Cooking with bitter gourd is not everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. It requires precision, finesse and of course, quite a bit of creativity. So, here are few recipes to make the underrated vegetable palatable and appealing at the same time.
MASALA BHARWAN KARELA
Bitter gourd (karela) 4 medium sized
Salt to taste
Mustard oil 2 tsp
Cumin seeds (jeeragam) 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds (sombu) 1/2 tsp
Raw onion paste 1/2 cup
Grated tomatoes 1/4 cup
Grated ginger 1/2 tsp
Green chilli paste 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Dried mango powder 1/4 tsp
Garam masala 1/4 tsp
Chopped coriander 1/4 cup
Oil for deep-frying
METHOD: Peel the bitter gourd, slit each bitter gourd lengthwise and scoop out the insides carefully creating a hollow in the centre.
Apply a little salt to the inside and outside of the bitter gourd and keep aside for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash the bitter gourd and pat it dry using a kitchen towel.
Keep aside. Heat the mustard oil in a broad non-stick pan, add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds. When the seeds crackle, add the onion paste and sauté on a medium flame for 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, ginger, green chilli paste, turmeric powder, dried mango powder, garam masala, salt and coriander, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions.
Fill a portion of the prepared mixture into each slit bitter gourd and tie with a thread all over.
Heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan, add the tied bitter gourd two at a time and cook on a medium flame till they turn golden brown in colour from all the sides. Drain on an absorbent paper.
The recipe is from tarladalal.com
Bitter gourd (Karela) 2
Potato (aloo) cut lengthwise
1 Cashew nuts 15
Dry red chilli, broken and deseeded 1
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Green chilli, slit or finely chopped 1
Asafoetida (Peruṅkṅyam) 1 pinch
Red chilli powder 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Dry mango powder 1/2 tsp
Caster sugar 1/2 tsp
Sesame seeds 1 tbsp
Desiccated coconut powder 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
METHOD: Scrape the skin of bitter gourd and cut them lengthwise. Remove the seeds. You can opt to keep the seeds if they are tender. Now soak them in a bowl of salt water for about 30 minutes to remove the bitterness.
Wash them thoroughly and drain excess water. Pat them dry on a kitchen towel. Heat a little oil in a kadai.
Add the potatoes that are thinly sliced and sauté on medium heat till they crisp up and are golden brown.
Once the potatoes are brownish, add the bitter gourd pieces and sauté further till all the pieces are cooked and crisp.
Once done, switch off heat. In another pan, heat a bit of oil, add mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Once the mustard crackles, immediately add dry red chilli, green chilli, asafoetida and cashews.
Sauté till the cashews are fried. Use a low heat throughout after the oil is heated, since these ingredients get cooked very fast. Now to this, add fried potatoes and bitter gourd.
Add all the spices - red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, dry mango powder, powdered sugar and salt.
Mix well and sauté for about 1-2 minutes. Check for spices and adjust to taste. Then add sesame seeds and desiccated coconut.
Give a quick mix and remove from heat. Serve kaju karela with dal and roti.
The recipe is from Bela Dholakia, a food blogger.
Bitter gourd (Pavakka) - 3 medium size
Onion, chopped 1
Yogurt (Curd), or buttermilk 1 cup
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt to taste
Fresh coconut, grated 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Green chilli 2
For the seasoning
Coconut oil 2 tsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Dry red chilli 1
Curry leaves - a few
METHOD: Wash the bitter gourd, cut it lengthwise and remove all seeds. Chop it into small pieces. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of turmeric powder to bitter gourd slices and mix well. Keep it aside for 30 to 40 mins.
Bitter gourd would have left some water. Discard it. Again, sprinkle little water, mix and squeeze the bitter gourd slices with your hand.
This helps to reduce the bitterness. Heat oil in a pan, add chopped bitter gourd and sauté. Keep sautéing in low medium flame.
When the bitter gourd is 75 per cent done, add chopped onions and sauté. Meanwhile, prepare the masala.
Grind coconut, mustard, green chillies and salt to a smooth water adding little water. When the bitter gourd and onions are done, add the ground paste to the roasted veggies, add curd or buttermilk.
Give a mix and allow it to gently boil on a low medium flame. Switch off. Prepare a tempering. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add red chillies, curry leaves and pour it over the pachadi.
Pavakka pachadi is ready to be savoured!
The recipe is from Smitha Kalluraya of the blog Cook With Smile.