Bitter Gourd/Karela (hagalkai in Kannada, pavvakai in tamil) has long being used in India not just as a food but also to control blood sugar among diabetics. This is because bitter gourd contains a chemical that acts much like insulin to lower blood sugar. Though there are no significant studies to support this, Diabetics in India do try and include bittergourd regularly(either as a food or as a juice). In some countries, bitter melon is consumed as a treatment for malaria as the bitter flavor is due to the melon’s quinine content.
Ingredients for Punjabi Style Stuffed Karela (with onions) : Serves
- Bitter gourds (karela): 6 medium nos or 10-12 small
- Onion :3 nos. finely chopped
- Red chili powder: 1 tsp (or as per heat tolerance)
- Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
- Garam masala : 1/2 tsp
- Amchur (dry mango)powder: 1 tsp
- Fennel seeds(saunf): 1 tsp (crushed)
- Oil: 2 tbsp
- Salt: to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F.
- Prepare the karela by washing and drying them ( I don’t peel the skin,or apply salt to it, but you could if you feel it makes the dish too bitter).
- Slice each karela in the centre (without going all the way through) and scrape out the inside including the seeds using a teaspoon .
- Place the karela on a baking tray and bake for 30-45 mins (till it starts to shrink and brown a bit). If the karela is thick, it may require a bit longer, so keep checking.
- In the meanwhile heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and fry until golden brown.
- Add the spice powders and salt ,mix well. Fry for a few seconds and remove from the heat.
- Once cooled use a spoon or your hands and stuff the karela with equal amounts of the mixture. Smear any extra stuffing or oil on the karela.
- You can bake the karela again for a further 10-15 mins or pan-fry the stuffed karela in a teaspoon of oil for 5-10 mins.
- Serve with rice and dal or with roti’s and a sabzi.
- Once cooked the karela will keep refrigerated for up to a week.