“Yuck! KARELA Sabzi? Why GOD, WHY?”

Isn’t this a common shriek in every Indian household? Well, I remember seeing a number of Indian movies & shows rather ratifying this feeling of distate for the poor, underrated vegetable, or umm…fruit, may be. You see, they’re also known as Bitter ‘Melons’ as they belong to the Cucurbita family, consisting of gourds, squashes, pumpkins, etc. And I seriously wondered as a first grader then, as to why people ate it when it tasted so gross. But that was until I tasted Mom’s Karela Sabzi a little later. We’re all familiar with how infamous the vegetable is for its signature bitterness. But this dish turns it into something that tastes as sweet as a dessert & is unidentifiable as a freaking KARELA! ;-D

Making Karela Sabzi that is SWEET

Bitter gourd is a goldmine when it comes to health benefits. This combination of benefits is a very rare one to find in 1 vegetable/fruit.

Health Benefits of Karela

Bitter Gourds are Diabetes-friendly

As per studies, Karela contains plant-based Insulin that’s known to control blood sugar levels efficiently. Hence, it’s an ideal food for Diabetics – both Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes.

Aids Weight Loss

Reports show that Bitter Gourd is a natural substance that fights obesity by catalyzing metabolism. It can help dissolve fat cells & prevent growth of new fat cells as well.

It also contains very few calories & being a high fiber food, it keeps you full for a longer time.

Prevents Constipation

Like it’s high on fibre, Karela prevents constipation & also helps in digestion.

Good for the Heart

Bitter Melons help reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood with their anti-inflammatory action & thus greatly reduce the risk of heart attacks & Stroke.

The best choice for Beauty Queens!

Karela is rich in anti-oxidants that prevents early ageing & skin damage. Not just that, with regular consumption, owing to the abundant presence of Zinc & essential Vitamins, Bitter Gourd reduces hair fall & improves luster as well.

What’s great about this KARELA SABZI?

  • Given the above-mentioned benefits of bitter melons, you know the main ingredient is already a powerhouse of nutrition.
  • This version of Karela Sabzi/ Bhaji uses jaggery
    instead of sugar, which is rich in iron & is thus more favorable for diabetics if had in moderate quantity.
  • This sabzi/stew is garnished generously with grated coconut. Coconut meat, though high on saturated fats, is heart-friendly (contrary to the notorious ‘cholesterol-rich’ tag associated with it for decades), is high on fiber & has abundant levels of Potassium & Iron.

Making the KARELA SABZI (Konkani Style)

Preparation Time : 10 Minutes

Cooking Time : 25-30 Minutes

Serves : 3

Ingredients

Bitter Gourd (Karela) – 3 medium sized OR 2 Large ones

Onions (Chopped) – 2 (you can add more too)

Jaggery (grated) – 3 – 3.5 tbsp

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp

Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp

Grated Coconut – 2 tbsp

Cooking Oil / Olive Oil / Coconut Oil / Mustard Oil – 2 tbsp

Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Curry Leaves – 8-10

Salt to taste

METHOD:

  1. Wash the gourds well & pat dry. Carefully scrape the major rough & pointed ridges with a knife. Like this.
Removing ridges of bitter gourd to make Karela Sabzi

2. Cut through each bitter gourd from the middle into 2 equal halves.

3. Totally remove the pit (core) & the seeds, which are the main contributors to the characteristic bitter taste. Also, consuming these Karela seeds can trigger digestion problems or allergies in some.

4. Cut the Karela(s) into the smallest pieces possible. Rather chop them well.

5. In a pan, heat the oil & then add the mustard seeds & cumin seeds.

6. After spluttering, add the curry leaves.

7. Add the onions & saute well until they turn golden brown.

8. Now add the chopped Karela pieces to this & stir well for half a minute. Keep the lid closed for about 5 minutes on medium flame.

9. Check if the chopped Karela pieces have started softening, shrinking & becoming darker. Stir again to prevent any burning towards the pan’s bottom. Close the lid again for another 5 minutes.

10. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala & mix well.

11. After 5 minutes, add the jaggery. Wait until the jaggery melts completely & blends with the sabzi. Stir again for about a minute.

12. Close the lid for the last 2 minutes.

13. Add salt.

14. Add the grated coconut & mix for one last time.

15. Ta-Da! Your Karela Sabzi is READY! 🙂

NOTE –

  1. Always choose a Bitter Gourd that’s neither very hard to touch nor too soft & succulent-like. These are extremes of being too raw & overripe & they’d make a really bad Sabzi.
  2. Also make sure to check how well the Karela is cooked after Step 10. Undercooked gourds often call for blaming them for their bitterness. 🙂
Konkani style Karela Sabzi

If you’ve hated bitter gourds or consuming them in any form, I’d strongly recommend you to try this one out! It’s worth trying, & I bet my boots, this love will start happening all over.

Do let me know in the comments how it turned out on making it yourself.

Bon Appetit!

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