Achari Masala Karela/ Bitter Gourd with Pickle Masala Stuffing

Being born and brought up in Delhi, I thought I had had a taste of all Punjabi cuisine till I got married to a Punjabi. I realized there is much more to Punjabi food than Makki ki roti and Sarson ka saag just like there is much more to Southie cuisine than the well known Idli and Dosa :-) I became the lucky one having the best of both worlds :-) One of the new and amazing things that I came across was Masala karela, which my mom-in-law makes quiet often. I used to pack it up in my tiffin everyday only to be robbed off it by my colleagues, who would go gaga over it. My MIL has been making it all these years and surprisingly I never attempted it. This time when she was in the process of making it I took control half way :-) After all my blog is my recipe diary too and this one definitely needs to get into my diary!

500 gm Bitter Gourd (Karela)
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt for coating the Bitter Gourd
10-12 tbsp coarsely ground Coriander seeds (freshly ground)
3-4 tsp Dry Mango Powder (Amchur)
4 tbsp wet Pickle Masala scooped out from Mango Pickle Jar or use the masala recipe given below.
7-8 tbsp Mustard Oil

Masala Recipe:
2 tbsp Fennel Seeds
1/4 tsp Nigella seeds (Kalonji)
1/4 tsp Fenugreek Powder (Methi powder)
4-5 tbsp Dry Mango Powder (Amchur)
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
(Note: It is essential in this recipe to use pickle masala from Mango pickles as the masala would contain the taste of the immersed mangoes. However if it is not available then use the above masala recipe)

Sprinkle salt generously on Bitter gourd and toss them well. Keep aside overnight or atleast for 5-6 hours. This would take away their bitterness.Wash and dry the Bitter gourds. Cut the edges off from both the sides. Make a slit and scoop out the seed portion.In a wok heat the Mustard oil to smoking point. Then reduce the heat. Add the Bitter Gourd. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes till the skin becomes soft. Take out the Bitter Gourd, drain and set aside.Take out the excess oil from the wok so that just 2 tbsp oil is left in the wok.Heat oil. Add spices from the Masala recipe above if not using pickle masala. Add Turmeric powder, Coriander powder and Dry Mango Powder. Add pickle masala. Saute for 3-4 minutes on low heat. Turn off the heat.Now fill this masala in the Bitter gourd. Heat the same wok and place the karelas in the wok (without any oil this time. The wok is already greased). Cook covered for 3-4 minutes. Switch off the heat and let the Bitter gourd cool down. Serve warm or at room temperature.Note: These can be stored in an air tight container and be kept in the fridge for a week. Warm it to room temperature before serving. These are supposed to be had like a pickle i.e. a side dish to the side dish :-)

Sending this to 'Cooking with Seeds - Coriander Seeds' event hosted by Aruna of Veggie Paradise and Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes

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