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Bharvaan Karela - Stuffed Bitter Melon - Stuffed Bitter Gourd

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Bitter Gourd just has to be my least favorite vegetable. Inspite of this, I have to admit it is one of those "good for you" foods! In India, karela (bitter gourd/ melon) is often prescribed to those with diabetes as it is believed to have properties that lower blood sugar levels. It is also thought to be an excellent blood purifier and also often used to treat problems like acne.

In this recipe, the karela (bitter gourd/ melon) is stuffed with a tangy filling! The best part? The bitterness of the karela is more or less removed with a 'special treatment'!

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized karelas/ bitter melon
  • 1/2 cup vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp saunf/ fennel seeds
  • 3 large onions chopped very fine
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped very fine
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt

Preparation:

  • Wash the karelas. Cut off top and tail. Slit them through lengthwise leaving 1/2" from top and bottom ends so that the two halves do not separate. Carefully, use a spoon to scoop out the pith. Discard the pith.
  • Put 4 cups of water in a deep vessel and add 1 tbsp of salt to it. Mix to dissolve salt. Put the karelas in this salt water and set up to boil. When water comes to a boil, simmer and cook till the karela skin begins to get soft. Remove from water, drain well and keep aside on a plate to cool.
  • In a separate pan, heat 2-3 tbsps of cooking oil. Add the saunf/ fennel seed to the oil and fry till spluttering stops. Now add the onions and fry till soft. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Now add the tomato and cook till pulpy.
  • Add the tomato sauce, turmeric, red chilli, coriander, and cumin powders and salt to taste. Mix well. Fry for 8-10 minutes, stirring often to prevent from burning. Turn off fire and allow mixture to cool completely.
  • Fill this mixture in the pre-cooked karelas. Tie with a string (to prevent filling from spilling out) and keep aside.
  • Heat 3-4 tbsp of oil in a pan on medium flame. Add the karelas to the oil and fry till crispy. Now turn and fry the same way on the other side. Add more cooking oil if required. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep on paper towels.
  • Serve with rice and Daal of your choice.
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