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Friday, 15 November 2013

Bittergourd Kerabu


Fancy eating bittergourd raw? In the first place, I know that there are people who do not like bittergourd for the obvious reason that it is bitter. The common tip used is to rub the bittergourd slices with salt and rinse it off to remove the bitterness. I have always skipped that step as I do not mind the bitter taste at all (actually it is because I am too lazy). I can't remember exactly when I started to appreciate bittergourd. I think it must be the chicken with bittergourd dish that I tasted at the "chap fan" (mixed rice) stall. It was cooked with chicken and black bean sauce and it was very tasty.


Or it could have been the bittergourd fried with eggs that I ate in a restaurant in Klang. That dish made bittergourd so tasty, with its "wok hei" aroma which reminded me of fried koay teow. Bittergourd has many health benefits the most significant would be its ability to lower blood glucose levels and dietary carbohydrate digestion (I like that!). You can read more about the health benefits here.


I came across Bittergourd Kerabu in Kak Liza's cookbook "Senangnya Memasak.....Kerabu & Salad". Much as I like bittergourd, the thought of eating it raw was not very encouraging. But I had to give it a try before I draw any conclusions. The variety of bittergourd used for this kerabu is commonly known as "peria katak". It is the smaller version of the regular bittergourd that we normally see in the supermarket.


The first time I made this kerabu, I followed Kak Liza's recipe where the dressing is made simply with lime juice, sugar and salt (or fish sauce). I was pleasantly surprised that the kerabu tasted very good in spite of the bitter taste which was not overpowering at all. The important thing to do is to slice the bittergourd as thinly as possible.


This time, I am using sambal belacan and I think it tastes even better. I have added extra corriander leaves as I love the flavor and aroma that it brings to the kerabu. You can of course add other herbs and vegetables as you see fit. This kerabu is very appetizing eaten with just simple plain fried fish. I would not mind exploring other salads using raw bittergourd.









Bitter Gourd Kerabu (Kerabu Peria)
Recipe source : Translated from Senangnya Memasak...Kerabu dan Salad (page 19)
(My notes and adaptations in red)

Ingredients :
- 5 small bittergourds (I used 3)
- 5 red chillies (I omitted)
- 3 green chillies (I omitted)
- 5 cili padi (optional)(I omitted)
- 1/2 carrot (grated)
- 1 big onion
- 1 small bunch corriander
- 3 limes              )
- 1 tbsp sugar     ) See my dressing below
- Salt to taste      )

Method :
1. Slice bittergourd thinly and soak in salt water briefly. Rinse and drain. (I skipped  the soaking)
2.Cut all other vegetables thinly.
3. Mix everything with lime juice, salt and sugar (I mixed with the dressing in note below)
4. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Serve with rice and grilled fish.

Note : For the sambal belacan dressing, I mixed 1 tablespoon sambal belacan, I tablespoon plum sauce, I tablespoon fish sauce with juice of 2 limes (limau nipis).



This post is also linked to Cook-Your-Books #6 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

36 comments:

  1. Hi Phong Hong, my MIL talks about this bittergourd whenever she sees growing children with pimples or skin problems. Has cooling effect. She loves bittergourd. I'll be cooking noodles with bittergourd for her this weekend. I may try this salad, too. Can I use the 'big' bittergourd instead?

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    1. Hi Kimmy! My partner loves the meehoon with bittergourd soup. I did not know that it has cooling effect. I think there should be no problem using the big bittergourd. Be sure to slice thinly so that it is more pleasant to eat.

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  2. I have never tried them-unfortunatelly not available here:(

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    1. Ola, maybe someday if you travel to Asia you can have a chance to try this bitter but very nutritious vegetable.

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  3. This is special to me, will try one day!

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    Replies
    1. Jozelyn, if you like bittergourd, chances are you may like this!

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  4. Hi Phong Hong
    You didnt even soak the slice bittergourd in salt? Wont it taste bitter? And you eaten eat it raw too. I eat bittergourd but usually stir fry with meat and sometimes boiled in soup.

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    1. Mel, I didn't do the salt thing because lazy lah! Yes, it is bitter but I don't mind it. The sweet, salty and sour kerabu dressing makes it OK.

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  5. Oh ya! Bittergourd I suka, add more for me please!!!!

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    1. Sure, Esther! Nutritious food we must eat more :)

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  6. Hmmm....... Bittergourd Kerabu? Interesting! Hubby and I love it but not the children! Sign.....

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    Replies
    1. Christine, I think most children find the bitter taste unpleasant but my young nephew loves bittergourd fried with eggs.

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  7. Hi Phong Hong,
    I love bittergourd! Have not tried it in kerabu before. I would like this very much! And I usually skip the rubbing of the salt with the ends of the bittergourd, to me it does not make any difference. If it is bitter, than all the better!
    Thanks for sharing with CYB!

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    1. Hi Joyce! Nice to know you love bittergourd too! I agree that rubbing with salt does not really make much of a difference. It is more work, that's all!

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  8. Ph ..dulu I pun tak suka makan peria tetapi selepas kami tanam pokok peria dan sentiasa berbuah ,kami sekeluarga sudah jatuh cinta sama itu sayur hehe.Makan mentah pun sedap .Cicah sambal belacan apatah lagi.Kerabu lagi sedap hehe.

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    Replies
    1. Wah, CM untung dapat buah peria fresh dari garden! PH suka nak-nak bila dah tahu peria ni banyak khasiat.

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  9. I love bittergourd because I hear it's really good for detoxifying the body, but it has to be cooked right so that it's not overly bitter. I always cook ti with eggs but have never tried it raw- good idea!

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    1. Hi Shu Han! Yes, I have heard of people juicing bittergourd with green apples for a detox drink. I should try that one day :)

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  10. Hey! These small ones - the bitter gourd...they say they're very very very bitter, true or not? Never tried before - will just stick to our normal ones.

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    Replies
    1. Arthur, to me not much difference. I have cooked these small ones with eggs too and they are just as good as the big ones!

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  11. Phong Hong I just love bitter gourd I like it stir fry half cook but have not tried eating raw whenever I cook it I will eat afew slices raw .Your bitter gourd kerabu sound interesting.would love to try have to wait for weather to be abit more hotter then I will be able to buy from the morning flea market.tok boleh tahang only wish can eat now

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    1. EE, do try raw in kerabu. Sedap because the sambal belacan is sweet, sour and salty and complements the bitter taste. Don't know if Emily can tahan :)

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  12. I love love love bitter gourd, and I never thought of cooking it in this way!! Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Hi Diana! Glad to hear that you love bittergourd a lot! Try this kerabu, it is very appetizing.

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  13. I find bittergourd when eaten raw is not bitter at all. When it is cook, it brings out the bitterness. I prefer both, however fancy raw bittergourd. Zana

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    1. Hi Zana! I never realised that! I find that it is not too bad eaten raw.

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  14. I have not yet tried bittergourd yet, I almost picked one up but was a little afraid to. This looks so good, I wish I could reach through the screen. What a beautiful dish you've created here.

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    1. Hi Lyndsey! Thank you for your compliments! I wish that you could try a little and see if you like it. I wonder if stir fried bittergourd is available at Asian restaurants over there. It would be great if you could order and have a taste!

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  15. Hi Phong Hong,
    Who would have thought bittergourd make such a lovely salad! When I read this I were doubtful but then your attractive photos tempt me. So I tried. Suprise, suprise! Its a delicious salad. Think I'll cook this many time. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Hi butterfingers! I am so happy that you tried and liked it!

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  16. I don't mind to have the whole bowl of bittergourd kerabu for myself, one of my favourite veggie but not my kids..

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    1. Sonia, glad to hear that you like it too!

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  17. Hi Phong Hong, I sure love this salad, look so appetizing and refreshing. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    Best regards.

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    Replies
    1. Amelia, this kerabu is surprisingly good as you can't really taste the bitterness.

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