I love Karela (bitter gourd) and this time around, I wanted to write down the recipe I learnt from a Bengali neighbour while living in Pune. The basic stuffing is made of poppy and mustard seeds. This lends a distinct heat to the vegetable and even helps reduce the bitter taste I guess (who knows, I cant tell..lol). I make it often but I never thought of writing it down. A few ingredients lacking most of the time though. This post has been in a draft state for ever..i have been too tied up with things in life to have been blogging :)..better late than never is what works apt here!!..so here we go
All you need (Serves 2)
Karela - 3 or 4
Mustard seeds (black variety) - 1 tbsp
Poppy Seeds - 1 tbsp
Red chillies- 2 (adjust the chillies to suit your need - mustard seeds lend their heat)
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt to taste
A special tempering mix (very Bengali)- Panch Phoron - 1 tsp
(Fenugreek (মেথি methi), Nigella seed (কালো জিরা kalo jiraCumin seed (জিরা jira), Radhuni (রাধুনি radhuni), Fennel seed (সঁওফ sőf or মৌরি mouri) )source- wiki
til or an cooking Oil - 1 tsp
process (I'll let the pics do the talking!!)
Grind a mixture of poppy seeds, red chillies, turmeric powder
slit open small karelas and salted them and left them for ten minutes ( adding salt sweats a vegetable so be ready to give the karelas a light wash and then gently drain the excess water out)
stuff the karela with the poppy seeds paste
cook them (in a plate) in a microwave for five minutes
put in the tempering ingredients in a the pan/kadai put in pre cooked karela and cook until done (cook it in as little oil as possible...I sprinkle in some water to cook it better...its a misconception that more oil means more flavour!)
After the cooking and roasting is done. Take the karela out to serve with steamed rice or roti.
PS: i love to eat it as is!! cant help my love for the veggie!
I do not claim (bengali) authenticity of the dish ..it is something i learnt by seeing aunty (K's mom) make it..never got the chance it write it down...any suggestions pleasantly welcome!!