amitesh virdi

not your ordinary homecook

karela masala

the best bitter gourd ever

Total time: 60 min
(Preparation time: 40 min; Cooking time: 20 min)

What you will need:

Karela / Bitter Gourd – 6 to 7 pcs, sliced roundels
Salt – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Water – 1 ltr to boil bitter gourd and drain

Oil – 500 ml, to deep fry bitter gourd slices
Onion – 1 large, fine chopped
Tomato – 1/2, puree
Garlic – 5 pods, peeled, fine chopped
Green chili – 1 pc, deseed and chop
Raw mango – 1/4 pc, fine chopped
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek / Methi seeds – 5 pcs
Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Amchur powder / dried raw mango powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Cashew – 10 pcs, put in grinder and powder (optional)
Raisins – 10 pcs, soaked in water (optional)
Jaggery / powder – 1 tsp (optional)
Ghee – 2 tsp (optional)
Coriander – a few sprigs

How to:
– slice roundels of all Bitter Gourd pieces.
– boil water, add salt and turmeric. Add the sliced roundels. Leave to cook for 15-20 min.
– drain, cool and squeeze rest of the water out too.
– heat oil for deep frying
– once hot, add roundels in small batches and fry to golden colour. I like karela crisp in this recipe. You can skip frying part if you don’t want.
– heat 2 tsp oil in a kadhai/wok. Add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds.
– add chopped green chili and garlic.
– add chopped onion. Cook till golden.
– add chopped raw mango, red chili powder, turmeric powder, amchur powder and salt.
– add tomato puree and 1/4 cup water. Cook well till water dries up.
– add cashew powder, raisins and bitter gourd roundels. Mix well.
– remove from flame, add powder jaggery, ghee and coriander. Mix.
– serve hot.

Tips: A few ingredients are optional here.
– if you do not want to eat high cholesterol ingredients like Cashews, these can be omitted. Cashew powder mellows down the bitterness of karela.
– jaggery / raisins are optional if you are avoiding sweeteners.
– ghee is optional. Though ghee pairs up brilliantly well with jaggery and enhances taste.

– when you are done boiling karela, drain water and rinse it well under regular tap water. This will bring it to room temperature and stop further cooking.

There are a few ways to cut down the bitterness:

1. Sprinkle salt and haldi / turmeric powser. Keep it for 30 min and then squeeze away the bitter juice.

2. Boil it with a tsp salt snd 1/2 tsp haldi for 20 min.

3. Powder cashew nuts in a grinder. Use the powdered cashew to cut down its bitterness.

4. Use fennel seeds and jaggery to cut down on bitterness.

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