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Baked bitter melon chips with coconut

Bittermelon chips are available all over India in packages as snacks, right next to the piles of spicy and plain potato chips. These chips are favoured, especially during cocktail time, for their bitterness and crisp bite. I do love them but usually try my best to refrain from them as they are deep-fried and soaking in oils. Here is a baked variety that may be better but without the grease.

These chips are lovely. Bitter, as is their nature, but popping with spiciness. I love the gentle aroma of toasted coconut that accompanied every bite. These are the perfect cocktail snacks, healthier and delicious.

Yamuna Devi's cookbook is probably the first cookbook I bought when I moved to the US 30 years ago for my PhD. Over the years, I have cooked almost half the recipes, it is the cookbook that taught me technique, and flavour profiles and always gave me a wonderful meal. This vegetarian cookbook is essential on any shelf, it is the bible of Indian vegetarian cuisine.

For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.


4-5 baby bitter melons, cut into 1/5-inch thin circles

4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons mustard or peanut oil

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2-1 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste

Salt, to taste

3 tablespoons desiccated coconut powder

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 teaspoon desiccated coconut powder, lightly toasted

Add the cut bitter melon to a bowl and add the water and salt. Soak for 30. minutes to reduce the bitterness of the chips. Drain, pat dry with paper towels and set back into a dry bowl.

Heat the oven to 375° F.

Mix all the other ingredients with the bittermelon, and coat the chips evenly.

Place on a lined baking sheet in a single layer and evenly distribute. bake for 45-60 minutes till the bittermelon chips are crisp.

These chips are best served immediately garnished with the toasted coconut powder. However, if they have been made beforehand, refresh them by placing them in an oven for 3-4 minutes to crisp up again.

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