Karela or bitter gourd used to be a dish I ran from when I was a kid. Who am I kidding? Even for half my adult life!
(Some also call them Bitter Melons. It’s called paagakaai in Tamil.)
And then I mastered the vegetable! I can now confidently serve varieties of this vegetable that I know will be enjoyed by the most die hard karela hater!
This one is just one of them, stay tuned for more!Jump to Recipe
More about Karela Mazedaar
This dish is special because it has the benefits of the bitter gourd but is palatable too.
Another reason I like Karela Mazedaar is because I can do other work while it slowly cooks on the side. I prefer to cook it on low heat to preserve the nutrients. And as I had mentioned in this post about the common mistakes in the kitchen, it also helps to gives variations to the taste and brings in a unique crunch, uses less oil, etc, etc.
You can leave out the potatoes if you do not like them, but I recommend you to add it if you have smaller kids in the house.
Also, I do not remove the outer rough skin of the gourd. Hence I wash the gourds thoroughly to remove any pesticide residue, chemicals, etc.
I also do not soak it in salt water. People do that to remove the bitterness. But trust me, this preparation does not require that step at all.
I do select the gourds that are slender and not full of hard seeds.
Step 1: Frying the Karela
Wash the gourds well. Now cut the bitter gourds into longish strips. Remove seeds from the centre. Discard any that are hard. You can retain the softer seeds with the bitter gourd pieces.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Now fry the pieces well in it, stirring from time to time. Cover the pan. It will take approximately 10 minutes. You can cut the potatoes or set the timer and do other work in this time.
Secret to using lesser oil:
Sprinkle some water if you find that they are becoming dry or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Do not add more oil.
Remove when it changes colour. Reserve.
Step 2: Frying the Potatoes
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the same pan. Cut the potatoes into longish strips and fry them.
Repeat the same procedure as Step 1. It will take approximately 10 minutes. You can slice the onions or set the timer and do other work here.
Step 3: Adding the Onions
Add sliced onions. Continue frying till onions become translucent. Cover the pan, stir once or twice.
Step 4: Add the dry Spices
Time to add spice to the dish with the ground up coriander, chilli, turmeric and cumin powders. Roast for just a minute or two…enjoy the amazing aroma!
Step 5: Adding the Fried Karela
Re-introduce the prepared bitter gourd/ karela into the pan. Mix well.
Step 6: Finishing Steps
Add salt. Mix well. Now for some garam masala. Stir and cover the dish for a minute or two to let the flavours blend.
AND now it’s the time for the second secret! Either one of these two ingredients is fine, though the first one, anardaana powder, does have a better taste.
So add a generous tablespoon of anardaana powder (pomegranate seed powder) or amchur (dry mango powder).
Mix well and take it off the flame. Time to enjoy!
Karela Mazedaar/Fried Bitter GourdCourse: SidesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium
Karela in a tasty avataar! Surprise yourself with this relaxing way of making a healthy and hearty side. Enjoy it with lentils, rice and/or roti.
1/4 kg bitter gourd, cut lengthwise into strips
1/4 kg potatoes, cut lengthwise into thick strips
1/4 kg onions, sliced thinly
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp anardaana powder (pomegranate seed powder) OR amchur (dry mango powder)
- Heat oil. Add the gourd pieces and fry on low heat. Cover and cook till done. Sprinkle water if it starts to stick to the pan. Keep aside.
- Add oil to the pan. Fry potatoes in the same manner.
- Add sliced onions. Fry till translucent. Cover and cook, stirring in between.
- Add dry masalas, namely coriander, chilli, turmeric and cumin. Roast for a few minutes.
- Add the fried gourd. Now mix well and add salt and garam masala.
Let it cook covered for a few minutes.
- Finally add the anardaana or the amchur, mix and take it off the heat.
- Adding anardaana or pomegranate seeds will give a superior taste to the amchur or dry mango powder taste in this dish.
- Cooking on low heat will give a very unique, crisp yet soft texture to the vegetable.