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.

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Showing posts with label Bitter Melon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bitter Melon. Show all posts

October 12, 2021

Bitter Melon and Potato Stir Fry

Be honest. Have heard of bitter melon (Chinese) before? If yes, how many of you like bitter melon? 

We love it! It's healthy and good for you. We also find it less bitter than the Indian bitter melon (or karela).  

There are so many ways to enjoy bitter gourd; you can stir fry it, stuff it, or even make a chutney with it. How do you enjoy bitter melon?  



I didn't know there were different types of bitter melon until my mother-in-law gave me a tour of her garden. She has the magic touch and patience to grow them.




I tried growing them this year, but mine only grew to the size of a potato. While hers can grow up to 8 or 9 inches in length. 



I'm still a novice, but I'll get there someday. For now, I get all my bitter gourds from her and make yummy dishes. Don't forget to check out the Bitter Melon and Potato Stir Fry recipe below:


Ingredients
  • 1 large Chinese bitter melon 
  • 1 small potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2" slices
  • 1 small to medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp dry garlic chutney
  • salt (as per your taste)
  • Fresh cilantro/coriander (optional), chopped (for garnish)

Preparation
1) Chop the bitter melon once lengthwise and then into 1/4" thick slices (as shown below).


Place the bitter gourd pieces in a bowl, sprinkle a little bit of salt and water over them, and microwave for 2 minutes. 

2) Heat oil (on medium flame) in a medium saucepan and add onion and potato. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. 


3) Then, add bitter melon, and cover with a lid. (Note: Add more oil if necessary; to prevent the mixture from burning). Stir every few minutes until onions, potatoes, and bitter melon are caramelized for about 8 to 10 minutes. Next, add dry garlic chutney powder and continue to stir fry for another 3 to 4 minutes. 




4) Switch off the heat and add fresh cilantro/coriander. Serve hot with rice or roti.


Quick Tips
- We like using dry garlic chutney powder in our curries (i.e. Stuffed Eggplant) to make them spicy. I also like sprinkling it over avocado toast. It gives it a little kick, just the way I like it. This product is also available on Amazon*. Click on the image for the link. 


*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

August 22, 2016

Chinese Bitter Melon Stir Fry



Ingredients
- 2 Bitter melon (also known as Chinese Karela)
- 1 large onion, sliced and chopped in half
- 5 to 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup dry coconut
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
- 3 to 4 tsp vegetable oil
- salt for taste

Procedure
First cut the bitter melon once lengthwise and then chop into 1/4" thick slices.



Heat oil (on medium flame) in a medium saucepan and add garlic and onion. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add bitter melon, sprinkle salt and cover with lid. Stir every few minutes until onions and bitter melon are caramelized about 8 to 10 minutes. When the bitter melon is soft, remove the lid and add tamarind paste and fry the mixture for another 3 to 4 minutes or until oil comes out.

Next add chili powder and coconut powder and continue to stir fry for another 3 to 4 minutes. Switch off heat and add coriander. Serve hot with rice or roti.


October 17, 2012

Creamy Tofu and Karela Curry

This is for all vegetarians and healthy conscious people alike. A well balanced meal includes carbs, protein, fats and oils. When it comes to choosing the right ingredients to add the proper nutrients to our meals, one that comes mind is TOFU.

What's so great about Tofu? 
- Low in sodium and cholesterol  
- Low glycemic index
- Good source of protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, selenium, calcium, and manganese. 

With all these positive attributes, what's not to love. We like using a couple different varieties of Tofu: Firm, Extra Firm and Tofu Steak (available in Cajun, Garlic & Pepper, Grilled). These add extra flavor to our dishes.

One of the many ways we use Tofu is adding it to our vegetable gravy curries that are eaten with Indian flatbreads (such as roti, chappati, naan, paratha), and/or brown/white rice. This week's tofu recipe includes Karela (also known as Bitter Melon or gourd), another healthy and nutritious ingredient. So let's start cooking!

Creamy Tofu and Karela curry served w/ Brown Rice & Roti

Ingredients:
- 1 lb Karela, chopped into 1" cubes
- 1 medium Onion, finely chopped
- 7.25oz Firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1" cubes
- 3/4 cup Salsa (Mild, Medium or Hot)
- 2 to 3 tbsp Ranch dip*
- 1 tsp Mustard and Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric (Haldi)
- 2 to 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Salt (or as needed)

Procedure:
In a large saucepan, heat oil and add mustard and cumin seeds for seasoning. When they start spluttering, add onion and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add karela, turmeric, and salt. Mix well and cover pan with tight lid. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until karela is cooked. (Hint: Test it by piercing a knife or fork through a piece of karela and it should go in easily.) Next add tofu pieces, salsa and dip. Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.

***Quick Tips: 
- If ranch dip is not readily available, add sour cream. 
- Add a tablespoon of brown sugar to reduce the bitter taste of Karela.  
- Check out other yummy Tofu recipes: Tandoori Tofu, Potato & Tofu with Spiced Tomato Sauce



April 2, 2012

~Not So Bitter Karela Curry~

You learn many lessons in life; some stick with you and some don't. My favorite is "don't judge a book by its cover". It applies not only in life but also in cooking. Just because it looks different, doesn't mean it tastes bad or is bad for you.


Sometimes it's quite the opposite; like in the case of the Karela aka The Bitter Melon. Karela is a green, prickly and bitter tasting gourd or melon. It's probably the last to be picked among the more popular vegetables like eggplant or bell pepper. However I don't think people know that this vegetable is really quite good for them. Among the Asian and African countries, Karela is noted to have medicinal value to treat many illnesses. Karela juices and pills are also available for daily consumption.

We enjoy eating Karela in a number of ways: Steamed and stuffed with masala, stir fried, and in a gravy based curry.
 
Last night we picked up some fresh Karela from the Indian grocery and made the gravy based curry as one of the curries for the week. The addition of the peanut butter, brown sugar, coconut and milk tone down the bitter taste of karela.

Ingredients:
1 ½ lbs Karela/Bitter Melon
2 Medium Onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
- 2 Dry Coconut powder
- 2 to 3 tbsp Brown Sugar
½ tbsp Chili powder
½ tbsp Salt
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
½ tsp Turmeric


Procedure:
Cut the ends of the karelas and chop them longitudinally and then cut into thin slides.  Heat oil in a pan, season with mustard and cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add onion and saute them for 2 to 3 minutes. Next add turmeric and chili powder, karela and salt. Mix well and cook under low-medium heat until karela is cooked well. Now add peanut butter, brown sugar, coconut, and milk and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until all the milk is absorbed. Serve it with rice or rotis. 



***Quick Tips:
- Karela can be substituted with Kantola (another type of bitter melon, which isn't as bitter). You can find it in the frozen section in most Indian grocery stores. If using this vegetable, reduce the brown sugar and peanut butter measurements. 

August 17, 2011

It's Karela, Not Kerala!

We wanted to take this opportunity to clear up some confusion about a certain vegetable that gets mispronounced a lot. Kerala is an Indian state located in the Southwest region of the country.


It is a popular tourist destination, known for its backwaters, natural beauty and Ayurveda medicines. 


Karela, on the other hand, is a tropical vegetable that is also referred to as bitter melon or gourd. It is widely grown in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
 

It can be identified by its prickly green texture and bitter taste. We love Karela and decided to share our love of this vegetable with you so you can grow to like it too.  

After trying a couple of tricks, we came up with one that works and reduces the bitter flavor. This recipe is called Krazy Karela because some might think we're crazy for eating it. The recipe is enough for 5-6 (2 pieces per serving). 

Ingredients for Krazy Stuffed Karela:
- 1 lb of Bitter Gourd/Karela, slender dark green variety
- Lime size of Tamarind or 1 tbsp of Tamarind paste (i.e. Tamcon)
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Salt, As needed


Ingredients for the filling/stuffing:





























- 1 large Red onion, chopped finely
- 3 tbsp of dry coconut powder (should be flaky, not fine)
- 1 tbsp of Chili powder (Adjust to your taste)
¼ cup of Fresh coriander or cilantro, chopped
Salt, as needed



Follow these steps to remove the bitterness of Karela:
1) Cut the ends of the karela and make a slit lengthwise. If there are any woody seeds remove them using a butter knife. Cut the karela into 3” long pieces.


2) In a large pot bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Add the karela pieces along with tamarind, salt, and a pinch of turmeric. Cook karela in the boiling water until they are soft and firm (a knife or fingernail should pass through easily). Drain the water using a colander and remove the remainder of the tamarind from the karela. (skip this step if using the paste)


Then follow these steps to cook the Karela:
1) In a skillet, heat a tbsp of oil and add chopped onion. Saute the onion until it's almost transparent and then add salt, chili powder, and dry coconut powder. 


2) Mix it until the water is evaporated and the oil comes out. Adjust the salt and heat (chili spice) level to your taste. Allow it to cool and then mix in the chopped coriander.



3) Heat oil in a frying pan until you feel the heat on your palm while it's held above the oil (at a safe height, usually 4-5 inches above oil). Turn the heat to medium/high and slowly drop the cooked karela into the oil and fry them to greenish-brown. Remove from oil and stuff them with the onion filling.



It is great as a dish on its own or can be eaten with plain or brown rice. I love eating it on its own; that way you can really taste all the flavors.

***Quick Tip: If coriander or cilantro isn't readily available, try parsley. If you like more gravy-based curries, try the Karela Curry. It's not as bitter.