Most people I know do not like Karela. However this vegetable has an unique taste and if you try it with something plain, like a simple arahar dhal (split pigeon pea lentil stew) seasoned with jeera (cumin) and green chilies in ghee, or with the Tamil dish Morekuzhambu, it makes for an amazing combination.
Karela or Bitter gourd or Pavakkai in Tamil, (Botanical name Momordica charantia) is also called bitter squash, patrick or balsam pear, goya and even as Bitter melon.
When I buy karela, I try to get the ones that are long and slender but not too thin, and are green all over. Fresh karela is easy to slice and with the seeds not very large and hard.
Health and Nutrition with Bitter Gourd
The vegetable has several important nutrients and is believed to help reduce blood sugar in diabetics, as well as having possible cancer fighting properties. This article in healthline explains some of these.
Speaking from personal experience: some years ago when my husband was undergoing chemotherapy and seemed to take more medicines than food, he was just not enjoying the taste of food. For some reason that I don’t understand, the bitter gourd fry, the more bitter the better, perked him up, giving him an appetite and helping to keep the food in in spite of the nausea which he would be subjected to.
Other Recipes You May Like To Try From This Blog:
Bharwa Karela: Bitter Gourd Stuffed with Raw Mango
Bitter Gourd Fry with 5 ingredients/ Easy Karela/ Pahakkai Fry
- Chopping Board
- Frying pan
- 2 cups bitter gourd sliced - / 1 large long bitter gourd sliced as in instructions below
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ⅛ teaspoon salt - or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil - or other mild vegetable oil
- Wash the bitter gourd well, wipe dry. Remove the peel if you wish. I retain the peel as well as the tender seeds. Slice length wise first into blocks, halve and quarter each block and then slice into 1 inch long thin strips. Remove any hard seeds.Mix turmeric and a little salt and rub into the bitter gourd pieces.Set aside for 10 minutes in a colander to drain any water that may be extruded.
Making Bitter Gourd Karela Fry
- Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle.Add the sliced bitter gourd, and saute, turning them occasionally so that all sides get fried.
- Cook for about 10 minutes on low heat till done, stirring frequently.Serve with hot phulkas or with Rice and Dal or rice and Morekuzhambu