I HATE Bittergourd / Pavakka / Karela. Or did, until I tried my Mothers recipe for Stuffed Karela. I had not eaten it for a good fifteen years, until Pooja's VoW Bittergourd event forced me to try it again.
But the things I do for Vow, sigh. Pooja owes me big time!
So I called up my mom to get the actual recipe, and she was ecstatic that I was making it. It is amusing that I now voluntarily make and eat the things my mom used to have to twist my arm to even try.
I tried it. And surprisingly enough....liked it! If a karela hater like me can be converted, I am sure karela enthusiasts will love this recipe.
So here it is.
I only had the heart to try out the recipe for two karelas, so please scale up as necessary.
1/2 unripe mango, peeled and roughly grated
1/4 small onion, finely sliced in long
1 tsp saunf
2 tsp dhana jeeru powder ( equal amounts of dhania and jeera , toasted and powdered)
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder or to taste
2 tsp Besan/ kadala maavu
First,take a knife/ peeler and remove the outer rough skin. Then slit the karelas along its length. Remove the seeds. At this point, add salt, the turmeric and half the red chilli powder to the karela. Rub it in and let it rest for about half an hour or so. This should draw out some of the bitter juices.
Prepare the mango and onion, and saute in a pan with a little oil with the red chilli powder, dhana jeeru and saunf until cooked through.Cool.
Add the besan to this mixture and stuff the two halves of the karela and join them together again. My mother used to tie it up using a string. I was too lazy so I just placed the stuffed karelas in a pan with a little oil and fried them up.
The tangy sourness of the mango is really good in counteracting the bitterness of the karela. Next time I would steam the stuffed karelas in an idli steamer or microwave it for five minutes before frying it. That would make it a little easier to bite. Also feel free to increase the quantity of the saunf seeds- they refresh the mouth very well too.
So Pooja, heres one for you!