My first experience of tasting karela was actually at a 'varsha-shraddh' and I couldn't really discard it, but the horrid bitterness travelled down my throat and gagged me and I never forgot the ordeal and swore NEVER to go within miles of 'that' thing again.
I had heard of its benefits but stubbornly refused to apply them in any way to my life. In case any of you want a hasty re cap of how 'good' it is ...read on (source : http://www.herbalcureindia.com/)
Karela fruits have long been used in India as a popular home remedy for
Latin Name:Momordica charantia Linn.
English Name / Common Name:Bitter Gourd / Bitter melon
Sanskrit / Indian Names: Karavella, Karela
Karela contains Gurmarin, a polypeptide considered to be similar to bovine insulin, which has been shown in experimental studies to achieve a positive sugar regulating effect by suppressing the neural response to sweet taste stimuli. Karela fruit is regularly used in the Indian diet and is known as a folk remedy for diabetes mellitus. Bitter melon is rich in iron and has twice the beta carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, twice the potassium of bananas, and contains vitamins C and B 1 to 3, phosphorus and good dietary fiber. It is believed to be good for the liver and has been proven by western scientists to contain insulin, act as an anti-tumor agent, and inhibit HIV-1 infection. At least 32 active constituents have been identified in bitter
melon so far, including beta-sitosterol-d-glucoside, citrulline, GABA, lutein,
lycopene and zeaxanthin. Nutritional analysis reveals that bitter melon is also
rich in potassium, calcium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C.
Benefits of Karela / Bitter Melon
Bitter Melon is useful in treating Diabetes.
Bitter Melon reduces sugar levels in blood and urine
Bitter Melon helps achieve positive sugar regulating effect by suppressing the neural
response to sweet taste stimuli.
Bitter Melon has shown significant antilipolytic and lipogenic activity.
Bitter Melon is a good blood purifier
Bitter Melon treats worm infestations
Bitter Melon stimulates pancreas and liver and helps in good absorption of food
Bitter Melon is useful as an emetic, purgative, as an anthelmentic, in piles, and jaundice
End of gyan!! Back to getting over the old phobia .. my friends here did not seem averse to eating karela and smiled palyfully at my intense dislike and were amused no end when I shuddered at the thought of making and eating the bitter gourd! They stressed that their way of making it, I would not even realise I was eating karela! Thanks, but ummm.. I'll pass!
Slowly , even blogosphere was getting saturated with the dreaded melon! There was no running away from it! This was the first one that really appealed to me and I was determined to try it out, not for my sake, but for M. He likes it!
Then one day I was chatting with my friend S (my Heroine!) who said she was making stuffed karela for dinner... and for M's sake I asked her to mail me the recipe. She was surprised no doubt at my unusual request, but did not say anything at that point of time ( why discourage something like this?)
That evening I proudly told M that I was going to make karela chips and stuffed karela for him, he was delighted ( and under the obvious misconception that I was also going to eat it !). However at the Indian Store, the bitter melons did not really look that fresh and I ended up with just 2 from the lot that looked better than the rest. Though a bit disappointed M suggested I make the stuffed version first and so I dug up the recipe once again ( it was sent over 2 weeks or so ago and was in my mail box).
In Heroine's words:
3 or 4 small tender Bitter Gourds / karela
1 dry Red chilli (optional)
1 Bay leaf (optional)
1 Finely chopped Onion
1 chopped Green chilli or according to taste
1 small Tomato chopped
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp each coriander pwd and cumin pwd
1 tbsp Besan / Gram flour
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
1/2 tsp Garam masala pwd
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Few sprigs Cilantro finely minced
First scrape the surface of the bitter gourds/karelas...make a slit length wise....don't cut it into half....remove the pulp and seeds from inside...keep aside. Then boil the karelas in water with 1 tsp salt...cook till it becomes tender.Keep aside. Heat oil in a kadhai....add cumin seeds....one dry red chilly whole...and one bay leaf....when the seeds crackle...add green chilli and chopped onion...when the onion becomes transparent...add ginger garlic paste and the masalas and besan and turmeric pwd...cook for a while then add the tomatoes....when they are cooked add the pulp and seeds of the karela...fry for sometime...add salt....then add 1/2 cup water...cover and cook for sometime on low flame. When the water is completely dried...add garam masala and coriander leaves....remove from heat...and let it cool! when the mixture is cool enough....fill into the split karelas....make a paste of 1 tbsp besan...a little salt and water....roll the karela in it and shallow fry them....when its crisp remove and serve hot with roti !
Where I goofed: the part where one rolls the stuffed karela in a thin besan batter and shallow fry it, the batter I made was too thin and so did not 'stick' to the vegetable. But as confirmed from heroine, it was not a big deal and certainly not meant to be coated like a bhajiya! just to ensure that the filling did not spill out.. that I managed well!
M loved it! his obvious enjoyment at this unusual treat was heart warming! He really enjoyed it! his boyish delight and swaying his body with every bite and his compliments made my evening!! And what he said was true.. there was no trace of bitterness in the gourd! Encouraged by this I tasted it and liked it too! Yes, this was not 'that' taste! My dislike ( or dread) for karela dissolved with every bite and now I am convinced that IF I make it in this way, I am going to like it as much as M! Thank you S, for this wonderful recipe!!
And now for the MeMe!! Shubha Of Chutki bhar Pyar Tagged me .. It's been a while since I did a Meme and I'm glad I got this opportunity! Thanx Shubha!!
1) LAST MOVIE U SAW IN A THEATRE?
Charlie Wilson's War
2) WHAT BOOK ARE U READING??
The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle - Hugh Lofting
3) FAVOURITE BOARD GAME?
4) FAVOURITE MAGAZINE? Aah! this varies!
I used to read Femina and all that in inda ( never subscribed, just from the library) and now I just leaf thru the colorful magazines when waiting to check out at the stores (all those gossipy mags with all the dumb celebrities hounded from their layers and their fab clothes and the even fab scandals!!)
5) FAVOURITE SMELLS?
The wet earth after rains! So soothing !
Perfume :Davidoff's 'Cool Water' !
6) FAVOURITE SOUNDS?
My Dad chuckling! Contagious!
My Husband tramping up the stairs, coming home from work.
7) WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD?
8) WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN U WAKE?
Huh? *blink, blink* Honey wake up, you are late Again!! Subha ho gayi Mamu!!
9) FAVOURITE FASTFOOD PLACE?
Hardly an option for a Vegetarian.. Pizza hut, Domino's, In n Out, Subway
India :NOW we're talking!
Pav Baji: Achija's (Ghatkopar-Mumbai) Number one !
Manis' ( Ruia College) for The yummiest south Indian snacks EVER!
DP's (Ruia College again) for Masala Pav
Kailash Parbat ( Churchgate) for AWESOME chaat!
The corner Vada Pav wala in Tilak Nagar-Chembur, also in the Kirti College area, Jubo vada pav in Thane (near rthe station) Tip - top for chaats
And a corner in Sindhi colony-Thane (E) where one gets LIP-SMACKING paani puri from the L.L.B Paani puri wala!
Frankie at Shivaji Park!
There is a Dosa Wala in Khar- Mumbai ( for those who know it, near film star Rakhee's bunglow) if he is still there, for the sheer variety of tasty Dosas he made (like a dosa mela there!)
10) FUTURE CHILDS NAME?
Something uncomplicated and short! To be announced!
11) FINISH THIS STATEMENT—'IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY '..
I would be just the way I am now, careless with it!
12) DO U DRIVE FAST?
I used to! Young blood and all that!
13) DO U SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?
I used to... when I was little.
14) STORMS–COOL OR SCARY?
Absolutely Cool! Majestic!
15) WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?
A cream colored Fiat ( Premier Padmini), My Basanti!!
16) FAVOURITE DRINK?
17) FINISH THIS STATEMENT-IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD :
Read to my heart's content ( not that I do not now, but there are chores...)
18) DO YOU EAT THE STEMS ON BROCCOLI? :
Yes, Kinda..... short stems ..
19) IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY OTHER COLOUR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR CHOICE?
Black-Brown with burgundy highlights!
20) NAME ALL THE DIFFERENT CITIES/TOWNS U HAVE LIVED IN?
Banglore : short stay (3 months)
Kolkatta ( 3 weeks)
21) FAVOURITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
22) ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
Apart from being an enthusiastic cook, have you guys seen the wonderful Henna/ Mehendi designs on her blog? Very intricate and beautiful!
23) WHATS UNDER YOUR BED?
Nothing except the bosxspring, but back home I'd stuff loads undere the mattress, old pictures, letters , wrist watch (which I forgot for almost a year!), money, hair-bands and clips, an old sim card, pens, pencils and markers, hanky, paper clippings, keys.......
24) WOULD U LIKE TO BE BORN AS YOURSELF AGAIN??
Yes! If my parents have no objection!
25) MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
Both! have the capacity to sit up late and get up reasonably early!
26) OVER EASY OR SUNNY SIDE UP?
27) FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX?
Anywhere with a book!
28) FAVORITE PIE?
Haven't tasted many, but I liked Pumpkin when I had a small slice.
29) FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?
Butterscotch , Fresh Strawberry, Mango, Sitaphal, Roasted Almond
30) OF ALL THE PEOPLE U HAVE TAGGED, WHO IS THE MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND FIRST?
C'mon! let's see who is the fastest of 'em all!! If they would like to play along, I'd like to tag:Pin It