Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kerala Karela

I didnt learn cooking the traditional way - my mom didnt teach me to cook. Not that she didnt want me to  learn, I just refused to. I didnt go through the much needed learning to turn me into a good wife for my future husband. I was convinced I brought plenty else to the marraige table. Add to that the fact that I was a picky eater as a child, karela was never in my food repertoire as a child.

Fast forward to this foodie me, I love a variety of foods, escpecially vegetables (I am a vegetarian) and I'll literally try anything once. As part of this adventurous me, I ventured into Karela (or bitter gourd). I didnt hate it. I was happy to have tried and discovered a new taste. The first karela recipe I ate was by my gujrati cooking lady who used besan for making a dry variety of Karela. It was yummy but I found it labor intensive and never really cooked it that way myself.
One day a friend of mine who hails from Kerala made me this recipe of Karela to go with Avial and Rice and that combination was da bomb. Ofcourse, I shouldve asked her for the Avial recipe, but instead I asked for this one and Ive been making Karela this way ever since.
I do recommend eating this with fluffy rice and some yogurt or go the traditional route of eating it with rotis. If you are like me and trying to cut back on gluten, eat this with brown rice and some yogurt.

So here's the recipe

4-5 dark green karela
1 med Red Onion
2 small plum tomatoes
1/2 inch of ginger, julienned

1/2 tbsp Turmeric
1 1/2 tbsp Coriander Powder (dhania powder)
1 tbsp Cumin Powder (jeera powder)
Red Chilli Powder - to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Lemon Juice

- Slice red onions and tomatoes into long slices.No need to chop them small.
- With a knife scrape the outside spikey layer of Karela. Wash the Karela and split it down the middle. Scrape the insides (seeds and pith) out of the karela to make hollow halves. Slice the halves into similar width as onions and tomatoes.
- Dry your pan, add oil to it and get it to heat up on medium heat.
- Add turmeric and onions and let the onions cook for 3-5 mins. Let them get translucent but not brown.
- Add ginger and stir for 30 secs
- Add tomatoes and then the rest of the spices (coriander, cumin and red chilli powder to taste)
- Cover and let this cook until the tomatoes start to seperate from the oil. Dont let tomatoes cook too far past this point since the mixture is going to cook a lot more with karelas.
Add the sliced karela and cover the pot again and keep the heat to medium and cook for 10-12 mins until karelas are tender.
Tip: If you want Karelas to be crisp and brown around the edges you can turn up the heat towards the end to get that crispy edges.
- Add salt and turn off the heat. I like to cover and leave it alone for a few mins. Once a little cool, garnish with coriander and squeeze of half a lime/lemon.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Archana,
    Just found your delicious blog yesterday and am reading through all your posts. This karela recipe is awesome! I am gujarati and like you mentioned, we roast the besan, then boil the karela separately and then stuff it, saute it, etc., so it can easily become a 45 minute dish. I like your quick easy version! Thanks for posting :-)