Bitter gourd /Bitter melon / Karela is one of popular edible pod vegetable in many Asian countries. It is grown widely as a field crop as well as backyard vegetable and, in fact, is among the most bitter tasting of all culinary vegetables.bitter-melons in a vine. Bitter gourds hanging down in a vine. This variety commonly found in Indian subcontinent. Noted for pointed ends. Bitter melon is a temperate/tropical vegetable probably originated in South-East Asia. Like in other members of the Cucurbitaceae family, it too is a fast-growing, trailing or climbing vine with thin stems and tendrils which require trellis to support their climbing vines.Bitter gourd pods are characterized with soft lengthwise ridges and uneven pebbly surface. Depending up on the cultivar type, its immature pods can be light to dark green and have oblong or oval shapes with a pointed tip at the blossom end. Internally, the flesh is white with rough edged seeds, somewhat similar to ridge gourd seeds in appearance. As the fruits begin to mature, they gradually become hard, turn yellow or brown in color.
Hi friends! Bitter gourd / Karelas stuffed with fresh Indian spices is irresistible. The spicy onion masala stuffing works wonders with Bitter gourd / Karelas. The stuffed Bitter gourd / Karelas are best enjoyed with Indian breads.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes Approx.
Servings : 3
Level Of Cooking : Easy
Course: Main Course-Veg
6 medium sized bitter gourd /karela
- For stuffing the bitter gourd / Karela :
- 2 big onions, finely grated
- 1 level tsp salt / or as per taste
- 1 tsp cumin seeds /jeera roasted and powdered
- 2 tbsp coriander /dhania powder
- 2 tbsp Fennel seeds, powdered
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder /haldi
- 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
- 1 tbsp dried mango powder /amchur
- 2 tbsp Mustard oil / or any other cooking oil
For Serving the bitter gourd / Karela :
- 2 medium size onions, thinly sliced
- 3 medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tbsp mustard oil / or any other cooking oil
Wash and with a peeler peel the bitter gourd / Karelas and keep the peel / scrapings aside for using later.
In boiling, water add 1 tbsp salt and put the bitter gourd / Karelas in it. When the bitter gourd / Karelas become a bit softer take them out of the water.
Let the bitter gourd / Karelas cool. With a sharp knife. Slit each bitter gourd / Karela length wise on one side, if the seeds are big scoop out and discard them.
Mix wheat flour, little turmeric powder and salt apply the mixture inside and out side of the bitter gourd / Karelas and keep asides for 1/2 hour. This will reduce the bitterness of the bitter gourd / Karelas.
For preparing the masala for stuffing the bitter gourd / Karelas:
Heat oil, add grated onions, salt, turmeric, roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and dry mango powder/amchur and cook on low flame till light golden brown.
Take out the mixture from the pan in some other container and let it cool. Stuff this well cooked masala tightly in each bitter gourd / karela. Tie thread all around the bitter gourd / karelas so that the mixture doesn’t comes out from the slit. keep aside.
In a pan take 3 tbsp of oil and heat it. Slide gently all the stuffed bitter gourd /karelas in the pan and fry it on low flame, keep turning the bitter gourd / karelas at regular intervals till it is golden brown. Cover and cook for few minutes.
For Serving the bitter gourd / Karela :
Heat the mustard oil in a non-stick pan add sliced onions, sauté till turns translucent.
Add the tomatoes, bitter gourd scrapings, turmeric powder, red chili powder dry mango powder, salt and coriander and mix well.
Sauté till the mixture leaves oil and keep aside. Take out this well cooked mixture in a serving dish and place the stuffed cooked bitter gourd / karelas on this mixture after removing the threads.
Serve hot with any Indian bread of your choice like chapatti, paranthas etc.
Health benefits of Bitter gourd / Karela (Bitter melon) :
- Bitter melon is very low in calories, carrying just 17 calories per 100 g. Nevertheless, its pods are rich sources of phytonutrients like dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.
- Bitter melon notably contains phyto-nutrient, polypeptide-P, a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it composes hypoglycemic agent called charantin. Charantin increases glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis inside the cells of liver, muscle and adipose tissue. Together, these compounds may have been thought to be responsible for blood sugar levels reduction in the treatment of type-2 diabetes.
- Fresh pods are an excellent source of folates, carrying about 72 µg/100g (18% of RDA). Vitamin folate when taken by mothers during their early pregnancy time, would help reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
- Fresh bitter melon is an excellent source of vitamin-C (100 g of raw pod provides 84 mg or about 140% of RDI). Vitamin-C is one of the powerful natural antioxidants which helps scavenge deleterious free radicals from the human body.
- Further, it is an excellent source of health benefiting flavonoids such as ß-carotene, a-carotene, lutein, and zea-xanthin. It also contains a good amount of vitamin-A. Together, these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes.
- Bitter melon stimulates easy digestion and peristalsis of food through the bowel until it is excreted from the body. Thus, it helps in relieving indigestion and constipation problems.
- In addition, it is a moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
- Early laboratory tests suggest that certain phyto-chemical compounds in bitter melon might be effective in the treatment of HIV infection.
Bitter gourd / karelas may contain alkaloid substances like quinine and morodicine, resins and saponic glycosides, which may be cause intolerance in some people. Their bitterness and toxicity may be reduced somewhat by parboiling or soaking in salt water for upto 10 -30 minutes.
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