Bitter Gourd (Karela) is one of those veggies that make people turn their heads away. This is also an important reason why you won’t see it on most of Indian restaurants’ menu.
There are some Karela recipes, though, that you can try and enjoy at your home, but I don’t think it’s possible to prepare them on regular basis.
For instance, Bharwan Karela takes a lot of time and requires unhealthy ingredients to reduce the bitterness.
So today, I’m going to share a simple and easy to make Karela Fry recipe.
Now, you might ask this question – Does it taste bitter?
Yes, it does!
I’m not going to lie here, but do try this version and let me know how it turns out in the end. I’ve also shared a simple method for you to reduce Karela’s bitterness.
Total Time – 20 minutes to soak Karela pieces + 25 minutes preparation time
- Bitter Gourd – 3-4 nos., cleaned & sliced in round pieces
- Onion – 1/2, medium sized, finely chopped
- Grated Coconut – 2-3 tablespoon
- Red Chilli Powder – 1-1/2 teaspoon
- Turmeric Powder – 1/4 teaspoon
- Oil – 2 tablespoon
- Salt to taste
- Water, if needed
1. Get all the sliced Karela pieces in a bowl, and soak them in salt water for 15 minutes.
2. Then, take them out on kitchen paper to get rid of excess moisture.
Note – These two steps are completely optional, if you don’t bother about the bitter taste.
3. Heat oil in a non-stick pan on medium flame.
4. Add the chopped onions and stir-fry them till they turn translucent.
5. Now, add the dried Karela pieces into it and cook on low-medium flame for about 10 minutes. Cover it with a lid.
Note – If you’ve cut them really thin, they might cook sooner than expected. So, do stir them in between to keep an eye on it.
6. Remove the lid and add turmeric powder, dry mango powder (or Kokam) and red chilli powder in it.
7. Stir well and cook for another 3-4 minutes without placing the lid.
8. Finally, garnish it with freshly grated coconut and toss nicely.
Your Karela Fry dish is now ready to serve.
Variations for Karela Fry Recipe
Do you want to make it more exotic? Have a look at the following variations and ideas.
Jaggery in Kids’ version –
If you think your kids may not like above Karela fry preparation, try adding some jaggery in it. It definitely helps in countering the bitter taste to some extent.
Also, the caramelized onions compliment well to different flavors of this delicacy.
Andhra Style Karela Fry (Kakarakaya Vepudu) –
Andhra folks have their own way of making Karela fry for lunch and dinner. And fortunately for us, it’s not as difficult as other popular dishes from this region.
This Andhra style recipe also requires Jaggery, but you’ll be able to differentiate it from above version due to mix of other spices.
Here’s a quick recipe for you –
- Soak the Karela pieces (3-4 Bitter Gourds) in salt water as suggested above and dry them appropriately.
- Heat some oil in a pan on medium flame.
- When oil turns hot, add the cumin seeds (1/2 teaspoon) and curry leaves (8-10 nos.). Wait till they splutter.
- Once you hear the crackling sound, add the chopped onions (1/2, medium sized) and asafoetida (1/4 teaspoon) in it.
- Sauté them for 3-4 minutes. Then, add the Karela pieces and grated jaggery (1-1/2 teaspoon) into it.
- Stir well for a couple of minutes, and add the turmeric powder (1/2 teaspoon), red chilli powder (1-1/2 teaspoon), coriander powder (1/2 teaspoon) and dry mango powder (1/3 teaspoon) in it.
- Stir again and let it cook for about 10 minutes under the lid. Don’t forget to stir in between though.
Note – If this sabji turns little dry, sprinkle some water on it.
You can serve your Andhra style Karela preparation with Rice or Chapati/Roti.
Karela Fry with Other Veggies –
Yes! If you like to twist it further, you may also try including your favorite veggies in one of the recipes posted in this post.
Carrots, tomatoes and chillies go well with this bitter vegetable, so make sure you use them accordingly.
Deep Fried Karela Fry –
Want more crispiness in your Karela fry?
Try this deep fried version –
- Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying.
- Meanwhile, prepare the masala to coat on the pieces. For this, get some salt, turmeric powder (1/4 teaspoon), red chilli powder (1-1/2 teaspoon), garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon), cumin powder (1/2 teaspoon), amchur powder (1/2 teaspoon), all purpose flour (6-8 tablespoon) and water in a bowl.
- Mix everything together along with sliced Karela pieces.
- Fry these masala coated pieces in hot oil.
Serve this hot Karela fry dish with Ketchup or tangy Amla Murabba.
Karela is and will always be a bitter vegetable, as nature knows how to balance things out. You can definitely cut the bitter taste with some natural ingredients, but don’t fret over it. It’s better to accept the fact.
After reading this Karela fry recipe and its variation ideas, I’m sure you must be excited to prepare it at home. So, go ahead and surprise them with this simple and tasty Karela dish!