Khatta Meetha Karela (Bitter Gourd) Sabzi / Veg
Bitter Gourd Fans Anyone? Well, I am crazy for them. Surprised? I adore bitter dishes, rather anything bitter actually. I was a sick child until my teens, with low immunity levels and hence had to pop a lot of pills every now and then. As a child, my Mom used to crush the tablets with sugar and make a syrup sort of a thing for me to gulp it down. So, there began my first experience with bitter foods and then of course Bitter Gourd was incomparable to the tasteless bitter medicines that I had as a child. There was one major learning – Add a bit of sugar to bitter foods, they taste awesome! Lolz!
This recipe belongs to a dear MBA college mate, Tanvi Patel’s Mom. Since I was always fond of cooking, asking recipes as soon as tasting things I love, was primary of sorts. I liked cooking on weekends and trying a hand at baking cakes etc and sharing it with my friends or colleagues at work and school even then. One of the days when we were strugging with projects post classes, it was lunch time and like a good girl that Tanvi is, she brought home cooked food and her dabba or tiffin box was always wiped clean by others more than herself. She never complained and ate the canteen food we bought in exchange for the lovely food. The first time I tasted this, I loved it immediately with the bitter and sugar combo, much like our Pavakkai Pithla (South Indian Style Curry Gravy with Bitter Gourd in a Coconut Gravy, spices and tamarind paste where jaggery is added in the end to reduce the bitterness) that is often eaten with steamed rice and some dry veggie on the side. Rotis that Tanvi had got along with these were wiped clean before a blink of an eye and I was surprised to see all the haters turning into bitter gourd lovers. That very moment, the recipe was jotted down by me and ever since, I have been cooking Bitter Gourds in a similar way and each time I fall in love with Bitter Gourd slightly more.
Even though I have restrained on the oil and the sugar part, the taste is very similar to what I had back then. So, post Vishu, our New Year, there were a lot of Karelas or Bitter Gourd at home as they form a part of the Kani Decoration, I thought of making this the next day for lunch box. Some Whole Wheat Phulkas and Dahi, this is the best summer detox for the body. In fact, I always keep extra for the next day to make grilled sandwiches with karela filling. Sounds crazy? Do try and know what I mean! I dare ya! Tip – Love Cheese, throw in a slice too and see the magic. If you do, please let me know how you liked my crazy idea of a Karela Sandwich.
Check out the easy recipe and try some today.
Recipe for Khatta Meetha Karela Sabzi Veg (Sweet and Tangy Bitter Gourd Vegetable)
Prep Time – 15 minutes
Cook Time – 20 to 30 minutes
- Bitter gourd – 4 medium sized finely chopped after removing the seeds
- Tomatoes – 2 big or 4 small (to be pureed)
- Onions – 2 big or 4 small (finely chopped)
- Jeera – 1 tsp
- Chilly powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Oil – 2 tblps
- Jaggery – 2 tsps
- Salt – as per taste
- Heat a kadhai or a non-stick, add 1 tblsp of oil and saute the bitter gourd on a low flame until it turns slightly brown.
- If you are not worried about calories, go ahead and deep fry the same. It will taste really good.
- However, I choose to saute over low flame and keep mixing it at regular intervals to ensure even cooking and browning.
- Do not add any water nor cover the pan for cooking this.
- Once the bitter gourd is cooked, remove it from the pan and keep it aside.
- Now in the same kadhai, add 1 tblsp of oil, jeera and the finely chopped onions.
- Saute the onions until they are translucent.
- Then add the puree of tomatoes, turmeric powder, chilly powder & cook the mixture well on low heat.
- Once the gravy is cooked (indicated by thickening of mixture and the oil on the sides of the pan), add the jaggery.
- The gravy will turn slightly glossy due to the caramelization effect.
- Add the pre-cooked karela or bitter gourd to this mixture, stir well, add salt & some coriander leaves.
- Allow it to cook for 5 odd minutes before you switch off the flame.
- Serve hot with parathas or rotis or kadhi chawal.
Recipe Notes –
- If you own an Air fryer, you can cook the karelas in the same too with even less oil.
- Many folks who don’t like Bitter Gourd or wish to reduce the bitterness, opt for soaking the finely chopped pieces into a bowl of salted water for 30 odd minutes and then draining the water, rinsing and ready to use. I skip the process entirely as I prefer the bitterness and also, I don’t prefer excess salt in food.
- Don’t wish to finely chop the bitter gourd and do circles, go ahead.