and dosas.

**Importance of Ingredients:**

- **Bitter Gourd:** Known for its bitter taste, bitter gourd is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It's especially valued in traditional medicine for its health benefits.

- **Peanuts (Groundnuts):** Provide a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. They are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and various nutrients.

- **Spices (Coriander seeds, Sesame seeds, Cumin seeds, Red Chillies):** Add depth and aroma to the powder. They bring their own set of health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties and digestive benefits.

- **Curry Leaves:** Impart a distinct flavor and are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

- **Tamarind:** Adds tanginess to the powder. Tamarind is known for its sour taste and is used in many cuisines for its flavor and digestive properties.

- **Garlic:** Enhances the overall flavor profile and has numerous health benefits, including boosting the immune system.

- **Salt:** Enhances flavors and balances the bitterness of bitter gourd.

**Occasions and Who Can Enjoy It:**

Bitter gourd chilli powder is typically enjoyed during everyday meals in South Indian households. It can be served during festivals, gatherings, or as a special treat for spice lovers. It's suitable for vegetarians and can be customized in terms of spiciness.

**Benefits and Uses:**

This recipe not only satisfies the taste buds but also offers several health benefits:

- **Rich in Nutrients:** Provides essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.

- **Aids Digestion:** Ingredients like tamarind and spices aid in digestion and help alleviate digestive issues.

- **Antioxidant Properties:** Bitter gourd and curry leaves are rich in antioxidants that help combat free radicals in the body.

- **Flavor Enhancer:** Adds a spicy and tangy kick to various dishes, enhancing their overall taste.

**Ingredients:**

  • Bitter Gourd - 200g (about 2 medium-sized gourds)
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Groundnuts (Peanuts) - 100g
  • Curry Leaves - a handful
  • Chana Dal (Bengal Gram) - 50g
  • Coriander Seeds - 50g
  • Sesame Seeds - 30g
  • Cumin Seeds (Jeera) - 10g
  • Red Chillies - 10-15 (adjust according to spice preference) or Red Chilli Powder - 3-4 tablespoons
  • Garlic - 1 whole bulb
  • Tamarind - 20g (size of a lemon)
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon of rock salt or 2 teaspoons of regular salt

**Cooking Instructions:**

1. **Preparation:**

  • Wash the bitter gourd thoroughly and slice it into round pieces. Remove any large seeds if necessary.
  • Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Deep fry the bitter gourd slices in batches until they are crispy and golden brown. Drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil and set aside.

2. **Frying Ingredients:**

  • In the same oil used for frying bitter gourd, fry the groundnuts until they are lightly browned and crisp. Remove and set aside.
  • Fry the curry leaves until they turn crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • In a dry pan, roast the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and chana dal separately until they become fragrant and slightly browned. Be careful not to burn them. Remove each ingredient as it gets roasted and let them cool to room temperature.

3. **Preparing the Spice Mix:**

  • Once all the fried and roasted ingredients have cooled down, transfer them to a food processor or a mixer grinder.
  • Add the fried bitter gourd slices, fried groundnuts, fried curry leaves, garlic cloves (peeled), tamarind, red chillies or red chilli powder, and salt.

4. **Grinding:**

  • Grind all the ingredients together to a coarse or fine powder, depending on your preference. The mixture will initially be quite thick due to the oils released from the nuts and seeds.
  • Taste the mixture and adjust salt or chilli powder if needed according to your taste preferences.

5. **Final Mixing:**

  • Once ground to the desired consistency, transfer the bitter gourd chilli powder into a clean, dry container.
  • Add the remaining fried groundnuts and fried curry leaves to the mixture and mix well. This adds texture and enhances the flavor.

6. **Storage and Serving:**

  • Store the bitter gourd chilli powder in an airtight container once it has cooled completely.
  • Serve this delicious powder with hot rice and a dollop of ghee for a traditional South Indian meal. It can also be served with idlis or dosas for a spicy kick.

Tips:

  • Ensure the bitter gourd slices are crispy before grinding them to avoid any moisture in the spice mix.
  • Adjust the number of red chillies or chilli powder according to your spice tolerance.
  • This bitter gourd chilli powder can be stored in a cool, dry place for several weeks. The flavors tend to meld and develop over time, making it tastier after a few days.

Enjoy your homemade bitter gourd chilli powder with its unique blend of flavors and textures!

**Health Benefits and Uses:**

  • **Digestive Aid:** Tamarind and spices aid digestion and provide relief from digestive issues.
  • **Antioxidant Rich:** Bitter gourd and curry leaves are rich in antioxidants, helping to boost immunity and fight free radicals.
  • **Nutrient Dense:** Provides essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and iron from ingredients like bitter gourd and peanuts.
  • **Flavor Enhancer:** Adds a spicy and tangy flavor to dishes, making it a versatile condiment.

**Cooking Tips and Variations:**

  • **Adjust Spice Level:** Increase or decrease the number of red chillies or red chilli powder according to your spice tolerance.
  • **Texture Preference:** Grind the mixture coarsely for a crunchy texture or finely for a smoother consistency.
  • **Storage:** Keep the bitter gourd chilli powder in a cool, dry place to maintain its freshness. Use a clean, dry spoon for serving to prevent moisture from entering the container.

**Nutritional Information (per serving, approximately 1 tablespoon):**

  • Calories: 50 kcal
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sodium: 50mg

**Presentation and Servings:**

  • Serve bitter gourd chilli powder in small bowls or jars, garnished with a few curry leaves for presentation.
  • - Each serving is approximately 1 tablespoon, which is enough to flavor a bowl of rice or several idlis.

Enjoy this homemade bitter gourd chilli powder for its unique blend of flavors and health benefits!

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