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A Healthy Dry Vegetable Using Bottle-Gourd Peelings and Bitter-Gourd

Umesh is a freelance writer contributing his creative writings on varied subjects in various sites and portals in the internet.



Bottle gourd (or Calabash) and bitter gourd (bitter melon) both are well know for their health benefits and people all across the globe use them in one way or other. This particular recipe is a bit unusual in the sense that it uses bottle gourd peelings only with bitter gourd and results in a very interesting dry vegetable which is tastier if prepared in this manner and very healthy. The cooking method given here is its microwave version but one can customise it in the normal cooking in a pan over a hot plate or stove. The advantage in microwave version is that in this method adding cooking oil is optional and that further enhances it's health benefits.

Bottle gourd and bitter gourd

We would be using peelings of bottle guard in this dish and in fact they are a very good source of fibre and hence good for the digestive system. On the other hand bitter gourd is also a high fibre vegetable and specifically beneficial in diabetic conditions. It has good quantities of nutrients like vitamin C, folate, and vitamin A. It also contains Potassium, Zinc, and Iron. As both are high fibre ingredients, the dish prepared using these items is having low calorific value.


The quantity shown below will suffice for about 3 people when taken along with other items during main meal times.

  • Bitter gourd - 3 to 4 medium size pieces (about 200 gram).
  • Bottle gourd - 1 medium size (about 600 gram).
  • Capsicum - 1/2 piece.
  • Potato - 1 to 2 numbers.
  • Onion - 1 number.
  • Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp.
  • Coriander powder - 3/4 tsp.
  • Anise powder - 1/2 tsp.
  • Mango powder - 1 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (optional).
  • Cooking oil - 1 to 2 tsp (optional).
  • Salt as per taste.


Clean all the vegetables and drain out the water. Take the bottle gourd and peel it with a peeler and keep the peelings in a plate. We will only be using these peelings and the rest of the bottle gourd can be used separately in soups or other preparations in other dishes. It can even be squeezed and the juice can be consumed which is very healthy and a great drink for keeping the stomach in order.

Now, chop the bottle gourd peelings in small pieces and keep separately. Chop the bitter gourd in circular discs and keep along with the chopped peelings. Now peel and chop the potato in circular discs and also chop the onion and capsicum finely. Capsicum is being used to give the vegetable a pleasing flavour. Those who like the capsicum flavour can even put 1 piece in place of 1/2 as mentioned in the list of ingredients.

A brief about microwave cooking

Microwave cooking is slightly different than the conventional cooking and before we go for the method of preparing this dish, I would like to share few things about microwave cooking.

Microwave has generally 4 or 5 cooking intensity ranges (temperature ranges) as very high, high, medium, low, and very low. For cooking the vegetables we generally use 'very high' or 'high' position. For defrosting we use 'low' position. For keeping things warm we can use 'very low' position. So that is one important point. Another thing is that water content of a raw item or external water added in the raw material is a crucial factor which helps in cooking in a microwave. If water is less or negligible then there is a big possibility of getting the material charred or burned and that is the reason why we should be careful in the quantity of water which we add to a dish before keeping it in the microwave for cooking. That is also a reason why many of us are discouraged to use microwave for cooking and actually use it mostly for heating the food.

How much water we have to mix in a dish before keeping it in microwave depends upon the quantity and type of vegetables. Those vegetables in which water content is more like tomato, gourd, raddish etc require less water while others like cauliflower, lady's finger, potato etc require slightly more water.

For example consdering preparing of a vegetable for 2-3 persons, while making curries one can add 3-4 cups of water before hand and there is no problem but while preparing dry vegetables we have to restrict it to 3/4 to 1 cup only. Even after that it is advisable to check the vegetables about 3-4 minutes before the end time and sprinkle some 1/4 cup water if there are signs of serious drying up of the vegetables. This is a precaution I am always taking when I am preparing a dry vegetable in microwave.

Those who are not comfortable with microwave cooking can go for the traditional saute and cook mode for dry vegetables using their own basic culnery skills.


Take a microwave bowl and put the chopped bottle gourd peelings, chopped bitter gourd, chopped onion, chopped potato in it and mix. Sprinkle all the spices, salt, and oil (optional) on it and mix well. Do not add any water right now. Keep the bowl in the microwave in very high heat position and cook for 3-4 minutes only. Take out and now add 1/2 cup water. Now put it back and cook for another 10-12 minutes but just around 7th or 8th minute check for dryness. If it is very dry add some water about 3 to 4 tsp by sprinkling on it. Let it cook fully for rest of the 3 to 4 minutes and let the door of microwave remain closed for a minute. Open the door and take the bowl out. The dish is ready.


This dish is a bit bitter in the taste and one can either increase the potato by 1or 2 number more in the beginning itself or add some tomato sauce to the completed dish. Some people add half a spoon of sugar in it to enhance the taste though that would add to the calories also.

The dish can be served as one of the dishes during lunch or dinner and goes well with sweet bun or bread.


Though a bit bitter but this is a very healthy vegetable. Those people who have developed taste for bitter gourd can definitely relish this dish. This is not exactly a party dish but yes, it is a dish for health concious people who are very choosy regarding their food intake.





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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Umesh Chandra Bhatt


Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on November 06, 2020:

Denise, thanks for your visit and comment.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on November 06, 2020:

Manatita, this recipe is a bitter one but once the taste is developed, its ok. Thanks for your beautiful comment.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on November 06, 2020:

Nanasaheb, thanks a lot for your sweet words.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on November 05, 2020:

This is a very interesting recipe. I didn't know you could eat a bottle gourd at all. Thanks.



Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on November 04, 2020:

Dale, thanks. Happy to know that you liked it.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on November 03, 2020:

Well this was very interesting. I am going to put a pin in this and consider taking a shot at making it myself in the future.

manatita44 from london on November 02, 2020:

been perhaps 60 years since I last used a calabash and I don't remember what inside it taste like. Still, looks 'cool' here. You are a chef too? Awesome!

Nanasaheb Mohite, Kharghar on November 02, 2020:

Sir I appreciate your recipe, it is very helpful to those who are concise regarding health.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 22, 2020:

DRRAO, thanks a lot Sir, for your encouraging and nice comment.

DRRAO on October 22, 2020:

Your combination of vegetables is excellent, good for aged people, nutrition and easy to digest, Nice useful information

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 21, 2020:

Dora, so nice of you and thanks for the beautiful comment.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 21, 2020:

We used calabash dishes when I was a child. So long I hadn't heard of it, I looked up the picture. Thanks for the memory and for the very interesting recipe.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 20, 2020:

Flourish, thanks a lot for your lovely comment. Stay blessed.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 20, 2020:

This interesting recipe sounds very healthy. We don’t have bitter gourd and bottle gourd here but thanks for sharing a little of your life with us.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 19, 2020:

Chitrangada, thanks for your comment. Happy to know that you want to try it.

Ankita, thanks for your nice comment.

Greaney, thanks for your visit. Highly appreciate.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 19, 2020:

The microwave method is definitely easier than the hot plate method. It's an interesting food that seems to have many benefits.

Ankita B on October 19, 2020:

A very healthy recipe, it sounds. I like bitter gourd and will surely try this combination. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 19, 2020:

This sounds nutritious indeed. We all are aware of the health benefits of the bitter gourd and bottle gourd. You have provided some interesting combination of ingredients. Would try this recipe for sure.

Thanks for sharing.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 18, 2020:

Liz, few people have expertise in microwave cooking. Happy to know that you are one. Thanks for your nice comment.

Kalpana, same thing with me. I started liking it in my fifties. Thanks for your visit. Highly appreciate.

Cheryl, happy to note that you liked it. Thanks for your visit.

Eric, great. I read about that it has a scope for tea also. Good to note that you take it that way. Thanks for your visit and interesting comment.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 18, 2020:

Well I drink this in teas. Sounds good to make a recipe.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on October 18, 2020:

This is an interesting recipe and it seems to be very healthy and full of nutrients.

Kalpana Iyer from India on October 18, 2020:

I have recently started loving bitter gourd. This was a big surprise for me because up till then, I was not a big fan. Our tastes evolve over time. This recipe looks delicious.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 18, 2020:

I do a lot of microwave cooking. This looks like an interesting and healthy recipe.

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