Bitter gourd is a vegetable largely found in tropical climates resembling a bit like a bumpy cucumber. It can be otherwise known as bitter melon or bitter squash, and yes the clue is in the name it is oh so bitter and it doesn’t look that appealing either! However despite that it has wonderful health benefits and cooked in the right way can be enjoyable! It seems that it is bitter guard season here in Kampala, where they can be found at the vegetable stall outside Jazz supermarket and at Prunes organic market each Saturday morning, so bring on the gourd I say and here is why –
- Low in calories and high in water content
- Lowers blood sugar levels and helps with type 2 diabetes
- Is an excellent source of folates (B12, important for vegans)
- Is a great tonic for the liver and kidney
- Helps to improve skin and fight infection
- Helps with weight loss
- Aids digestion and helps relieve constipation
- It is filled with essential vitamins and minerals Vit A, B1, B2, C, calcium, potassium, zinc, copper and phosphorus.
- Helps relieve colds, coughs, and asthma
- Helps fight infections and builds on the immune system
- Helps to reduce toxins within the system
Although it is very healthy it should though be consumed mindfully and only in small quantities (max 2 gourds per day) so as not to bring imbalance to the other elements such as air and space within you, or to aggravate Vata dosha. Here is how I cook mine –
- Choose gourds that are fresh, bright and deep green
- Wash well in suitable water
- Slice down the middle length ways and remove all the seeds with a teaspoon and cut to the desired shape
- Heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in the pan
- Add a little coriander, ginger, sesame, parsley, cumin and a little pepper
- Add the gourd and whatever other vegetables you wish, I normally add other greens such as spinach or green beans
- Sauté for a few minutes then add some water to create some steam and cook until the desired amount
- Serve with rice cooked with turmeric and possibly raisins for a little sweetness to override the bitterness of the gourd.
Enjoy your food you eat and chew well taking in the flavor and easing digestion. Eat to live, not live to eat!
Wishing you great success with your gourds, and not a bitter God as a beautiful soul said to me the other day!
May you all be well, happy and at peace
Om Namah Sivaya
Mangala / nicky.