I am one of those few people who loves bitter melons. Though I cook bitter melons in a number of ways (three to be precise) the following recipe happens to be the easiest and it’s the one I cook most frequently.
When it comes to bitter melon, I strongly dislike the use of sweeteners, be it sugar or jaggery to mask the bitterness. I treat the bitter melons to reduce their bitterness to the minimum before proceeding to cook them.
The best part being, since the recipe involves deep-frying, the dish can be eaten over a number of times without fear of it getting spoilt, though refrigeration to keep it fresh and healthy is highly recommended.
It being peak summers and bitter melons are available in plenty, I strongly recommend you give a try to the following recipe and share with me your feedback, modifications and also secret ingredients that you use to cook up bitter gourd.
Karele ki Sabzi:
Servings : 6
Difficulty Level: Moderate
- Bitter Gourd – 750 g
- Onions (chopped) – 7 to 8 (large-sized)
- Green Chilies – 3 to 4
- Salt – half cup
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
- Green Mango Powder (Amchur) – 1 tbsp
- Garam Masala powder – 2 tsp
- Oil -4 to 5 tbsp
- Gently scrape all bitter melons to free their skins of the rough peel.
- Slit them lengthwise, remove excess seeds.
- Generously rub in salt to coat all surfaces of bitter melon and set aside for 45 minutes to an hour.
- After an hour, place each bitter melon in between the two palms and squeeze with force to remove all the bitter juices out. Then thoroughly rinse all bitter melons in running water to wash off all salt and bitter juices that have come to surface.
- Squeeze them to remove excess water and set aside.
- Take a wok and heat 3 to 4 tbsp oil. Once hot, add the bitter melon pieces and fry them well till they begin to change color to golden brown. Now add the chopped onions and fry well till they begin to turn golden.
- Now add the chilies that have been slit lengthwise to remove seeds. Fry them for a minute.
- Once the onions and bitter melons are well fried, add red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder (NO salt -for it contains residues from the start) and little water. Mix well, set a lid and let it cook on medium heat.
- Keep stirring from time to time, add little water if needed and cook till the bitter melons get tender and all the water has been used up. It takes around 10 minutes.
- Now add the amchur powder making sure there are no lumps. Mix well and replace lid while turning the stove off.
Serving suggestion: It tastes best with dal and roti or parantha
Tip: In place of amchur powder you can also add fresh green mango silvered into thin slices to add to the fresh sour flavor. When doing so one green mango is usually enough and should be added at the time of adding green chilies. It adds a freshness to this dish.
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