Ever wondered while shopping in supermarkets why do they sell bitter gourd?
Who buys and eats bitter gourd? Huh?
Doesn’t it taste bitter? Then why do people eat it?
Well, yes bitter gourd is very bitter. I myself cannot imagine eating it raw. But still it is one of my favourite ingredients and bitter gourd or ‘Karla’ as we call it in Marathi or ‘karela’ in Hindi, makes amazing side dish to be eaten with wheat roti.
Truth is that there are numerous ways in which Bitter gourd is prepared in India. It can be stuffed with tasty spice mix, it tastes delicious when deep fried with some chat masala sprinkled, it can be used to make a dry sabzi and my mom makes amazing curry of bitter gourd which FYI doesn’t taste bitter at all. Bitter gourd is a diverse ingredient and hence I used it to create another successful experiment.
The people who have never had bitter gourd, I still know what you all must be thinking. Doesn’t it taste bitter?? How can one eat it?? Actually it is very much edible and likable. It just depends how it is prepared. So at times it depends on which ingredients you use and also on individual preferences.
In my home, everyone loves bitter gourd and its diverse dishes. The dish I am gonna write today tastes sweet, tangy, wonderfully spicy and slightly bitter at the same time. Signature style of using minimum ingredients to make a mouth-watering dish is again used. Below is the recipe of my successful experiment.
250 gms of Bitter gourd / karla
2 Large chopped red onions
½ cup of tamarind water
2 tbsp of chopped jaggery
1 tbsp of red chilli powder and garam masala
1 tsp of salt to taste
2 – 3 tbsp oil
How is it done:
This recipe is done in two parts.
First part is related to get rid of the excess bitter taste out of the bitter gourd. For this, chop the bitter gourd in small fine rings, remove the seeds if they are big and mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt. Put it aside and you can use the time to chop the onions and to make tamarind water. Now return to the salt and bitter gourd mixture. You would see salt is doing its magic and bitter gourd has started perspirating.
Squeeze the bitter gourd and try to remove as much bitter juice out of it as possible. Squeeze and Squeeze…. don’t give up!!!
Atleast try to extract the quantity of juice I have removed in the picture.
Now lets move on to second part but first let me tell you something. Many people I know wash bitter gourd after extracting the juice. Please don’t do this. I would not advice it cause along with the water all the remaining nutrients will also get washed away.
Heat the oil on a wide pan. Add the onions and fry them will they become golden brown. Infact I would suggest you to caramelise them in oil. They will reduce in quantity and provide natural sweet flavours to the dish. Next add the squeezed less bitter in taste version of bitter gourd to the pan.
Saute on medium flame for five to seven mins. Then add the tamarind juice and jaggery to the pan. These two ingredients can be used in more or less quantities depending on your taste buds. Remember the trick is to minimize the bitter taste and not to completely eliminate it.
Add the spices and allow to cook all the ingredients for another seven to ten minutes or until all of them combine together. Add salt to the dish and let it cook for a minute or so. And now the tasty and delicious dish is ready.
Tip to First timers: Tasting is important before the final dish is served so that you can adjust the sweet and tangy flavour.
Please try the recipe and let me know how you find bitter gourd. Also there are many varieties and I will keep posting new recipes of bitter gourd in future. Till then see ya all!!!