Kaju Karle

Kaju Karle is a typical, excellent dish from the Maharashtrian cuisine made with bitter-gourd cooked with cashew nuts and spices. This is basically a dry dish and can be served with roti, chapatti, phulkas or rice.

Bitter-gourd is one vegetable that people just run away hearing the name itself. Rarely would you find people eating this vegetable and kids absolutely would never come near this veggie. But even if the vegetable is terribly bitter, it is an amazing source for most of the diabetic patients as this vegetable is packed with incredible nutrients and minerals. The bitter gourd contains a hypoglycemic compound that helps in lowering the sugar levels in blood and urine.

Bitter gourd is widely available in India and is used in making a variety of Indian dishes regardless of its bitterness. Generally many of us use some tamarind juice and jaggery in the process of cooking which helps in reducing the bitterness.  The wonderful element about making this dish is that you get to enjoy all possible flavours like bitterness, sweetness from coconut / sugar, nuttiness from cashew nuts and spiciness.

Dishes made with bitter gourd are very popular throughout South Asia. In Northern India, the bitter gourd is often prepared with potatoes and served with yogurt to offset the bitterness. It is also stuffed with spices and cooked in oil (Stuffed Karela fry) whereas in southern India, it is used is making different varieties of curries like Pavakkai Ulathiyathu (karela with coconut), Karela chips, Kakarakaya pulusu, Kakarakaya Vellulli Karam, Bitter gourd gojju etc. In Konkan region of Maharashtra, salt is added to finely chopped bitter gourd and then it is squeezed, removing its bitter juice to some extent. After frying this with different spices, less bitter and crispy preparation is served with grated coconut.

Generally cashew nuts or cashew nut paste is added most Mughlai or Hyderbadi recipes. The ground paste adds a richness, nice taste and texture to the dish. Fried cashew nuts added to a variety of pulaos etc. Crunchy fried bitter gourds tossed with cooked cashew nuts, grated coconut and sugar taste extremely unique, bursting with flavours. This side dish is a great accompaniment for kadhi chawal.

Cashew nuts, when added to any food give an excellent nutty flavour to the dish. Cashew nuts are especially used generously in North Indian cooking. Apart from adding that extra zing to the taste, cashew nuts which are mildly sweet yet crunchy is packed with energy, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for robust health.

There are wonderful homemade sweet and savory recipes that you can delight your family and friends with cashew nuts such as Kaju Katli, Cashew biscuit, Cashew Chikki, Vegetable Kolhapuri, Kaju Matar Usal, Chicken with cashew nuts and many more.

To prepare this wonderful Kaju Karle – Bitter melon with Cashew nut curry, firstly scrape off the skin from the bitter gourd, cut length wise and clean it from inside by removing the seeds. Sprinkle some salt over the karela pieces and mix them well. Leave it aside for about 5 to 10 mins and then squeeze the bitter gourd pieces well to remove the moisture (this helps in removing the bitter taste to some extent).

Heat oil in a pan, and when it is enough hot, add cumin seeds. When it splutters add the karela pieces and sauté well.  Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 4-5 minutes in its own juices in medium heat.  Add hing, turmeric and red chilli powder. Add raw cashew nuts, cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes on slow flame until the cashew nuts also gets a golden hue.  Add pinch of sugar, grated coconut and mix well.  Finish this dish off garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves.

Do try this recipe. If you feel that the bitter melon is bitter, there are many ways to reduce the extent of bitterness. Acquiring the goodness of this vegetable is the most important thing as the health benefits of this strange bitter vegetable are plentiful, particularly in managing diabetes and typically convincing yourself and family with such exceptional and delicious recipe would also benefit the health of all.

Bitter melon is rich in iron and widely used as medicine. You must be asking yourself that in spite of its bitter taste why it has become a good choice to eat by many? The answer is very simple and 100% true that it contains twice the potassium of bananas, twice the beta-carotene than broccoli, and twice the calcium of spinach and also contain vitamins C, B1, B2, B3 and fibre.

Click on the below link for viewing the making of Kaju Karle:


Enjoy Cooking!