I have always loved challenges and kind of get bored if I do not have one for a while. That is one of the reasons why I seldom cook the same dishes over and over although sometimes I do depending on availability of time. I love to experiment and to me karela, bittergourd is presents a great opportunity to experiment simply because if it is not cooked well it may go straight into the bin. I decided to take a punt this time with karela and did not want to get into my comfort zone and make stuffed karela, which by the way are awesome. For a change I wanted to try a gravy, more like a side dish for rotis/chapattis. I looked up few recipes and one gave me an idea that I could add crispy karela to the curry and what better way than to bake it and make it low fat! The results were so good that one of our guest was talking about it even few days after he came for a meal to our place. I quite liked them as well. I do think they may taste great with maida roti as the delicate taste of the roti will complement the mixed flavours in the curry. We had it with wholewheat rotis and we did enjoy it. Here is how to make it…
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon chilly powder
1 teaspoon kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tablespoon coconut cream or coconut paste
2 karelas, deseeded and chopped
Salt to taste
Add some salt to the chopped karelas and leave for 15-30 minutes so it gives away its juices and bitterness. I usually skip this step coz I do not mind the bitterness but you may want to do so.
Rinse and drain them and add a teaspoon oil and mix and place in a oven proof dish and bake at 180degC for 30 minutes and keep mixing it once or twice in between
Heat some oil in a skillet and add mustard seeds. Once it crackles, add onions and fry until soft
Add the tomatoes and cook covered until tomatoes become mushy
Add the tomato puree, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilly powder and requied salt. Add a wee bit of water as well and allow the mix to boil.
Add the kasoori methi and coconut cream, mix and simmer for about 3-5 minutes
Add the baked crispy karela and serve hot!
It goes well with rotis/chappatis and also variety rice like ghee rice, onion garlic rice.
Some may wonder why I used tomatoes and tomato puree. As we are dealing with a bitter veggie, the tanginess of the tomato will help deal with it better. I used preservative free double concentrated puree and results were great.