1 lb Indian or Chinese bitter melon
1 ½ tsp salt, divided, more to taste
1 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp avocado oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp fennel seeds
1” ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp kashmiri red chili powder
¼ tsp black pepper, more to taste
1 tsp amchur (green mango) powder
2 tsp coconut palm sugar
½ cup chicken stock
fresh chopped cilantro to garnish
1. Slice the bitter melon in half lengthwise; using a spoon, scrape out and discard the seeds and pith. Slice the melon into ¼” slices, then transfer to a colander suspended over a mixing bowl; sprinkle with 1 tsp of the salt and drain for 30 minutes. Gently squeeze and blot the melon dry to extract some of its bitter juices.
2. Warm the ghee and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering; stir in the cumin seeds and fennel seeds, and toast until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in the garlic and ginger and saute until aromatic, another 30 seconds, then reduce heat to medium and add the onion, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, pepper, and remaining ½ tsp salt. Saute until the onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the bitter melon and chicken stock, and saute until the melon is tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
3. Stir in the amchur powder and sugar; increase the heat to high, and pan-fry until any liquid has evaporated and the melon and onions begin to crisp, about 3 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve garnished with cilantro.