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‘Cheese’ & Onion Bittergourd and Kale Crisps (Gluten-Free|Vegan|Low-Carb)

I love kale but until recently, bittergourd has been near the top of my hate list of vegetables. HOW could anyone with normal tastebuds enjoy it? This is a recipe to start initiating yourself into the world of bittergourd! It's actually yummy and moreish.

I love kale but bittergourd / bittermelon / bittersquash / Balsam-pear / Karela / Goya – call it what you will, my reaction to it would have been the same until very recently. EURGH!!! It’s just so erm, intensely bitter? HOW could anyone with normal tastebuds enjoy it?

This is a recipe to start initiating yourself into the world of bittergourd! It’s actually yummy and moreish.

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I don’t know how else to start this post but to say that until I started preparing bittergourd this way, it has been nearly (but not quite at) the top of my hate list of vegetables (or is it a fruit?) . Either way it’s something that until very recently my tastebuds detested.

Being Bengali this is shameful as it’s a staple vegetable in many dishes including my boyfriends beloved “Shukto” or Bengali style mixed vegetable. Bengali’s love exciting the tastebuds, and this mighty vegetable definitely does. I unfortunately cannot make a “Shukto” yet (but I shall soon!).

Amongst other nutritious elements, bittergourd is a high potassium vegetable, which is something that on the keto diet, I’ve been struggling with and have been searching for ways to incorporate it into my every day diet. If it wasn’t already obvious enough, I’m a bittergourd hater, but this simple recipe my friends, I simply cannot get enough of!

Although it’s commonly seen in Asian households, it’s highly underrated in the western world but it’s increasingly available in supermarkets (and readily available in the Asian / Indian markets). 

Bittergourd: Reasons why I can’t get enough of it now

  1. I’m older and wiser! I know that it’s good for me. Like kale, bittergourd is a nutritious powerhouse
  2. The green colour! And how it changes into a brighter green when you season raw bittergourd with salt. It’s magic :-).
  3. It looks weird and dangerous, like a massive green club.
  4. It can be delicious and moorish, when done right (like this recipe)!
  5. These crisps keep well for a few days in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

I’m not listing any quantities for the dressing below because I believe it’s entirely up to your tastebuds and personal preferences as to how flavoursome you’d like your crisps to be! Quantities for the vegetables are also up to you, the 1-2 cups are just a guideline.

  • 1-2 cups sliced bittergourd: Washed, dried and sliced thin.
  • 1-2 cups Kale: Washed, dried and torn into larger than bite-sized pieces (they will shrink when baked).
  • Olive oil (or any other oil of choice). I personally like to use a garlic olive oil.
  • Nutritional Yeast (This is where the ‘cheese-ey’ flavour comes from. There isn’t any actual cheese in this recipe.)
  • Onion Powder.
  • Himalayan Salt / Sea Salt.
  • Cayenne Pepper.
  • Turmeric: Optional

Method

Bittergourd chips:

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  1. Heat the oil in a suitable pan. You will you need enough oil to fry the bittergourd until they’re crispy.
  2. Slice the bittergourd into thin round slices and wash thoroughly.
  3. Sprinkle salt onto the bittergourd and  massage into it well. Leave for 10 minutes.
  4. Shallow fry the bittergourd in the oil until they’re darker and crispy but watch closely to make sure they don’t burn. The seeds should be crispy. (You could also try baking them, but we haven’t attempted this before).
  5. Once fried, dress the bittergourd with nutritional yeast, onion powder, himalayan salt and cayenne pepper according to your macros and taste.Tip: The bittergourd crisps keeps well in the fridge for a few days so you can make a large batch of this and snack on it (if it lasts)! It’s good cold, room temperature, or can be reheated in the oven or dry-toasted in a pan on the stove top.

Kale chips:

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  1. Wash and dry the kale well.
  2. Pre-heat an oven to 150-160C (it depends on your oven but I find that a lower temperature works better).
  3. Massage the kale with olive oil, nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt and cayenne pepper according to your macros and taste. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  4. Bake your kale chips in the oven for about 12-15 mins, and then give them a toss, then bake them again for another 10-12 mins (or until crispy but not burnt).

I don’t think kale crisps keep as well as bittergourd crisps, so eat the same day if possible.

Eat separately or mix BOTH the bittergourd and kale crisps up for the best of both worlds and enjoy getting your greens and nutrition in!

 

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