Food & Nutrition Recipes

Ways to make Karela more interesting

Bitter gourd or Indian karela hardly finds a place in most Indian homes or plates. The humble vegetable, even though, is rich in Vitamin A and C, potassium, zinc, iron and folate, is generally not welcomed with a smile. The power-packed vegetable helps our body to build red blood cells and increase immunity and is highly recommended to diabetic patients to control their sugar levels. Since the vegetable is generally looked upon as a necessary medicine, people buying and consuming conveniently ignore the method of preparing it. Loads of oil and spices are added to reduce the bitterness and sadly the nutritional value diminishes too.

The rugged surfaced vegetable is unfortunately despised for both its looks and its taste. While one can do little about the looks one can definitely work on the taste. This article brings out the goodness of vegetables and a few interesting ways to prepare them.

Stuffed karela

  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Makes: 4
  • Type: Main course

Ingredients:

  • Bitter gourd: 4 medium-sized
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for filling:

  • Olive oil: 2 tbsps.
  • Onion: 2
  • Cottage cheese: 200 grams
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp.
  • Deghi mirch powder: 1 tsp.
  • Amchoor powder: 1 tsp.
  • Coriander powder: 1 tsp.
  • Jeera powder: 1 tsp.
  • Ginger garlic paste: ½ tsp.
  • Fennel seeds (crushed): ½ tsp.
  • Salt to taste

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Method:

  • Slit the bitter gourd in the centre and scoop out the flesh and seeds. Reserve the flesh and discard the seeds. Rub a generous amount of salt and leave it for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling by sautéing finely chopped onions in a teaspoon of oil.
  • In a bowl crumble the cottage cheese and keep aside. Also, chop the scooped-out flesh finely.
  • In another bowl add all the spice powders and make a thin paste with some water.
  • Once the onions are golden brown, add the spice powder paste and ginger garlic paste. Cook covered for 2-3 minutes on a low flame till all the water is evaporated and the spices are cooked.
  • Add the crumbled paneer, chopped flesh and crushed fennel seeds.
  • Season with salt. Cover and cook for a minute.
  • Let the filling cool.
  • Wash the bitter gourd well and pat them dry.
  • Fill them with the filling and place them on a plate. Drizzle the 1 tablespoon of oil on the vegetable and coat them well.
  • Preheat the air-fryer to 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  • Air fry the stuffed karela for 10-12 minutes or till the flesh is soft to cut. Ensure to turn them periodically to get an even colouration.
  • These dry stuffed karela can be served with hot phulkas.

Karela in curd gravy

  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Makes: 4
  • Type: Main course

Ingredients:

  • Bitter gourd: 4 medium-sized
  • Potato: 2
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
  • Deghi mirch: ½ tsp.
  • Rice flour: 1 tbsp.
  • Coconut oil: 2 tbsps.
  • Salt to taste
  • Coconut scrapping: ¼ cup.
  • Green chilli: 2
  • Curd: 2 cups
  • Besan: 1 tsp.
  • Sugar: 1 tsp.
  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida: ½ tsp.
  • Fenugreek seeds: ½ tsp.
  • Curry Leaves: a sprig

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Method:

  • Chop bitter gourd into small chunks. Peel and cut potatoes also in the same way.
  • To the cut vegetables add ½ tsp of turmeric powder and ½ tsp of deghi mirch. Mix well and add rice flour, salt to taste and a tablespoon of hot coconut oil. Coat the vegetables well.
  • Preheat the air-fryer to 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. Cook the vegetables along with the coating for about 7-8 minutes or till well done. Toss the vegetables occasionally for even cooking.
  • For the gravy: Grind coconut scrapings and green chilli to a smooth paste. Add curd, besan and sugar and blend well. Add about a cup of water to dilute the paste.
  • Heat the remaining oil and add mustard seeds and asafoetida. Let them splutter. Add fenugreek and curry leaves and sauté for a minute. Add the curd and coconut paste along with ½ tsp of turmeric powder and bring it to a boil. Add the air-fried vegetables and season with salt. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes. Adjust the consistency by adding some water if it is dry or by cooking for a little longer if it is runny. The consistency should be that of a thick dal or sambar.
  • Serve hot with rice.

Crispy bitter gourd rings

  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Makes: 4
  • Type: Accompaniment

Ingredients:

  • Bitter gourd: 8
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Chilli powder: ½ tsp
  • Dry mango powder: ½ tsp
  • Besan: 4 tbsps
  • Rice flour: 3 tbsps
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil: 3 tsp
  • Chat masala to sprinkle

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Method:

  • Thinly slice the karela.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the ingredients, other than chat masala, over the sliced bitter gourd. Mix well.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. Place the well-coated karela slices in the air fryer and cook for about 10 minutes or till they are golden brown and crispy. Toss them at regular intervals.
  • Take them out and sprinkle chat masala before serving.

The nutritious bitter gourd can be transformed into a delicious dish with very few ingredients and not much hard work. All one needs is to accept the vegetable with as much love as other favourite vegetables. And Voila! We have a crowd-pulling recipe.

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