Total Calories: 208
1. Wash and dry the bitter melons. With a vegetable peeler, lightly scrape off the ridged skin. Leaving about 1/2 inch intact at both ends, make a long, deep lengthwise slit on one side, from the top down, to make a pocket. With a grapefruit or any other spoon, scoop out the white pulp and seeds. (If you'd like to reduce some of the bitterness, sprinkle the cut melons, inside and out, generously with salt. Set aside about 1 hour to marinate and sweat. Then wash out all the salt and wipe each one dry.)
2. Boil the potatoes in water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, let cool, then peel and coarsely mash them. then add green chili peppers, ginger, cilantro, mango powder, and salt, and mix.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the mustard and fenugreek seeds they should splutter upon contact with the hot oil, so lower the heat and cover the pan until the spluttering subsides. Quickly add the coriander, red pepper flakes, and asafoetida, transfer to the potatoes, and mix well.
4. Divide the potatoes into the same number of portions as you have bitter melons. Fill each bitter melon pocket with the potatoes. Bring the two cut sides together and tie each bitter melon with clean cotton (kitchen) string to ensure the filling does not fall out during cooking.
5. Place in a nonstick skillet and drizzle the remaining oil over them. Cook, turning as needed, over medium-high heat about 5 minutes and then over medium-low, until they are crispy and brown on all sides, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Cut off the threads or leave them for each guest to unravel. (This is fun when the setting is informal.) Garnish with cilantro and serve.
VARIATION: Instead of potatoes, stuff the melons with Punjabi Dry-Cooked Yellow Mung Beans (see Dried Beans, Lentils, and Peas) or Basic Paneer Cheese Scramble (see Paneer Cheese).
From "1,000 Indian Recipes." Copyright 2002 by Neelam Batra. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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