Bitter Melon is a fantastic combination of sweet, spicy and sour ingredients mixed together and stuffed into the bitter melon, fried until done. This is a classic delicacy made with bitter melon amalgamated with various spices to give a pleasant taste and helps in removing the bitterness from the vegetable. This dish goes excellently good with chapatti, roti or rice. The stuffed bitter melon is made with absolutely fresh, shiny and tender vegetable.
Bitter melon coconut is a dry dish having a unique taste and can also be eaten on its own. This is one of the brilliant ways of making the bitter melons that gives a pleasant and exotic taste on bite. Bitter melon is also popularly known as bitter gourd or karela or kakarakai or pavakkai. Bitter melon is a tropical vine of the cucurbitaceae family widely grown in Asia, Africa and Caribbean. It’s an edible vegetable and is also one amongst the most bitter of all veggies.
There are varied shapes and bitterness of the fruit. The name ‘bitter’ comes from the bitter taste of this vegetable, considered the most bitter among all edible vegetables. Bitter gourd (karela) is one of the most valuable herbs gifted by earth as it has enormous medicinal and nutritional benefits. In India, the bitter gourd is more of a narrower shape with pointed ends and surface covered with jagged, triangular "teeth" and ridges. It is green to white in color.
Apart from being eaten mainly as vegetable, it is particularly reputed as a folk medicine due to its therapeutic properties. Although the bitter taste can turn you away, but it can really improve your health. Bitter gourd is one of the best vegetable fruit that helps improve diabetic and toxemia conditions. This is a common vegetable native to tropical countries such as India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines and China. It is 10 cm to 20 cm long, tapering at the end and covered with blunt tubercles and is bitter in taste.
This vegetable is generally cooked in the green or early yellowing stage. A variety of dishes are prepared with this vegetable. Normally many of us hate this vegetable mainly for its bitter taste but there are ways to reduce the bitterness by slicing the karela into length wise scooping out the seeds and soak it in salt water for about half an hour which helps in removing the bitter flavor. Normally it’s the smaller variety that is bitterer than the bigger one.
But this bitter vegetable mainly for its bitterness has got umpteen therapeutic properties to cure diabetics and digestive problems to name a few. With the good expertise of culinary skills, there are a number of delectable and exotic recipes that can be prepared with this bitter melon. Bitter gourd (karela) has been used as a folk medicine in various Asian and African traditional medicine systems for a long time. Like most bitter-tasting foods, bitter gourd is claimed to stimulate digestion, and help treat dyspepsia, gastrointestinal diseases and constipation.
Bitter melon contains a unique phyto-constituent that has been confirmed to have a hypoglycemic effect called charantin. There is also another insulin-like compound known as polypeptide P which has been suggested as insulin replacement in some diabetic patients. Bitter gourd is often used in Chinese cooking for bitter flavor and used in stir fries often with pork, soups and also as tea. Bitter gourd is popular throughout India and is prepared in various ways as per the regional tastes and choice.
In north India, the karela is often prepared with potatoes called as Sabji served with yoghurt on the side to offset the bitterness. As Punjabi cuisine is popular for its spicy food, the karela here are stuffed with spices and the fried in oil to truly taste yum and delicious. Some of the popular dishes made with Bitter melon or karela are: Karela Fry – Bitter melon fry Karela fry/ bitter melon fry/ Kakarakaya Vepudu is a simple Indian food recipe using bittergourd and spices.
Karela slices are sauteed with caramalized onions, spices and fried to perfection. Stuffed Karela fry Bitter gourd/ bitter melon are slit, stuffed with spicy, tangy mixture and deep fried. Bitter melon if cooked correctly can be very delicious. This side dish goes well with chapati, roti or rice. Kaju Karle Karela Bitter melon with Cashew nuts Excellent Maharashtrian dish made with bitter gourd cooked with cashew nuts and spices.
Kaju Karela (Crispy Cashew nuts Bitter Gourd) is delicious dry veg recipe. Deadly combination of cashew nuts, bitter melon gives awesome tastes it goes very well as a side dish to curd rice. Pavakkai Pitlai with Sambhar Powder Pavakkai Pitlai With Sambhar Powder is Bitter melon sambar popular prepared in the interior areas of Tamil Nadu. Bitter melon cooked in tangy tamarind water and spiced with sambar powder and black channa (Indian desi channa) added to the sambar.
Spiny Gourd Onion Tomato Fry Spiny gourd quarters are slow roasted in spices which bring out the flavor of the vegetable. It has a meaty texture and a unique flavor and makes a good side with rice and rasam or pappu pulusu. The bitter gourd has excellent medicinal virtues. It is antidotal, antipyretic tonic, appetizing, stomachic, antibilious and laxative. The bitter gourd is also used in native medicines of Asia and Africa.
Bitter gourds are very low in calories but dense with precious nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3, C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and has high dietary fiber. It is rich in iron, contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana. It helps purify blood tissue, enhances digestion, and stimulates the liver.
How to prepare Bitter Melon Coconut:
- Coconut, grated - 3 tbsp
- Black Pepper - ½ tsp
- Channa Dal - 1 tbsp
- Dry Red Chillies - 5-6 nos
- Roasted Channa Dal - 2 tbsp
- Urad Dal - 2 tbsp
- Curry leaves - 2-3 sprigs
- Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Jaggery - 1 tsp
- Tamarind pulp - ¼ cup
- Bitter Melon, deseeded - 5-6 nos
- Chilli powder - ½ tsp
- In a hot pan, dry roast shredded coconut until it turns golden in color. Put in a plate and keep aside.
- In the same pan, add some whole black pepper, channa dal, dry red chillies, roasted channa dal, urad dal, curry leaves, sesame seeds and dry roast all ingredients until you get a pleasant flavor.
- Blend all these ingredients in a mixie to a smooth powder.
- Remove and put it in a plate.
- Add in the roasted shredded coconut and salt to taste. Mix all ingredients well.
- Add some jaggery or sugar in this mixture and mix well.
- Add some tamarind pulp to this mixture and make it into thick dough.
- Wash the Bitter Melons (Karela), peel their skin and deseed the inside part of the karelas.
- Stuff the masala mixture into the Bitter melons and keep aside.
- Put some oil in a pan or kadai and when it becomes hot, add in the stuffed bitter melons and cook it over medium flame for about 20-25 minutes until nicely cooked on all sides.
- Once the bitter melon is cooked on all sides switch off the flame and sprinkle very little salt and chilli powder over the bitter melons and toss well.
- Cover the pan with a lid and allow cooling and then serve onto a plate.
Karela is generally avoided by most of us as it has a bitter taste, but if cooked rightly, it can just allure your taste buds. It has always been a new experience while cooking with this vegetable. Do try these recipes and delight your palate with different variations. To try more exotic dishes, do click on: https://www.vahrehvah.com You could always reach me at my below links:
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