In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Carilie (bitter melon) Mother In Law.

Mother In Law? If you’re not from Trinidad and Tobago or the other parts of the Caribbean you may not know what this dish is and why it’s called Mother In Law. I strongly believe the name stems from it being a VERY Hot n Spicy condiment.. the sort of trait we generally associate with one’s Mother In Law. But that would be a guess. Should you know a different explanation, please share in the comment section below. I know I said that the Roasted Pepper Choka was the ultimate condiment (side) to curry dishes, however this Carilie Mother In Law could also lay claim to that title.

You’ll Need…

2 Carilie
2 limes (juice)
2 medium carrots
5-8 chives
1 medium red onion
6 cloves garlic
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 fatali peppers
1 pimento pepper (aka seasoning pepper)
6-10 leaves shado beni
1/2 cup white vinegar

Notes. With the Carilie (bitter melon) I explained in the video below that I had 1 which was fully mature (which was used in the food processor) and the other wasn’t fully mature (different flavor), which was sliced thinly. Ultimately the goal was to not only have different flavors from the Carilie, but textures as well. If doing this dish gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten fre dieary requirements.

Carilie Momordica charantia commonly called bitter melon, goya, bitter apple, bitter gourd, bitter squash and balsam pear.

Give everything a rinse with cool water. Then rough-chop the onion, peppers ( I used Scotch Bonnet, Fatali and Pimento Peppers… use any HOT peppers you have available), carrots and chives. Please note that as explained in the video below, the Pimento pepper is not hot, but the flavor is simply amazing. If you can source it at you local West Indian market, may I recommend getting a couple.

With the mature Carilie, I cut it down the center, removed the inner seeds area with a spoon and gave it a rough chop as well. To make it easier work for my food processor. You may use a blender or hand-chop everything as it was traditionally done back in the day.

Place the onion, garlic, salt, peppers, carrots, shado beni (chadon beni) and chives into the food processor. I used a red onion as it’s much milder in flavor than the everyday onion, plus the red color makes it more attractive looking at the end.

Squeeze in the juice of the limes.

May I recommend that you pulse and not have it on a continuous speed or you may end up with a puree. This is supposed to have a bit of texture to it. Should you want to add more hot peppers do so, and remember to wear gloves and wash your hands with soap and water after handling hot peppers.

With the other (non-mature) carilie, cut it into 3-4 parts, then remove the core (see the video below), then slice as thinly as you can.

Mix everything together and add the white vinegar.

If you wanted to add another flavor to things (I prefer it like this) add a 1/2 teaspoon of ground roasted geera (cumin). Store in a container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Adjust the salt if you find that it’s overly tart. Another excellent side to curry dishes.

Are you a spicy Mother In Law?

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  1. Kory B
    February 17, 2024 / 9:36 pm

    This is the only recipe I eat karahli with.. lord does my grandma make it sooo hot, same with her spicy lime pickle that has this in it ! So good in these for no good reason 😂 I’m not here for her fry karahli and roti

  2. Rosalind Corridon
    September 8, 2023 / 10:24 am

    Chris I am from India and have grown up with this bitter melon. My husband is Trinidad and had never tried it before I made it for him, the Indian way. He absolutely loves it 😄 more than I do. Thanks for the recipe, Trini style!

    • admin
      September 11, 2023 / 9:02 am

      thanks for sharing.. to be honest, I’m not a fan of it (other than this recipe). I grow them for my mom and dad who just loves the stuff

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