Sunday, June 20, 2010

Karela Masala (Bitter gourd Masala)

I tasted this recipe from office. My colleague P and boss S used to bring it -  a typical Punjabi preparation they said. But the best part of it was that it did not taste like Bitter gourd, or so I thought, till I actually saw the pieces to believe it.

The knack lies apparently in choosing succulent young Karela's (Bitter Gourd). I obviously do not know how to do that. So I leave that to chance. The next step apparently is to prepare the Karela for this dish. Lets see how it is done:


  1. Karela (Bitter Gourd) - Young and Tender - 3-4
  2. Onions - 3
  3. Potato - 1 boiled (optional) - I did not use this, but then this is a good to have item in this preparation
  4. Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
  5. Red Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
  6. Corriander Powder - 1 tsp
  7. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  8. Fennel Seeds Powder (Saunf) - 2 tsp
  9. Dry Mango Powder (Amchur) - 2 tsp
  10. Kasuri Methi - 2 tsp
  11. Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  12. Salt - to taste
  13. Sugar - 1 tsp + 2 tsp
  14. Jeera - for seasoning
  15. Oil - for tying
  16. Thread - for tying the Karela together
  1. Wash the Karela, grate its uneven outer skin (Do not peel it entirely)
  2. Make a vertical slit, taking care not to cut it into 2 pieces.They should still remain joint.
  3. Dry well and rub Salt outside and inside the slit Karela.
  4. Leave overnight.
  5. Wash and Dry the Karela the next morning.
  6. You could also rub salt and set aside for 1-2 hours. By keeping it overnight, you are letting the vegetable absorb the salt - this also helps in reducing the bitter taste of the vegetable.
  7. Grind together - 1 Onion, Ginger-Garlic Paste, Chilly, Turmeric, Corriander Powders, Garam Masala, Saunf Powder, Amchur powder, Kasuri Methi, Salt and Sugar to a fine paste without adding any water.
  8. Set aside 3-4 tablespoons of this masala (or even more if you wish so)
  9. Stuff this preparation inside the slit Karela's (You could mix the boiled and mashed potato or other veggies at this stage). Optionally, you could also cook small onions in this masala and stuff them inside the vegetable, but it becomes a tad bit tedious.
  10. Tie the vegetable with thread and shallow fry them till all sides are cooked.
  11. Drain, set aside, remove the thread and cut them into 2 inch pieces.
  12. Heat the remaining oil (from shallow frying the Karela) and add Jeera.
  13. Cut the remaining 2 onions and fry them well.
  14. Add the ground masala that you have set aside and fry till onions turn brown and the raw smell of the masala goes away.
  15. Add 2 tsp sugar to this mixture. 
  16. Add salt to taste.
  17. Add the cut Karela pieces and fry till it is completely dry,
  18. Serve hot with Roti's and Rice

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