I don’t need anyone to tell me that I am not a big fan of bitter gourd(karela), I’d say so myself. I must have had the bitter gourd about 5 times in the past 10 years..Or may be even less than that. Though there are people in my family who can set a perfect example by savoring it, say my 4 year old nephew A, who loves pagaikai pitla, I always run away from the vegetable.
Luckily for me, N is not a big fan of Bitter gourd either(partner’s in crime huh!!) and we never buy the vegetable from Indian grocery shops. Last year, when we started a vegetable garden, we decided to plant karela as well, only to be rewarded by a dozen gourds every week
I have tried almost all the methods suggested to take the bitterness away:
– Soaking bittergourd in butter milk the night before cooking it
– Soaking bittergourd in tamarind water and turmeric before cooking it
-Soaking it in the water which was used to wash rice
-Cutting thin slices of karela and making bajjis
-Immersing one karela in a pan full of onion-tomato masala, calling it healthy (I end up eating one gourd nah?)
and so on and so forth.
Then one fine day, I saw this recipe from Indira and I tried it. This is so far the best way to take away the bitterness from the gourd. Believe it or not, when you finish cooking the karela this way, you can taste only 5% of the original bitterness. And no, you don’t need to fry it, soak it in masala or anything.
Indira’s recipe is for stuffed bitter gourds, but I modified the recipe so that I use the dal powder as a stir fry powder. Try this anyway you like it and you will keep making it again and again.
For 4 Bitter gourds:
For the dal powder:
Chana dal- 5 tbsp (or use chutney kadalai- dalia, like in the original recipe)
Coconut- 5 tbsp
Dried red chilies- 4
Cumin- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste
Oil- to stir fry
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Preparing the bitter gourd:
Wash the bitter gourd and using a peeler, peel the harsh surface of the gourd.
Run the knife through the gourd lengthwise, but do not cut it in to two. Scoop out the seeds.
In a microwave safe bowl, add the bitter gourd, a dash of salt, enough water to steam(about 4-5 tbsp) and steam the gourd for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the gourd from the bowl, chop them like rings. Let it cool.
Toast all ingredients given under the dal powder section and blend them to a fine powder.
Making the stir fry:
Heat oil in a pan, add any tempering(mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves) and add the chopped bitter gourd. Add salt to taste, stir fry for 2-3 minutes, add the dal powder, stir fry again, sprinkle some water for the gourd to cook through. Since it is already steamed, the gourd cooks faster and you do not need more oil or water.
Serve hot with any main dish like sambar or rasam.
I chopped the bitter gourd after steaming, but you can use it as a whole for stuffing after the steaming. Use either the dal powder, potatoes or any masala you like. And you won’t notice the bitterness at all! Steaming is the Key I guess. Thanks Indira, for this wonderful trick!
This Stir fried no bitter-better gourd goes to Priya’s Bookmarked recipes event.