The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

June 14, 2012

Karela is the New Kraze!

Food Network seemed to have a Sweet Genius marathon tonight. One of the episodes caught my attention when I saw the Judge introduce Karela, as one of the main ingredients. I dropped what I was doing and sat down to watch it. There's no way, Karela was going to be incorporated into a dessert? This I had to see for myself. For those of you who are not familiar with Karela, it's a bitter tasting gourd/vegetable. Each chef managed to incorporate it into their dish in various forms: toasted and candied, as a relish and even as sprinkles. It was amazing to see their creativity and enthusiasm in making this bitter vegetable tasty.
I got the feeling that some of them weren't very eager to use it. It's pretty bitter! I love it though. And once you acquire the taste, you can't help but eat more of it. I'm happy to see Karela gaining more presence in the international culinary scene. Did I mention that it's good for you too? Oh yes!

Spotted Karela Ras (juice) at the Indian store
It's used as a dietary supplement (not my cup of tea in that form though). Here are some ways I've eaten it: stuffed Karela, cooked in a gravy sauce, and as a Fry (kind of like French fries). The latter is today's specialty.

For close up of Karela Fry, click on picture!
Ingredients:
- 1 lb of Karela, small and firm
- 1 medium Potato
- 1 medium Onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
- 2 tbsp Dry Coconut Powder
- 1 tsp Chili powder (adjust to your taste)
- 1 tsp Salt (adjust to your taste)
- 3 to 4 tbsp of Vegetable oil

Procedure:
Remove the ends of the Karela and cut into half, lengthwise and then chop into thin slices. Do the same with the potato and onion and set aside. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a non-stick saucepan and add karela and potato. Sprinkle salt and cook on medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes under closed lid. Hint: Mix the vegetables in between to prevent them from sticking to the pan. When both the karela and potato are tender and cooked, remove the lid and add onion. Then add the remaining oil and fry the vegetables (for maybe another 6 to 7 minutes) until the karela is golden brown. Then add chili powder, dry coconut powder and a pinch of salt. Mix well. It's ready to be served and enjoyed!

***Quick Tip:
- Avoid selecting fat karelas because they tend to have lot of seeds and are really bitter. That's a no, no!

For more Karela recipes, check out Indian Vegetarian Recipes blog as well. 

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