26 October 2015

Stuffed Karela in Gravy

        What's the one vegetable that tops the list of 'Least liked veggies' ??? Of course, Bitter gourd, or the humble 'Karela'!! It's always a challenge to serve the more likeable vegetables in as different and interesting variations as possible, so imagine how much the mind needs to rake up its creative juices to make the un-interesting vegetables, appealing!!
Here, I attempt a simple stuffed Karela in a basic gravy....

Ingredients :
Tender Bitter gourd (Karela) - 2 medium
Salt - 2 tbsps
Chili powder - 1 tsp

Gravy :
Tomatoes - 3 medium
Red Pumpkin (cubed) - 1 cup
Onions - 2 medium
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds (Jeera) - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 2 tsps
Turmeric poweder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 2 tsps

Stuffing :
Crumbled paneer - 1 cup
Finely chopped spinach (palak) - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp

Oil for shallow frying


1. Peel the bitter gourd to remove the ridges and make it as smooth as possible. Cut into 1cm thick roundels, scoop out to make them hollow and add to a bowl. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and 1 tsp chili powder. Shake well and keep aside for about 10 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, grind onions, ginger and garlic into a fine paste. Grind tomato and red pumpkin separately.

3. Wash the bitter gourd roundels well in running water and drain. Steam cook with a little bit of salt sprinkled over them, for about 10 minutes or till 3/4th tender. Keep aside.

4. Heat 2 tbsps oil in a kadhai/pan. Add jeera and let crackle. Add the onion-ginger-garlic paste along and sauté for about 2-3 minutes.

5. Add salt, turmeric pwder, chili powder, garam masala and let fry. Once the oil separates, add in the tomato-pumpkin gravy. Stir occasionally and let cook for 5 to 7 minutes more. Check for salt and turn off the flame once gravy is done.

6. For the stuffing, just keeping it simple - mix together the crumbled paneer, spinach, salt, chili powder and garam masala. 

7. Fill this stuffing inside each steamed karela round. Heat oil for shallow frying. Gently drop in the stuffed karelas and fry on low to medium heat, on both sides till golden brown. Remove and drain excess oil.

8. When ready to serve, warm the gravy. Place the fried karela on the serving plates and gently pour the gravy on top or around. Garnish with coriander.