To be honest! I hated bitter gourd or Karela as we call them in India when I was a child. So bitter! I mean, which school going kid likes Karela or for that matter Parmal, Ghiya, Tori. Yuck! Where these green vegetables are concerned, Mom tried her level best to camouflage them with other colorful sabzis or mix them in such a manner that I would never know, but the smart kid that I was, I instantly spotted her attempts at deceptive imagery.
Things started changing when I was growing up. Just like a bitter person is the last one anyone befriends, the bitter karela took me some time to get used to. Perhaps, I had started realizing its worth. Where its medicinal benefits are concerned it is the King. It is a natural hypoglycemic and as such used to treat diabetes. It helps in the cure of skin diseases, fever, abdominal pain and boosts the treatment of HIV and AIDS. It is said to help cure alcoholism, losing weight and easing out respiratory problems.
Bitter Gourd has usually taken the place of a side dish; one among the many served on the table. I have started enjoying it as a snack too. Of recent, it has become more visible in Namkeen shops; deep-fried and spiced up to give a crunchy tangy kick. Today is “Sabzi Tarkari Din”, an initiative started by Rushina Ghildiyal to celebrate the bountiful produce grown in our country and highlight the vegetables that every Indian meal is incomplete about. While I have eaten Karela mostly scraped and filled with masalas before mummified with a white thread in kitchens, on this special celebration it is my attempt to celebrate this underrated vegetable and place it in the center of the table as the main dish. I chose to stuff it with Chicken Keema and shallow fry it before pouring a special thick sauce to add more gloss to its appearance and richness to its taste. I hope you make it and relish it as much as we did. Which vegetable marked a place on your thali today? Do you have a special recipe for this vegetable? Do share. I would love to hear from you.
|Prep Time||30 mins|
|Cook Time||50 mins|
- 250 gm Chicken minced
- 500 gms Bitter Gourd/Karela
- 2 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 inch Ginger
- 2 tsp chopped coriander
- 2 tomatoes
- 4 tbsp milk
- 3 Green chillies
- 11/2 tsp red chilli powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- In a kadahi, add 2 tbsp of oil. Add onions and fry till brown. Remove half of the fried onions for garnishing later. To the remaining, add grated ginger and garlic. Fry them.
- Puree tomatoes and green chillies in a mixer. Mix into the above and cook. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt to taste.
- Finally add the minced chicken( Keema) and chopped coriander. Cook till done. Leave to cool.
- Wash and scrape the karelas. Slit and remove the seeds. Rub the karelas with about 1 tsp of salt and leave it to rest for about 20 mins. You can do this before you start cooking the keema too. Letting it sweat is important to lessen its bitterness.
- Wash it nicely to remove salt and fill it with the keema/minced chicken mix. Tie the karelas with any thread so as not to spill its contents while frying.
- In a pan add oil and add the karela. Shallow fry them till they turn soft and are properly cooked. Take them out on a platter
- After the karelas have been filled with the keema, put the leftover keema in a grinder and puree it using some water.
- In a pan, add about a tablespoon of oil, pour this keema sauce add 1/2 tsp red chilli powder and taste if more salt is needed. Add the 4 tbsp of milk to add gloss to the sauce.
- Lay the cooked bitter gourd on a platter. Garnish with chopped fried onions kept aside. Pour the keema sauce and serve hot.