Crispy Karela

Native to tropical Asia, the bitter gourd has a long history dating back to about 600 years in China. The Chinese associated the bitter gourd as a beneficial vegetable for medicinal purposes, particularly for those suffering from diabetes. Additionally, it was used as a folk remedy for curing tumors, asthma, skin infections, GI problems, and hypertension. Not just China, the medicinal benefits of bitter gourd were highly treasured in India, Africa, and southeastern US as well. It is widely spread across tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions. Today, this bitter yet healthful vegetable is commercially cultivated in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Philippines, Malaysia, South America, and the Caribbean.

One of the most extreme bitter tasting vegetables in the world is the bitter melon also known as bitter gourd. In Goa and North India it’s often recognized as Karela. There are other names for it too in different languages and you might just know it under another name. Other bitter melon names include Karanti (konkani), Korola (Bengali), Kugua (Chinese), Nigauri (Japanese), Pavayka or Kayppayka (Malayalam), Caraille or Carilley (Trinidad and Tobago), Cerasee (Caribbean and some parts of South America), Melón amargo or Cundeamor Chino (Spanish), Margose (French) and Bittermelone (German).

 

In this recipe, we have deep fried the Karela to bring a very exciting crispness. The amchur will take your taste buds on a thrilling roller-coaster ride.

 

Bitter Gourd

Karela

Around 200 gms

2 to 3 large.

In the market, we have Chinese Varity as well. However, I prefer the greener Indian Karela

Onion

Pyaj

1

Chopped

Oil

 

4 table spoons

Vetetable Oil

Tomato

Tamatar

1

Blended to a puree

Cumin

Jeera Khada

½ table spoon

 

Mango Powder

Amcur Powder

1 and ½ tea spoon

To add a zing to your dish. This will add a sour tangy fruity flavor

Fenugreek

Kasuri Methi

¼ tea spoon

 

Turmeric Powder

Haldi

¼ tea spoon

 

Red Chilli Powder

Lal Mirch

¼ tea spoon

 

Coriander Powder

Dhaniya

½ tea spoon

 

Salt

 

4 tea spoon

 

 

The beauty of bitter gourd remains in its, well, bitterness, at least a tinge of it. Of course, it must be toned down. The skin scraped off, the veggie salted and washed to drain that excessive alkaline taste.

Remove the Bitterness

  1. Chop the Karela in thin round slices.
  2. De seed and wash the karela under running water.
  3. In a plate, smear the karela with salt.
  4. Press the karela between two plates.
  5. Keep something heavy on top of the plate. Like a heavy pressure cooker.
  6. Keep it pressed for around 30 minutes
  7. Within 30 minutes, the karela would have released a lot of water. Squeeze the karela to drain out the water. This is to remove the bitterness of the karela

Prepare the masala

  1. In a kadai, heat the oil.
  2. Add the karela
  3. On full flame, sauté around 5 to 6 minutes. Till the Karela is crisp and brownish.
  4. Remove the karela and keep separate
  5. In the same oil, add the onions and deep/stir fry for around 3 to 4 minutes. We want to sauté them to light pink. Try not to turn them light brown.
  6. Remove the onions and keep separate.
  7. In case oil is over, add one table spoon of oil
  8. Add the jeera and Methi dana.
  9. Add the blended tomato.
  10. Add Amchur Powder, Haldi, Lal Mirch and Dhaniya.
  11. Stir for around 2 to 3 minutes or till the tomato starts leaving oil.
  12. Add the karela
  13. Toss with the masala
  14. Add the onion.
  15. Toss with the masala and karela.

 

Enjoy with Roti.

 

NOTE – Bitter melon is an abortifacient, so it should not be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing. It is also a medicinal herb that should not be given to small children and infants due to its hypoglycemic effects. Bitter melon is also an emmenagogue, which means that it brings on or increases menstrual flow in women.

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