Here to read about some of its medicinal properties.
Some people coat this vegetable with salt for an hour and drain out the liquid to reduce the bitterness, and some people add gud (jaggery) for the same. I prefer adding jaggery rather than squeezing out all the liquid because, the liquid has a lot of nutritional value.
I am Gujarati, and as you know that all traditional Gujarati dishes have to have jaggery or sugar added to it:), karela is no exception either. I know some people who make this subzi by squeezing out the liquid (removing bitterness and nutrition) AND adding gud (for better taste). I think it is the worst of all the options.
I agree that karela is too bitter to eat without adding a lot of gud to the subzi, but I think, if you can add some other ingredients to the subzi to subside the bitterness, but still retain its nutritional value, it is more beneficial.
Usually, when I make karela, I make it like any other subzis, but last night, I tried a little different method. I made stuffed karela. I had never made this before, and I didn’t have any recipe to follow, so I added the ingredients that I thought might go well with the subzi. Here is how I made it.
5-6 Small Karelas (Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon),
2 Tablespoon Oil (You can add more oil if you want to make the subzi a bit crunchy)
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
¼ Teaspoon Hing (Asafoetida)
4 Tablespoon Besan (Gram Flour),
2 Tablespoon Coarsely Ground Roasted Peanuts,
2 Teaspoon Jaggery, Shredded or Cut into Very Small Pieces,
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds,
Salt to taste
¼ Teaspoon Turmeric,
1.5 Teaspoon Chili Powder, or to Taste,
1.5 Teaspoon Coriander-Cumin Powder,
1/8 Teaspoon Garam Masala
Mix all the stuffing ingredients and keep aside.
Wash the karelas thoroughly and scrape off the skin. Make a lengthwise slit and hollow them out by removing the seeds. Stuff the besan mixture in the karelas and steam them for 20 minutes or until they are tender, but can still hold their shape.
Heat oil in a frying pan; when it is hot, add the cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to crackle, add the asafoetida. Now add about 1/8th cup water to this. Add the steamed and cut karela pieces and stir gently. Cover and cook on low flame for 5-7 minutes. Take off of the stove, and serve hot with roti or paratha.
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