My mother-in-law makes very good karele (bitter gourd) ki sabzi, in both dry and gravy form. This recipe of karele ki sabzi made in a delicious sesame and peanut gravy made by her tastes great and you can’t even tell any bitterness of the bitter gourd. (Boohoo, bitter gourd!)
Tilli-Phalli ke Karele (Bitter Gourd in Sesame and Peanut Gravy)
2 Tbsp oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
Pinch asafetida (heeng)
⅛ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
2 dry red chilies, broken (sookhi lal mirch)
Few curry leaves (karipatta)
1 ¼ cup bitter gourd (karela), peeled and diced or sliced, rinsed well and drained
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 ½ tsp red chili powder (lal mirch powder), or to taste
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 cup water
1 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor)
½ cup roasted sesame-peanut (tilli-phalli) powder
¼ tsp garam masala
¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
Roasted sesame-peanut powder: Take sesame and peanut in 1:2 ratio. In a pan roast peanuts first, when almost done add sesame seeds and roast until light brown (sesame gets roasted faster). Let cool then grind to powder. This powder mix keeps well when stored in room temperature and can be used in several sesame-peanut gravies.
Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add mustard seeds, let pop. Add cumin seeds, let sizzle. Add asafetida + fenugreek seeds + dry red chilies + curry leaves. Add bitter gourd and mix well. Add turmeric powder + red chili powder + salt, mix well. Add water, mix, cover and cook for 5-8 minutes on medium heat or until bitter gourd turns tender. Add dry mango powder + sesame-peanut powder + garam masala and mix well. Sesame-peanut powder will thicken and make a wonderful gravy. You can add some more water to adjust gravy consistency as desired. Add cilantro, mix and serve the bitter gourd in sesame and peanut gravy hot with roti and rice.
If you like the dry version of bitter gourd, try this Kurkure Karele (crispy bitter gourd) recipe that involves frying bitter gourd, onion, cashew nuts and raisins and mixing them with a dry spice mix. Super simple and great to carry for travel or lunch box.
And if you want to make bitter gourd in a nice and creamy gravy that can accompany rice as well (and not just roti), give this Tilli Phalli ke Karele a shot.
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