I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, Carilie or Bitter-melon and I (Chris) can NEVER be friends. From day one as a young fella on the islands to my grown self – mom could never get me (nor my siblings) to eat this. Maybe the ONLY way I’ve ever enjoyed Carile is when I had it (pickled) in a salad at Cafe Mariposa in Lopinot, Trinidad last year during Restaurant Week TT. While this dish is delicious (according to my dad), Carilie in any form is an acquired taste yea.
3 large Carilie (bitter melon)
3 large cloves garlic (diced fine)
1 1/2 tablespoon salt (for removing the bitterness)
1/4 teaspoon salt for cooking (if needed)
2 pimentio pepper (sliced thin)
4 wiri wiri (leave whole)
1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin (roasted)
3/4 teaspoon amchar masalla
1 medium onion (sliced thin)
Important! If making this dish gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Especially the curry powder you use, as some are known to contain flour.
The goal with this step is to try and remove some of the bitter base of the Carilie. Or you can skip this step if you enjoy the harsh bitterness. Wash, core and slice the Carilie (watch the video below to see how I did this).
Then mix in the 1 1/2 tablespoon of salt (mix well) with the sliced Carilie and set aside for 20 minutes. This step will remove some of the moisture from the slices and in doing so, the bitterness as well.
Then squeeze the slices after the 20 mins, rinse with cool water and squeeze a second time. Lets get ready to cook at this point.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan on a medium heat, then go in with the garlic. Immediately turn down the heat to as low as it can go and cook for 2-3 minutes. After-which, turn up the heat to med/high and add the prepared Carilie. Stir well to coat with the garlic flavored oil.
After 2-3 minutes, mix in the cumin, amchar maslla and curry powder. Stir. Then top with the sliced onion, pimento pepper and Wiri Wiri peppers (any hot pepper will work – if you like heat). Stir. Don’t break the peppers while cooking unless you want the raw heat.
Cook with the lid on for about 15 minutes on a low heat. Remember to stir it a couple times or it may want to stick/burn. Now remove the lid, crank the heat to medium and cook off any moisture and to deepen the color.
To this day my dad (and mom) insist that I’m missing out on an extremely delicious dish.. I have tried several times in my adult life to eat this. Even with my moms recipe, where she includes salted cod in it. NOPE.. nice try mom and dad. NOT FOR ME THANKS!