Thursday, November 12, 2009

Karela-Matar Sabzi

Karela (bittergourd) has been a favourite in our family. While my sister can eat it in all forms, I like it crispy fried, or when the bitterness is reduced.
Sister had learnt a stuffed karela recipe from a Sindhi friend. In that dish, she carefully carved out the seeds and stuffed the karelas (soaked in salt for 10-15 minutes and pressed of excess water) with onions, tomato, garlic, etc. Then I guess she used to deep fry the vegetable and flow it in a spicy gravy. While V and others absolutely loved this dish, I could not have it for the raw bitter taste still lingered.

The best karela sabzi I have eaten so far was at a relative's house. I tried reproducing it today and it turned out just like that day. I was so so excited that one recipe of a great, jolly old foodie now survives with me. Here I am sharing with you the recipe.


3 karelas, sliced in rings and pressed dry after applying salt

A small cup of imli / tamarind pulp soaked in very little water

A cupful of matar / green peas

2-3 tablespoons of sugar

Salt and red chilly powder to taste.

Oil, mustard seeds, hing (asafoetida), haldi (turmeric powder)

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed steel pan. (I started with aluminum kadhai, but later shifted realizing the huge amount of imli that goes in this dish)

Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds, pinch of hing and haldi in that order. Next add karela. Saute till half-cooked and slightly brown, do not cover with a lid. Now add peas. The photo below is just after I added peas.

Saute till karela is crispy and peas are cooked. This should take 5-7 minutes.

Now, extract thick tamarind pulp. It should come to 2-3 tablespoons. As soon you add this, the veggies will get sticky and because of the sour addition, won't cook. So make sure you add imli after the karela and peas are tender enough. Immediately add a generous amount of sugar to balance the sour taste. I added about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Add salt and chilly to taste.

Delicious sweet-sour karela-matar sabzi is ready...


hitch writer said...

Stuffed Karela's are regularly made at my house.. although our stuffing is of besan et all and I love it..

we love burnt Karela chips.. but thats mostly made only when there is Aamras in the summers !!!

those pics look delicious !!!!! :P :P :P

Sailaja said...

I'm like you, love my karela with a crispy touch. Nice recipe with the addition of peas which is new to me.

Jaya said...

good one Gauri ..I like having stuffed karela though..I am sure peas add a nice touch.
hugs and smiles

Cardamom said...

what an interesting combination!
I don't think I have ever tried this.

the spice who loved me

Siddharth said...

Post some non-karela recipes too ... would love to try out some of them...

G said...

The Boy and I are a big fan of Karela. I arrived here via some other blog and viola.. the karela matar sabzi.
Anyway, I did cook this yesterday. tastes yum but somehow the salt hasnt completely gotten washed off. So we have a combo of salty + bitter + tangy karela :)

Oh yes, arrived here from the 'niramish' post. I am not a Bong and did not know about this custom either. But I remember during one of my cousin's engagement I was assigned the task of distributing gajra and pedhe. One lady got all awkward and refused to take the gajra and I kept insisting just like we (Maharashtrians) are taught to do. "Aagraha karane" I was called over by my kaku and given a dressing down. The lady was a widow. I felt guilty then but did not have the guts to ask 'So what? Why cant a widow wear gajra' Still fail to understand.

Gauri Gharpure said...

Dhirenbhai, i find the besan karela combination quite interesting.. ras is one thing that pulls me to ahmedabad every summer :)

Sailaja, Jaya, Trupti-- i had also never heard of the peas-karela combo till i tasted it in Pune

Siddharth- Try this pasta.

G-- welcome to the blog.. salt doesn't remove the bitterness completely, just lessens it.. like my aaji says, the 'mool swabhaav' of anything remains, and so it is with the karela..i am glad you and the Boy liked the recipe.. ;)

The Niramish for Widows rule in Bengal ( is a spoiler at festive occasions. though many women don't follow it, as i said, the judgmental streak remains.

gajra, mehendi, colourful sarees — a widow suddenly comes under scrutiny. at my wedding, however, there were two instances-- one of a widow from my in-laws side staying away from the mehendi and feeling quite awkward. in the same hall, another widow was getting her hands done with interest...

i don't understand why is it obligatory to wear gloom all your life and rap around a loss for all your remaining years. I have seen many people glorify sorrow and bereavement thus and get quite irritated.

more readings on death and the expectations a society has of a bereaved family here:


Anonymous said...

I love karela , in your sister's recipe we also add crushed saunf and lots of dried mango powder, and only shallow fry it. Sometimes we add large pieces of raw (green) mango, and baby potatoes. It tastes great.

This recipe I have never even heard of and am definitely going to try!! Looks great too!!!

Gauri Gharpure said...

Wow IHM,

saunf, aamchoor, keri and baby potatoes sound too delicious.
and dhirenbhai mentioned besan..

just one post and i am getting so many permutations and combinations to try with a sabzi as hated as karela!

i am really encouraged to put more recipes here just for the sharing of new ideas...

Ugich Konitari said...

Interesting recipe with the tamarind stuff.

But we also make a karlyachi chatni. You cut the karela into small bits and salt it and leave it for a while. Remove the water, amd fry those bits crisp. Combine this with roasted dry coconut, roasted til, and tons of green chillesand kadhipatta sauted brownish. Add salt to all this, with a bit of jeera powder . This stuff with daahi bhaat is out of this world. The chutney lasts in the fridge for some time (depending on the coconut). I have tried adding roasted flax(jawas) seed powder and that too tastes great.

Gauri Gharpure said...

Hi , thanks for sharing the chutney recipe in detail.. sounds too good and will try when I have all the ingredients together..

Sipup said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sipup said...

this is a very unique experiment with karela that i ever came across. i loved the recipe and am sure its going to taste real good. done with the guests to vote! :)