3 cups bitter melon, finely sliced
2 medium red onions, halved and finely sliced
2 medium tomatoes, cut into small dice
3-4 green chilies, slit lengthwise
15 curry leaves, torn, plus extra sprig for tempering
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons tamarind paste, or to taste (Priya tamarind paste is good)
3 3/4 cups water, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 dry red chilies, broken
To prep the melon, trim the ends off and halve each lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and spongy insides; discard. Cut the halved melons into thin slices.
Meanwhile, dissolve tamarind paste in 3/4 cup warm water; set aside.
Place bitter melon, onion, tomato, green chili, curry leaf, tamarind water, remaining water and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Stir in ground chili and turmeric and cook until vegetables soften, and liquid reduces to a thick sauce, about 25-30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Finally, heat oil in a small skillet until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cook until fragrant and sizzling, about 10 seconds. Then stir in broken dry red chilies and curry leaves; quickly remove from heat. Pour the spice-infused oil over the curry, stir, and serve warm scooped up with plain rice.
YIELD: Serves 4-5
SOURCE: Recipe adapted from Plateful.com