Usually, most of us prefer either the sweet goodies or the spicy savory foods. And opt very rarely for the bitter foods. ‘Bitter’ refers to foods having a ‘sharp or harsh flavor’ this is the main reason we avoid this taste.
As I set about thinking about this, I tried to recollect the bitter foods which I had tasted. Immediately two names came to my mind, coffee and bitter gourd. And if I think deeply, these two have different types of bitterness.
Coffee had this likeable type of bitterness, whereas ‘bittergourd’ tasted really ‘repulsively’ bitter when raw, and when cooked this bitterness mellowed down to a large extent and seemed to be edible!
Thinking of bitter foods, how many of these do I know of? Immediately ‘karela comes to my mind. A s this fruit (yes, it is a fruit and not a vegetable, though we always treat it as a vegetable and make various curries and stew from it) has been long associated with the bitter taste. However there are many other bitter tasting foods which we use and consume in our everyday life.
When I deliberately tried to analyse and recollect the bitter foods, many came to my mind. And here are some of the bitter foods which have varying degrees of bitterness in them: dill leaves, coffee (minus the milk and sugar), dark chocolate, mustard seeds, brinjal (some varieties), sesame seeds (to a mild extent), cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and leaves (for sure!), olives, coriander leaves and seeds, neem leaves, saffron (somehow I always visualized this as sweet),turmeric and ginger (to a certain extent)…..
Wow! This seems to be a long list!
However, I had unconsciously never considered all these foods ‘bitter’ though, maybe because I have been using these frequently in my everyday cooking, thus have accepted it, unknowingly! Moreover, all of these seem to have varied health benefits.
Of late, I have been trying to include all types of food in my daily diet, including bitter foods!
Karela pickle –
Finally, last weekend, I set about making this pickle and was skeptical about its outcome. I did not taste it first, rather shared it with my friends and colleagues. All of them praised its taste. And finally when I tasted it – it was indeed yummy. The bitterness of the ‘karela’ seemed to have disappeared and I could even savor it plain (without adding it to rice) too!