Pargarkkai Varuval (‘Fried’ Bittergourd, Karela)

Bitter gourd was not one of my favourite vegetables. I used to intensely dislike the bitter taste. Things did not get much better whenever my father used to visit me. He was a great fan of bitter gourd. The more bitter, the better. He therefore used to request Hari to make just bitter gourd stir fried with a little salt and turmeric powder. Really bitter to taste! And he would have this everyday. I therefore used to avoid this healthy vegetable. Till Hari once made me a stuffed bitter gourd. Absolutely delicious. And not bitter at all. It was then that I began exploring other bitter gourd recipes. The one detailed below in another of Hari’s recipes.

250 gms bitter gourd, sliced into thin roundels
1 big onion, sliced fine
1 tbsp sambar powder (for recipe, refer section on chutneys and powders)
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
4 tbsp vegan curd
Salt to taste
1  cup water
Mix the curd in 1 cup water
Soak the bitter gourd in this mixture
Add salt and set aside for 15 minutes
Then, squeeze the water out of the bitter gourd and set aside
Heat a wok
Add the mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add onion
Sauté for a minute
Add the karela
Add sambar and turmeric powders
Adjust salt
Sauté for 2-3 minutes
Transfer to the air fryer
‘Fry’ for 10-15 minutes till brown
Stir occasionally with a spoon
Remove and serve with any Indian curry

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