Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Karela Ki Sabji (Indian Savory of Bitter Gourd)

Karele (Bitter gourd) Ki Sabji
Karela is known as bitter gourd in English. There are many varieties of bitter gourd. Difference is in color and size, All are bitter. The long and light green is more fleshy and can be used for making vegetable by chopping it but the smaller version can be used to make savory by stuffing it (Bhara Karela) or by chopping it to pieces. Though many feel it is too bitter to eat the bitterness can be well balanced by adding appropriate amount of sugar and amchur powder. Bitter gourd vegetable is very tasty and healthy. The juice of bitter gourd is used in naturopathy to cure diabetes. The recipe I am posting today is the version I like most and has been perfected after lots of permutation combination in my earlier stages of cooking. More credit should go to my husband who braved tasting every time I changed the proportions and he gave his inputs.

Preparation Time: 20-30 min.
Cooking Time: 50-60 min
Servings: 4 Large Servings

Ingredients Required For Making Karele Ki Sabji:
  • 1/2Kg. Karela (Bitter Gourd)
  • 1/2Kg. Onion
  • 2 Teaspoon Saunf (Fennel Seeds)
  • 1/2Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Red chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 2-3 Teaspoon Amchur Powder
  • 10-15 ml. of Mustard oil / any cooking oil
  • 2 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 50 gm  Groundnuts
  • Salt to taste
Direction For Making Karele Ki Sabji (Indian savory of Bitter Gourd):
  • Scrape the bitter gourd with knife to remove just the protruded green part, do not peel it.
  • Cut thin round pieces with the help of potato chip cutter or thin long 3-4 inches pieces.

Thin slices of Bitter Gourd
  • Put a spoonful of salt and mix to the pieces of bitter gourd. Cover and keep aside.
  • Roast ground nuts and remove the brown cover of ground nuts.
  • Grind coarsely the roasted ground nuts. Keep aside the coarse ground nut powder.
  • Cut onions to thin long slices.
  • Heat oil in a big thick bottom wok till oil is smoking hot.
  • Add
    • Fennel seeds
    • Broken pieces of whole red chilies
    • Let the seeds of fennel splutter and chilies (optional) become dark brown in color. Do not let the seeds and chilies become black. Black color means that they have got burnt and the taste as well as flavor of vegetable will get spoilt.
Fennel seeds spluttering in hot oil
  • When the seeds splutter add chopped onion and lower the heat.
Onions in oil tempered with fennel seeds
  • Cook the onion to transparent state with frequent stirring.
Transparant state of onion 
  • Squeeze the bitter gourd pieces. This will remove the bitter juice from them. Discard the bitter juice and keep the bitter gourd pieces aside.
  • When the onions are transparent add bitter gourd pieces and mix nicely.
Bitter Gourd added to onions
  • Add
    • Turmeric powder
    • Salt
    • Red chili powder
  • Mix and cover with a lid.
  • Cook for 25-30 min. on low heat with occasional stirring. This will cook the bitter gourd and make the onions little brown.
  • If you like the bitter gourd to be more crisp then cook for another 15 min on low heat stirring 4-5 times.
Ready for Groundnut and Garam masala 
  • Add amchur powder and sugar and mix nicely.
  • Add
    • Coarsely ground groundnut
    • Garam masala and mix nicely.
Groundnut and Garm masala added
  • Cover and keep aside for the flavors of spices to mix with each other.
Ready to Serve
  • Serve hot bitter gourd vegetable garnished with fresh coriander leaves with roti/parantha.
Karele (Bitter Gourd) Ki  Sabji
  • Make sure the fennel seeds and chili pieces do not turn black.
  • Cooking should be done on low heat else the bitter gourd will become brown in color but remain under cooked.
  • If you are using mustard oil heat it to smoking hot.
  • If you wish groundnuts can be omitted. 
Suggested Variations:
  • Groundnuts can be replaced by roasted sesame seeds. Groundnuts and sesame seeds add crunchiness and nutrition to the vegetable.
  • Bitter gourd pieces can be blanched in salted water then squeezed. This will make them soft and less bitter also the cooking time will reduce.
  • Sugar can be replaced by jaggery.
  • 15 ml. of freshly squeezed lemon juice can be taken instead of amchur. But lemon juice should be added just before adding groundnut and cooked for just a minute or two. Lemon juice if cooked for longer time it develops very unpleasant taste.


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