We have already posted certain delicious recipe using Bitter Gourd as the main vegetable. As we had said, Bitter Gourd (Karela / Pavakkai) is considered as a great vegetable for diabetic control. Even otherwise, this vegetable has a high nutritious value. Many do not like this vegetable due to its bitter taste. But, if cooked with the right method and ingredients to balance the bitterness of the vegetable, many delicious recipes can be prepared with this vegetable. One such dry vegetable dish with Bitter Gourd is Kaju Karela. Kaju means Cashew Nuts and Karela is Bitter Gourd (also known as Pavakkai). Let us see how to go about cooking this tasty dish.
Bitter Gourd – 250 Gms
Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
Cashew Nuts – 20 (parted into two pieces)
Oil – 2 tbsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp
Dried Red Chillies – 2 (broken)
Turmeric Powder – 1/8 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Seed Powder – ½ tsp
Cumin Seed Powder – ¼ tsp
Amchur Powder (Dry Mango Powder) – ¼ tsp
Jaggery – ½ tsp to 1 tsp to balance the bitterness of Bitter Gourd
Salt to taste
Grated Coconut = 2 tbsp
Cilantro – 2 tbsp
Cut the Bitter Gourd vertically into two. Discard the seeds if they are hard. Cut them into medium thin slices.
Add Salt and a spoon of Lemon Juice. Mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes at least.
Wash them under running water and squeeze out the water. This process will remove the bitterness from the Bitter Gourd to a great extent.
Heat the Oil in a pan. Add Asafoetida and Cumin Seeds. When the Cumin Seeds start sizzling, add the dried Red Chillies. Stir for a few seconds. Add Turmeric Powder and stir.
Add the bitter Gourds. Stir cook for 2 to 3 minutes in low medium flame stirring at intervals.
Cover the pan and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add Red Chilli Powder, Coriander Chilli Powder, Dry Mango Powder and Jaggery. Stir very well till the Jaggery melts and combine with everything else. Adjust Salt at this stage.
Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes in low flame stirring in between till the raw flavor of Masala goes away.
In the meanwhile, roast the Cashews golden in a spoon of Oil. Add them to the Bitter Gourd which is simmering. (Keep some cashews away for garnishing later.) Add the grated Coconut and chopped Cilantro. Stir well and continue simmering for another minute. Transfer to a serving plate.
Garnish with Cashew Nuts. Serve with Roti, Nan and Chappati etc.
People tend to remove the skin of the Bitter Gourd. But, if the Bitter Gourd is fresh and tender, there is no need to remove the skin. The skin does contain lot of health benefits. You can leave the seeds also if they are tender.
Adding more Cashews increase the taste of this dish. So, adjust as per your needs.