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Bitter Gourd Masala

Till about last week, I had never ever tasted Karela. Though I loved bitter chocolate, karela was very conveniently skipped.  I visited a Convent since I was assisting at a session and was served lunch which had Karela among other things. I don’t know if it was hunger pangs after 16 hours of fasting or a rash moment of adventure, I decided to taste a teensy weensy slice of karela. Guess what? I loved it. Since then I made karela in recheado which my brother loved (hard to please him so it must have been good). I shall keep the recheado karela for another post. Here’s something to begin the joyful season of Lent. 

Collect it:

· 2 Karelas/bitter gourd

· 2 medium size Onions, finely chopped

· 2 Tomatoes, finely chopped

· 5 Green Chillies, chopped

· 3 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped

· 1 tbsp small dried shrimp (optional)

· 1 tsp Turmeric powder

· 1 tsp Red Chillie powder

1 tsp jeerem meerem powder

· Salt to taste

· ½ tsp Sugar or a piece of Jaggery (I used Kerala jaggery) 

· 1 sprig Curry leaves

Make it:

CUT the bitter gourd/karela in half. Remove the seeds. Generously cover it with salt. Make sure the salt is rubbed on both sides. Set it aside for a while, say 20 minutes.

WASH, slice into semi circles, fry till brown and crisp. Drain and set aside.

In the same oil, ADD chopped Garlic n all the ingredients. Fry well.

Now ADD the spices and the bitter gourd (Karela) Karelas, cook on low flame for about five minutes. Add Sugar or jaggery and it’s ready to serve.


It is important to follow step 1. It knocks off the bitterness to a large extent.

I did not add the shrimp.

Check out the Kitchen Staples section to read the recipe of jeerem meerem powder

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