Three Delicious Recipes with Karela, Bitter Gourd

Widen your horizons by trying this Indian vegetable called Karela, or bitter gourd. Here are three quick traditional karela recipes.

  • Photo courtesy fotolia/gnohz

  • Photo courtesy fotolia/DavorLovincic

  • Photo courtesy iStock/amyjosmile

Bitter gourds originated in the Gulf of Bengal on the coast of Corromandel and made their way to most of tropical and sub-tropical Asia. They were first brought to Europe by way of sea in 1764. They had already reached China in the 14th century, where a different type (larger, oblong, lighter green and with a warty surface) had been selected and favored.

In the case of bitter gourds, there are so many beneficial medicinal and nutritional uses that it took just a little bit of cooking skills to find a way to overcome the bitter taste. First, fruits should be harvested at immature stage when dark green in color, similar to harvesting a cucumber. Then the center part that contains the seeds should be carefully scooped out. The remaining is cut into slices and ready to be cooked. To remove some of the bitterness, blanching is necessary and can be repeated up to three times, changing the water each time. The sliced fruits can then be prepared in several ways: stir fried, in salads and in curry dishes (as seen in the following recipes).

(Pictures of each recipe, in the order appear, are displayed in the Slideshow above)

Rougail de Margoze (from the Reunion Island)

• Two “Margozes” (bitter gourds)
• 2 Ripe tomatoes
• 1 Onion
• 1/4 cup curry powder
• Salt

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