Bharwa Karela (Stuffed Bitter Gourd)

Bitter gourd (also called bitter melon in many parts of the world) tastes exactly as the name suggests – bitter! It was, therefore, not one of my favourite vegetables in my formative years. I evolved from active dislike, to stoic acceptance to real appreciation, as I became older. I suppose it a question of training your taste buds to accept the taste. These days, there are several dishes that I make where the taste is not bitter at all. For example, Parikka Pitlai (recipe in this blog). This stuffed dish is one of my all time favourites – but rather difficult to prepare without oil. I must thank Hari for perfecting this technique.

Stuffed Bitter Gourd

10-12 small bitter gourds (karela, pagarkkai)
3/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
3/4 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur, ularntha mampazham)
1 tsp fennel powder (saunf, perunjeeragam)
2 medium sized onions, sliced fine
Salt to taste
Rinse the bitter gourds and dry
Make a vertical slit on each, keeping the base intact
Remove the seeds using your fingers or a spoon
Set aside
Mix all the dry spice powders, onions and salt
Stuff the powder in the bitter gourd
Tie a thread around each bitter gourd
Heat a griddle and roast the bitter gourds for about 10 minutes
Turn over a few times so that all sides are well roasted
Remove from griddle and serve hot with red/brown rice or Indian breads

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