Friday, June 9, 2017

Spicy Karela ( Bitter gourd cooked with spices)

Most people shy away from Karela (bitter gourd or bitter melon in English). I for some reason love it. Every time I go get my groceries, if I see bitter gourd I will surely buy it. May be because I am aware of the immense health benefits and  the nutritional value of bitter gourd, especially for diabetics. People don't like it because of it's bitterness. I am of the opinion that either they have eaten a bitter gourd dish that has not been cooked properly. If a bitter gourd is cooked in the correct manner, there is little to no bitterness in the dish. Check my fried bitter gourd and the Masala Karela recipes.

Today I am bringing to you another of my favorite, easy to make bitter gourd recipes that does not leave the Karela tasting bitter! This recipe was shared by my sister.  I have modified it to make it tastier and more convenient.  Do try it.. You may like it!! 

Servings: 4-6

Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 15-20 minsTotal time: 35-40 mins


Bitter gourd/ Karela: 2 medium sized
Turmeric powder/ haldi: 1 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Water: 4 cups
Tamarind pulp: 1/2 tsp
Jaggery/brown sugar: 1 tsp
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Garlic : 4-6 cloves, chopped 
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Freshly grated coconut: 2 tbsp


Chop the Karela either in circles or in pieces. Take this in a bowl. 
Add turmeric powder, salt and keep aside for atleast 15 mins. I usually leave it overnight like that in the fridge ( for convenience). 

After 15 mins ( or whenever you are ready to cook it), squeeze the Karela a fistful at a time and keep aside. Do this with all the available bitter gourd. Discard the remaining water. 

Take this squeezed bitter gourd in a sauce pan or pot. 
Add 4 cups water, jaggery and tamarind pulp. 
Bring this to a boil, reduce the flame and cook it until the Karela is just tender. Turn off the flame and let it cool down slightly.  
When it has cooled down enough to handle it, drain the water completely. Discard the water. Keep the cooked Karela aside. 

In a sauté pan or frying pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil.
Add the mustard seeds. 
Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves and chopped garlic. Sauté for few seconds until the garlic is fragrant. 
Add the red chilli powder. Sauté for 10 seconds.
Now add the cooked Karela, freshly grated coconut and if needed a pinch of salt( I usually don't add salt as we already added it earlier during marination). Mix and let it all come together for 2 mins. Turn off the flame.

Serve hot. 

Goes well with rice and dal, yogurt rice or roti.

I am bringing this to my dear friend Angie's Fiesta Friday#175. I bet they have not heard of this dish. Her cohosts this week are Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Suzanne @ A Pug in the Kitchen. Both are very talented bloggers.


Cooking made easy: 

The key to ensuring that Karela is not bitter is either to marinate it with salt and turmeric powder, squeeze it out and discard the water or to boil it in water, squeeze and remove and discard the water. 

Tip for healthy living:

Since time immemorial, bitter gourd had known for its health benefits in diabetics. The most significant being the insulin like properties of it's juice which is used in diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Research however has shown inconclusive results. Karela is also used as a blood purifier. It is supposedly helpful in people with toxemia, and helps boost the immune system. There have been also other claims like its use in people with gout, piles etc, but there has been no scientific evidence to support it.


Food for thought: 

Fortitude is the guard and support of other virtues. John Locke

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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