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  • Writer's pictureAmitesh Virdi

Karela masala

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

bitter gourd or bitter melon is one of the best antioxidants. It cleanses liver, purifies blood, improves immunity, makes skin lustrous and improves hair texture amongst many other benefits. Some squeeze its juice, others will puree it in a blender and drink it. Some apply the juice on hair and scalp to get the shine, softness and cure dandruff.

Well, it certainly is one of the best fruits available with ample qualities.

tips: a few ingredients are optional here. – if you do not want to eat high cholesterol ingredients like Cashews, these can be omitted. Cashew powder mellows down the bitterness of karela. – jaggery / raisins are optional if you are avoiding sweeteners. – ghee is optional. Though ghee pairs up brilliantly well with jaggery and enhances taste. – when you are done boiling karela, drain water and rinse it well under regular tap water. This will bring it to room temperature and stop further cooking.

there are a few ways to cut down the bitterness: 1. sprinkle salt and haldi / turmeric powder. Keep it for 30 min and then squeeze away the bitter juice. 2. boil it with a tsp salt and 1/2 tsp haldi for 20 min. 3. powder cashew nuts in a grinder. Use the powdered cashew to cut down its bitterness. 4. use fennel seeds and jaggery to cut down on bitterness.

total time: 60 min 
(preparation time: 40 min; cooking time: 20 min) 

what you will need: 
karela / bitter gourd - 6 to 7 pcs, sliced roundels 
salt - 1 tsp 
turmeric - 1/2 tsp 
water - 1 ltr to boil bitter gourd and drain 
oil - 500 ml, to deep fry bitter gourd slices 
onion - 1 large, fine chopped 
tomato - 1/2, puree 
garlic - 5 pods, peeled, fine chopped 
green chili - 1 pc, deseed and chop 
raw mango - 1/4 pc, fine chopped 
fennel seeds - 1 tsp 
cumin seeds - 1 tsp 
fenugreek / methi seeds - 5 pcs 
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp 
amchur powder / dried raw mango powder- 1/2 tsp 
salt - to taste 
turmeric - 1/2 tsp 
cashew - 10 pcs, put in grinder and powder (optional)
raisins - 10 pcs, soaked in water (optional) 
jaggery powder - 1 tsp (optional) 
ghee - 2 tsp (optional)
coriander - a few sprigs 

how to: 
- slice roundels of all bitter gourd pieces. 
- boil water, add salt and turmeric. 
- add the sliced roundels. 
- leave to cook for 15-20 min. 
- drain, cool and squeeze rest of the water out too. 
- heat oil for deep frying 
- once hot, add roundels in small batches and fry to golden colour. I like karela crisp in this recipe. You can skip frying part if you don’t want it that way.
- heat 2 tsp oil in a kadhai/wok. 
- add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds. 
- add chopped green chili and garlic. 
- add chopped onion. Cook till golden. 
- add chopped raw mango, red chili powder, turmeric powder, amchur powder and salt. 
- add tomato puree and 1/4 cup water.
- cook well till water dries up. 
- add cashew powder, raisins and bitter gourd roundels. 
- mix well. 
- remove from flame, add powder jaggery, ghee and coriander. Mix. 
- serve hot. 
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