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Recipe: Jayanti’s Stuffed Kalonji Karela

Jayanti Soni‘s Stuffed Karela is fried up with less oil, and the addition of onions, kalonji and saunf do wonders in elevating the taste of this vegetable that is not usually everyone’s favourite.

Remember to opt for the smaller variety of karela (bitter gourd) as it stays soft from the inside and is easier to cook.

Jayanti is an ace cook of wholesome, lightly-flavoured vegetarian Rajasthani food. She says: “In Rajasthani cuisine, dishes change as the season changes. Summer it’s Raabdi, Kairi Ki Lonji, Panna.”

“In the winter season,” says Jayanti, “we have Haldi Ki Sabji, Daal Ka Halwa, Bhutta Chatpata, Sangri, Patolia, Bajra Khichdi, Makka Khichdi, Makke-Baajre Ki Roti, Gajar Kaa Halwa, Aloo-Matar Ki Sabji, Mooli Ke Parathe, Makki Ka Dhokla.

“During the rainy season: Dahi Aaloo, Arbi Ki Saabji, Panchmel Daal, Besan Mirchi, Besan Ki Sabji, Dal-Baffale.”

If you’d like Jayanti to post the recipe for any of the above Rajasthani delicacies, do tell us at [email protected]

Stuffed Karela or Karela Bharke

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

  • 250 gm or about 5 small-sized karela or bitter gourd
  • 2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped 
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 8-10 pods garlic, ground to a paste
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • ½ tbsp mustard oil
  • 1½ tsp red chilly powder
  • 1½ tsp dhania or coriander powder
  • ½ tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp saunf or fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp kalonji or onions seeds
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • In a bowl, combine the chopped onions, garlic paste, green chillies.
    Add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder, saunf, kalonji seeds and salt.
    Squeeze the juice of the half lime and mix well.
  • Make a long, deep slit in each karela and add the stuffed mixture.
    Repeat the process with all the bitter gourd.
    If there is any masala remaining, it can be added later while frying.
  • Heat the mustard oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan or kadhai over medium heat.
    When the oil is hot, add the karelas.
    Cover and let cook.
    After 2 minutes, carefully flip the karelas.
    If the karela might stick to the bottom of the pan and burn, place a tava underneath it.
    After 5 minutes, check if the karelas have become soft.
    Add the remaining masala and mix gently.
    Cover again.
    After 5 minutes, check if the karelas are cooked and you can easily cut through the karela
    Take off heat and serve with hot chappatis.

Editor’s Note: You might consider adding a dash of sugar or gud (jaggery) to the stuffing.

WATCH: How to make Stuffed Karela.
Video: Dhairya Soni

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