Sunday, 12 July 2015

Dish #412 - Bharwa Karela or Stuffed Bittergourd

Bitter gourd (balsam pear/ bitter melon) is a young, tender, edible fruit-pod, though its bitter taste might turn some people away from it, in-fact, it really can sweeten your health through virtue of its disease preventing and health promoting phyto chemical compounds. Fresh bitter melon is an excellent source of vitamin-C which is one of the powerful natural antioxidants which helps scavenge deleterious free radicals from the human body.
Due to its hypoglycemic action, bitter gourd makes an excellent remedy for diabetes. The insulin-like components in bitter gourd help to lower blood and urine sugar levels without increasing blood insulin levels.
For those who love bitter gourd, I have some lovely bitter gourd recipes, mainly in our 'very easy to make' Konkani cuisine, my favorite being "Karathe Phodi" or Bittergourd fritters.
I also make a sweetish curry with bitter gourd called "Karathe Go'd thalasani" which is probably the oldest dish in our konkani community.
For the pickle lovers I have the "Bittergourd pickle" and for those who like salads there is
"Karathe Kosambari".
But the biggest delicacy of them all is the "Chilly garlic Bitter gourd and eggplant" or "Karathe ani Gulla thalasani" since its made from the traditional and patented "Gulla" or brinjal from Udupi.
Here is a simple yet delicious dish made using bitter gourd, this is a north Indian cuisine inspired dish.

Serves 2
Bittergourd or Karela - small ones - 10-12 nos
Onion - 1 - finely chopped
Green chilly - 1 - finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves - finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch - finely chopped
Oil - 1-2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp (or more as per taste buds)
Chat masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Amchur/Dry mango powder - 1/2 tsp
Black salt - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish

Peel the bitter gourds using a peeler, now wash and slit then on one side lengthwise and remove the inside seeds.
Soak in salt water for 15-30 mins so that the bitterness gets reduced. You can also use them directly.
Meanwhile, take a large pan, keep on medium heat, add oil, once hot add the onions, green chilly, ginger and garlic and fry till onions turn translucent.
Now add all the masalas and salt as required, and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes.
Switch of heat the allow to cool.
Now remove the bitter gourd from the salt water, pat dry and stuff them with the cooled mixture.

Once they are stuffed well, tie each one using a thread if you feel that the masala will slip out.

Take a shallow pan, and fry the karela on low heat and using minimal oil - 1-2 tsp.
Once done remove the tied thread.
Serve hot garnished with fresh coriander leaves.


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