Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Karela Bhaja/Fry – Bitter Gourd Fry – No Jugglery…

Sometimes people ask very simple questions. 

When this simple question, “How to make Karela bhaja” was put to me, at first seemed very funny. Later on I realized, with years of experience in my kitchen I’ve learnt a lot. There have been lots of difficult times I’ve gone through in my Kitchen Life.

As a beginner, after setting up my own home with a kitchen space…wholly my own…I became the decision maker of what to do there.
The kitchen had to be set properly…all the different things put in place for an easy to find and use. All this I had to do in a learning process all because I had no zeal to enter the kitchen in my maiden days. Now I feel…I would make my daughter learn the tricks of the kitchen as a girl…so sad no daughters…but a lesson learnt is never forgotten.

For someone new to cooking, even an easy dish like Karela bhaja seems like climbing a mountain…not of course the Himalaya. It is good to find someone inquisitive to learn. Girls these days are very clever and just a little pointer can make them give a fine finish.

Coming to Karelas. Ask me, “Do you like Karelas?”

I’ll say, “Na baba na, ki teto (so bitter)”. At times I find the Karela good to taste, all because of the love and attention it gets…a 'maybe' here…

Some simply love Karelas. Bharwa(n) Karela, deep fried, mixed fry with aloo (potatoes), mixed in curry, Karela sheddho…wow, how many more to name…full stop here.

Then the Karela in Shukto doesn’t matter. No cheating here, Karela in Shukto, doesn’t matter.
Karela Bhaja is really simple. It is served as a side-dish.


Karelas: 3 or 4

Haldi powder: ¾ tsp.

Salt: ½ tsp.

Oil: 3 tbsp

Next step:

Wash the karelas.

Slice them thinly. Discard the seeds if they are hard.

Rub the haldi powder and salt and keep it for about 5 minutes.

Heat oil in a kadhai.

Next throw in the karela and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

Simmer the heat and cover the cooking vessel.

Stir from time to time.

It may take 7-10 minutes for the karelas to be fried.

Remove and serve.

If you want the crunch in every bite of the karela.
Mix some corn flour and then fry.

Can also add thinly sliced potatoes... aloo-karela bhaja.
First tip in the potatoes and after a couple of minutes add the karelas and cook the sir-fry way till the potatoes are soft.

Bengalis prefer to have Karela bhaja served as the first helping with bhat/rice.

In the North, they prefer karelas with rotis and relish.

After all taste has its own buds which is different from person to person.

© gouri guha 2014

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