I went to the local Indian Market today and walked through the aisles. At first, reviewing the health and cosmetic products, smelling the many soaps, examining the facial cleansers, skin oils, essences and creams. Many had camphor, eucalyptus, neem, citrus and lavender. Then I continued past all the freezer goods and on the way noticing huge tubs of yoghurt. Very tempting, but way too much for me to eat. Does everyone go crazy for low-fat yoghurt?
This looks delightful. Seems like a lot of work and quite a bit of oil ~ Karela Fry (bitter melon)
With the bouncy Bollywood music playing, all the sites of India came alive. Shelves lined with bags of grains, spice packs, on-sale jars of mixed after dinner seeds, some with mango bits and sugar coating, sesame candies and jars filled with tamarind paste. Tons and tons of flours, flat breads, foreign products that I'd never tasted.
The multitude of chips, but you know I read all the labels and wouldn't be trying any hydrogenated oils. The gold mine were the fresh vegetables in the back and the individual prepackages of kosher parve and dairy lentils, beans and sauces ready to serve.
What Did The Woman Tell Me?
I asked, "What is this green thing?" "Oh, you won't want to eat that," she told me, "it's much too bitter for you. I make chutney with onions, turmeric, garlic and mango. You should try slicing them and deep frying."
Although, I don't deep fry, saute would do and a little daring to try something new, it went into my cart, along with a nice round juicy watermelon, fresh turmeric, coconut, zucchini and some freshly washed white potatoes.
Please be creative and send along a recipe or two.
I'm thinking of just cooking the white potatoes to go with the rest. Would you add the coconut to the dish or just use the milk to make a sauce?
Do you have a recipe to share using bitter melon?
Bitter melon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and is related to honeydew and Persian melon, cantaloupe, muskmelon and casaba. Bitter melon is a vegetable cultivated and eaten in many parts of the world, including India, Asia, Africa and South America.
Bitter melon grows on a vine with green leaves and yellow flowers. The fruit has a bumpy exterior, resembling a cucumber, and the interior is yellow-orange. There are many varieties of bitter melon, ranging in color from creamy white, golden, pale green to very dark green. Green melons are the ones most often seen in the United States. Some varieties are only a few inches long with very pronounced bumps; others are much larger with smoother, less-defined bumps.
The fruit and seeds of bitter melon are thought to be useful for diabetes.
Some Ingredients May Lower Blood Glucose
Bitter melon contains several chemical ingredients, including the glycosides momordin and charantin. Polypeptide P, charantin and vicine are the specific components thought to have blood glucose-lowering effects.
Other possible mechanisms in diabetes include increased tissue glucose uptake, liver and muscle glycogen synthesis, inhibition of enzymes involved in glucose production and enhanced glucose oxidation.
Cautions About Bitter Melon
Bitter melon should be used with caution by young women of childbearing age since it may induce menstruation and inadvertently cause abortion if the woman is pregnant.
There is no information about its use in lactating women, so it should be avoided.
Children should not use bitter melon because serious adverse effects have occurred, including hypoglycemic coma.
There is no traditional dose of bitter melon since different forms are in use, including juice, powder, vegetable pulp suspensions and injectable forms.
Few studies have evaluated using bitter melon in the treatment of diabetes.
The largest study, published in a 1999 issue of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council Bulletin, used an aqueous suspension of bitter melon vegetable pulp in 100 patients with type 2. The authors evaluated the effect at one hour after bitter melon was administered and then two hours after a 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test.
The average blood glucose was 222 mg/dl, which was lower than the previous day’s two-hour value of 257 mg/dl.
In another study, published in a 1981 issue of the Journal of Natural Products, bitter melon was prepared as an injectable “plant insulin” and injected into five patients with type 1 and six patients with type 2. There was a control group of six patients 6 with type 1 and two patients with type 2 who did not receive any bitter melon.
In type 1s, average glucose decreased from 304 to 169 mg/dl four hours after injection; this effect was maintained at six and eight hours after injection.
In the type 2 patients, there was no significant decline in blood glucose from baseline.
Side Effects of Bitter Melon
The major side effect of bitter melon is gastrointestinal discomfort.
A syndrome called favism, or hemolytic anemia, has occurred in people taking bitter melon. It is characterized by headache, fever, abdominal pain and coma. The red coating around the seeds have been reported to cause vomiting, diarrhea and death in one child.
When bitter melon is combined with sulfonylureas, hypoglycemia can occur.
An estimated 285 million people, corresponding to 6.4% of the world's adult population, will live with diabetes in 2010. The number is expected to grow to 438 million by 2030, corresponding to 7.8% of the adult population.
70% of the current cases of diabetes occur in low- and middle income countries. With an estimated 50.8 million people living with diabetes, India has the world's largest diabetes population, followed by China with 43.2 million.
The largest age group currently affected by diabetes is between 40-59 years. By 2030 this “record” is expected to move to the 60-79 age group with some 196 million cases.
Diabetes is one of the major causes of premature illness and death worldwide. Non-communicable diseases including diabetes account for 60% of all deaths worldwide.
Type 2 diabetes can remain undetected for many years and the diagnosis is often made from associated complications or incidentally through an abnormal blood or urine glucose test.
Undiagnosed diabetes accounted for 85% of those with diabetes in studies from South Africa, 80% in Cameroon, 70% in Ghana and over 80% in Tanzania.
80% of type 2 diabetes is preventable by changing diet, increasing physical activity and improving the living environment. Yet, without effective prevention and control programmes, the incidence of diabetes is likely to continue rising globally.
Stir fry thinkly sliced kerela,
Towards the end of cooking, dash it with some soysauce, salt, pepper.
And if you're really fussed about the bitterness, toss in some sugar, or better, stevia.
Eat with rice.
Debby here is one more recipe as to how to make Karela Chutney.
Chinese Karela – 3 large (deseeded) Salt – to taste Oil – 2 tbsp or 3 tbsp (depending on the size of the karela) Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds – 1/8 tsp Peanuts – 1/2 cup (roughly crushed) Sesame Seeds – 2 tbsp Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp Red Chili Powder – to taste Coariander Powder – 1 tsp Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp Lime/Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp or to taste
1. Finely chop the Karela, preferably in a food processor. 2. Sprinkle Salt generously, mix well and set aside for 30 minutes. 3. After 30 minutes, take the Karela in your palms and squeeze the juice out of it. 4. Set aside and meanwhile heat a skillet on medium heat. 5. Pour in the Oil and once hot, add in the Mustard Seeds and allow them to pop. 6. Add in the Fenugreek Seeds and cook for 15 seconds. 7. Add in the Sesame Seeds and allow them to pop. 8. Add in the crushed Peanuts and cook till they turn light golden in color. 9. Add in the squeezed Karela, mix well. 10. Also, add in the powdered spices – Red Chili, Coriander, Cumin & Turmeric. 11. Mix well and cover and cook till the Karela is cooked. 12. Stir occasionally. 13. Once the Karela is cooked all the way through, remove the cover and allow it to dry out and turn crispy. 14. Add in the Lime/Lemon juice and mix well. 15. Cook it to desired crispy-ness. 16. Serve hot or cold.
1. Be very careful while the Sesame Seeds are popping. Keep a lid handy. 2. To save time use roasted peanuts instead of raw ones. 3. Dry Mango Powder is a great alternative to Lime or Lemon Juice. 4. We have used Chinese Karela for their mild flavor but Indian Karelas may also be used for this dish. 5. Karela Chutney has a long shelf life and can be stored in the fridge for upto 7-10 days.