Monday, September 26, 2016

Masala Karela ( Bitter-gourd sautéed with spices); Meatless Monday

Bitter gourd is very common vegetable in India, but from which most people stay away because it is bitter! Once you know how to deal with the bitterness, it is a very tasty, nutrient-rich vegetable! You can read more about the health benefits of bitter gourd in the "tip for healthy living " section.

We in our household don't shy away from Karela. We actually quite love it. I fry them, I stir-fry them, curry them.. There is a lot you can do with this vegetable! Check the " cooking made easy for method to take the bitterness of the Karela away! Today, I am sharing with you a quick, easy and a delicious recipe. This I learnt from a member of food group, Vidya Thakur. As always, I have added my touch to this recipe too.. For me cooking  is like a freestyle painting where the end product depends on the artist's mood at the time. Without further ado, here is the recipe!

Servings: 3-4

Prep time: 45 mins ( including marinating in salt and turmeric powder).Cook time: 15-20 minsTotal time: 1 hour


Bitter gourd ( Karela): 2-3 medium sized.
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Coconut oil: 2-3 tbsp ( any cooking oil may be used)
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig ( optional)
Onion: 1 medium-sized, chopped
Asofoetida: a pinch
Kashmiri red Chilli powder: 1 tbsp ( paprika can be used instead of red chilli powder)
Jaggery: 1 tsp ( brown sugar may be used instead of jaggery)
Tamarind pulp: 1 tsp, dissolved in 1/4 cup of water.


Slice the Karela into 0.5 cms thick rings. Mix it with a little salt and 1 tsp turmeric powder. Keep this aside for at least 30 mins to 1 hour. This takes the bitterness away.

Squeeze the karela pieces from the marinade and keep aside. Discard the liquid.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a sauté pan ( kadai) on medium heat.

Add the squeezed Karela pieces to the pan and sauté until slightly crisp. Take it out in a plate/ bowl. Keep aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in the same pan/kadai. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and the chopped onion.

 Sauté until the onion is lightly golden brown.

Then add Kashmiri red chilli powder and asofoetida. Sauté for a minute.

Now add the tamarind pulp solution and jaggery. Let  it cook for a minute.

Add the fried Karela slices to the pan. Toss nicely so that all the pieces are coated with the sauce. Let it come offer for 1-2 mins.

Serve hot with rice/ roti ( flat bread ) or bread of any kind. Tastes great with curd rice.

This stays good in the refrigerator for up to one week.


I am sharing this post with all my dear friends at Throwback Thursday #56,  Fiesta Friday #139 and Saucy Saturday#64! Angie's co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale and Sandhya @ Indfused.

Cooking made easy:

This is a fool-proof way to get rid of the bitterness: slice/chop Karela and mix it with a little salt and 1 tsp turmeric powder. Keep this aside for at least 30 mins to 1 hour. I like to leave mine overnight. When you are ready to use the Karela, squeeze it from the marinade and keep aside. Discard the liquid. The Karela will no longer taste bitter.

Tip for healthy living:

It is an established fact that bitter gourd helps to regulate blood sugar levels and therefore keep diabetes under control. Ayurvedic research has confirmed these findings.

Food for thought:

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. Alfred Lord Tennyson

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