Bitter gourd, or popularly known as Karela in India, this vegetable is another of nature’s bountiful gifts to mankind. It not only has fabulous, digestional properties, it is a storehouse of homeremedies for many common ailments. Varieties of this vegetable include those with very light, almost whitish green skin to the dark bottle green coloured skin. Some are almost a foot-and-a-half, while others are just about 2″-3″ long. And of course there are many inbetweens. Any variety may be used, only time required for cooking them may vary as per type.
Surprisingly this vegetable can be converted in many mouthwatering dishes, which are neither as bitter nor as uninviting as the raw vegetable. Bitter gourd is eaten in many forms in practically every country.
Debittering of the vegetable is done in almost any recipe. It just cannot be eaten raw as it is, since the bitterness is quite unpleasant, and leaves a strong bitter taste in the mouth for hours and hours,if consumed raw as we do chopped or cucumbers,etc. The general procedure is to scrape off the gourd lightly, but not peeling it completely, just blunting out the big and small ridges. Then if desired top and tail by snipping them off with a sharp knife. Make a slit right through the length with a knife and take out the seeds completely . This is quite a lengthy procedure but done with little patience tastes delicious with rice and dal.
- Bittergourds (Karela)- 7 medium size
- Oil for frying
- Onions – 2(large)
- Dry red chillies – 2
- Bengal gram dal – 1/2 tsp
- Urad dal – 1/2tsp
- Mustrad seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Jeera – 1/2tsp
- Curry leaves – 4 to 5
- Grated coconut – 1/2cup
- Jaggery/sugar – 3tsp
- Tamarind pulp – 1/2cup
- Salt to taste
- Chop the bitter gourds into 3″ pieces by scraping off the gourd and remove the seeds and apply salt and keep aside for a while.
- Heat 3tsp oil in a frying pan and fry the bitter gourd pieces until dark brown.Keep them aside till they are cool.
- Meanwhile slightly fry all the ingredients except curry leaves and mustard seeds and grind them into a coarse paste without adding water in blender.Add salt and jaggery or sugar to the paste as desired.
- Stuff the fryed bittergourds with the ground paste.
- Heat 2tsp of oil in a pan add mustard seeds,curry leaves and stuffed karela pieces and cook till the karelas are soft.
Tastes good with hot plain rice.