One of the most underrated vegetables in the Indian Kitchens or probably all across the world because of its bitter taste is bitter gourd. This vegetable is looked down on to the extent that in India people say: “karela yeh bhi koi khane ki cheez hai?” (Is bitter gourd worth eating?). Well! At the turn of the millennium, it has found in new avatars that are simply amazing. Let us explore the different flavours of bitter gourd that taste like heaven.
How it is cooked conventionally in Indian Kitchens?
Karela (bitter gourd) is cooked with onion and a number of condiments that can cut down its bitter taste. It is cut into round pieces after peeling and then the cut pieces are dipped in water for a few minutes to do away with the bitter taste, water is drained and it is then shallow fried and cooked. The other way of cooking it in India comprises of stuffing it with condiments and then shallow frying it. It is called bharwa karela (stuffed bitter gourd).
The Bitter Profile That Turned Amazingly Tastier:
Farzi Café in Gurgaon (a well known Indian city) in the state of Haryana serves an innovative dish of Karela which is a crispy mock-squid. What you will think as illusory with the bitter gourd will come true here. The onus of changing texture, taste and shape goes solely to this restaurant. Just think of batter-fried crispy rings of this veggie tossed in sweet-sour sauce.
Bharwaan Karele: What is this all about?
The other amazing Indian form of bitter gourd that you would come across is this popular avatar. In this recipe, small, oval and green bitter gourd are taken and then stuffed with spices of brown onions and other condiments. It is shallow fried till it turns crisp. The onion stuffing filled in it seasoned with dry mango powder (souring agent). The carmalised onions match the slight bitterness and provide a mild sweetness and dry mango powder cut down its bitterness.
How about it being stuffed with minced meat…Ever Tried?
Minced-meat stuffed bitter gourd is a famous dish in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This is the Mughlai-based tradition of cooking where all the vegetables including bitter gourd is combined with meat and cooked on dum (Awadhi style of cooking), they are cooked in spicy mince and tied up with strings.
Pavakka: Another innovation with Bitter Gourd:
Kerala another Indian state cook it as a part of their festival called “Onam Sadya.” It is called “pavakka” Strips of bitter gourd are fried in oil and in the same oil, curry leaves, mustard seeds, sliced onions and green chilies are also fried. These all are added to the coconut paste and then in the beaten yogurt. The yogurt is being tempered with red chillies, mustard and curry leaves.
This is how it looks like: