Kurkura Karela - Crispy Fried Bitter Gourd

I don’t think bitter gourd (aka bitter melon) has many fans.  I used to hate it.  If I heard mom say she made “karele ki sabzi” (bitter gourd fry) I used to go “ewwww”.  And one among the million differences my husband & I have is he loves bitter gourd sabzi.  So around mid of last year I tried making it first time.  Even after rubbing it in salt it was so disgustingly bitter that I swore I’d never make it again.  But then you know, when your husband really likes something, you just feel like giving it another try.
Kukura Karela - fried bitter gourds & onions, rubbed with a salty-spicy-tangy masala mixture
So after he excitedly bought some home few weeks back, I half-heartedly began to peel them.  The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the bitter gourd was how creepily it resembled the rat that stole my plum!!!
With that shape, body & tail, don't you think it has an uncanny resemblance to the rat!?! :)
“Ugh,” I went, still feeling the goose bumps, and continued to cook.  And after I tried one tiny bite of the sabji at dinner, I made it again the next day.  That’s how much I actually, really, seriously and surprisingly liked this Kurkure Karele ki sabzi (Crispy Fried Bitter Gourd).
The masala that adds life to the karela
Kurkura Karela
adapted from Shobha Indani, serves 4-6

What you'll need:
2 cup bitter gourd (karela), peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp cashew nuts (kaju), roughly chopped
2 Tbsp raisins (kishmish)
1 cup onion (pyaaz), thinly sliced
2 tsp red chili (lal mirch) powder
2 tsp cumin seed (jeera) powder
1 tsp dry mango (amchoor) powder
1 tsp fennel seed (saunf) powder
1 tsp chaat masala
Salt & powdered sugar to taste [I used ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar]
Oil for deep frying

Let's Begin!
1.  Toss the sliced bitter gourd with 1 Tbsp salt & keep them aside for 15-20 minutes.  Then gently squeeze them to remove the bitter juice.  Keep aside until use.
2.  Heat oil in a pan; lightly fry the cashew nuts & raisins until golden brown, spread on one side of absorbent paper.
3.  Then individually (separately) fry onion slices & squeezed bitter gourd slices until golden brown & crispy.  You can choose not to make it too crispy if you don’t like it.  Drain & spread on paper towel/absorbent paper/newspaper to remove excess oil.
4.  Mix the 5 dry powdered spices along with salt & powdered sugar.  Add the 3 fried items to this and rub them well between fingers (or toss).  Done.  Kurkura Karela is ready to eat with roti or rice.  Doesn’t need to be reheated.

Notes:
-  The nuts & raisins are optional; I liked the sweet raisins in between & crunchy cashews.  In fact, you can even add crispy fried okra to this recipe along with onions & bitter gourd!
-  It is very important to rub bitter gourd slices with salt well and squeeze out the juice; you don’t want to be punishing yourself later :D

This Kurkure Karele ki subzi can be stored in an air-tight container for 7-8 days.  That’s why makes a good sabji to take for travel. 

This recipe changed the way I used to look at bitter gourd.  Which vegetable changed your perception and how?

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20 comments:

  1. I love karela, so will try this out definitely..

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  2. love the way those masalas r lined...this would definitely win the karela haters

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  3. Delicious..Beautiful clicks too dear.

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  4. Yes, bitter gourd is an acquire taste I LOVE this dish. When we go banana leave, we NEVER miss ordering this.

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely agree, it's an acquired taste :)

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  5. I love the way u took the pictures. Lovely!
    http://lavanyasrecipes.blogspot.com/

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  6. NIce recipe..love the pic with dry spice powders.

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  7. Wow great looking crispy fried bittergourds..love it..

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  8. That is an interesting take on Karela. I don't mind karela but my husband loves it will definitely try it.

    Love the pics... especially the fresh karela's... n the masala too... :)

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    Replies
    1. Tell me how you & your hubby like it, Anisha!
      And thanks :)

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  9. Crisp and delicious karela,we do make like this, we call it karela ki kachariya and surely it's the best karela preparation.it's good ki now you start liking karela,so may be you will try bharwa karela too :)
    your recipe and your post both are very interesting..loved them..

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    Replies
    1. Nice to know. Yes, I'm surely trying your bharwan karela one of these days! :)
      And thanks Anjana!!

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  10. its kinda the opposite in my house, i love karela and my husband doesnt care for the bitterness... except for a dish i make which is pretty similar to this, the sugar cuts down the bitterness and that he loves :)

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  11. here is one subzi i don't know how to make. i'm not too fond of karela , but i'll eat it if my mom makes it. i know it has lots of benefits, but if this is deep fried, i'll eat it. :-)

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  12. Looks so tempting! Yummy subzi

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  13. i love karella your recipe is so simple and good

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