Stuffed Karela (Bitter Melon)
For the Marinate:
- 4 karela (bitter melon )
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
For the Filling
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1/8 tsp asafetida (hing)
- 2 tbsp besan (gram flour)
- 1 tbsp coriander powder (dhania)
- 1 tbso fennel seed powder (saunf)
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi)
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 1-1/2 tbsp mango powder (amchoor)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- also need thread to wrap
Preparing the Kerala
Wash karelas thoroughly and using a knife, scrape the skin. Set the scrapes aside.
Make a slit in the karelas length wise and remove the seeds. Add karelas and the skin scrapings to a bowl. Mix and sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. Let it marinate for at least an hour.
Squeeze the karelas to remove all the marinade. Wash karelas twice with hot water and then squeeze out all the water. Separate the scrapings from the whole karelas.
Preparing the Filling:
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if the seed cracks right away, the oil is ready. Add the cumin seeds and asafetida to the oil. After the cumin seeds crack, add the karela scrapings and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
Add gram flour (besan) and stir-fry for another minute.
Add all the remaining dry spices: coriander powder, fennel powder, turmeric, chili powder, and mango powder. Sauté for a minute and then turn off the heat.
Stuff the split karelas with this spice mixture (there should be some spice mix remaining, which will be used later). Tie the karelas with a thread so that the stuffing does not come out while cooking.
Cooking the Stuffed karelas:
Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Spread the stuffed karelas in the pan and sprinkle with salt. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 2 minutes.
Turn the karelas over to the uncooked side and cook for about 1 minute. Repeat until all four sides of the karelas are cooked.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water and the remaining spice mixture over the karelas. Cover the pan and let it cook for 2 more minutes.
Remove the lid to see if the karelas are tender. Gently turn them over a few more times, making sure they are covered with the spice mixture.