Karela bhaji recipe Maharashtrian style | How to make Karlyachi Bhaji

  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 7m
  • Ready In : 25m

There aren’t very many people who would agree that bitter, well I’d say palatably bitter-ish vegetables are also delicious. Well, crazy people like me would swear by them.

Vegetables like Methi leaves (fresh Fenugreek) and Karela (bitter gourd) are delicious aren’t they? Specially if you cook them well.

Not only are they yum, but they also have blood purifying qualities, which make them all the more important in your diet. I love Karela in all forms, except boiled! I try adding it wherever and whenever I can.

This recipe is a family favourite now, one I learnt from my sister.

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  • Karela/ bittergourd- 4
  • Sesame seeds- 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Dessicated coconut- 2 tbsp
  • Sugar- 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder (Haldi)- 1/4 tsp
  • Tamarind pulp- 1/2 tsp
  • Goda masala (Kala masala) optionl Garam Masala- 1/2 tsp
  • Oil- 2 tbsp
  • Jaggery- 1 tsp
  • For the tempering (Tadka)
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida (Hing)- 1 pinch

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1. Wash the karela & cut  into thin rings. Apply about 1 1 /2 tsp salt and keep aside. Don’t frown at the quantity of salt- it’s going to be squeezed off! Keep aside for at least 10- 30 minutes.

2. The karela will release a lot of water because of the salt. Squeeze the karela in your palms to release all the water . This will help rid of some of the bitterness.

3. Heat oil in a wok. This vegetable tastes best with a good amount of oil, so don’t skimp. Add 1 tbsp oil.

4. Add the bitter gourd slices and fry till crisp. You could add 1/2 tsp sugar at this stage, so that it  helps crisp up the karela. Keep aside.

5. Add another tbsp oil to the same wok. Add the mustard seeds & hing.

6. Mix well. Sprinkle a little water. Adjust the salt and add a little more sugar or jaggery as required.  Remember that we have already applied a lot of salt initially to the slices, so put very little salt while cooking.

7. Add turmeric, chilli powder, tamarind pulp, sesame seed and coconut powder and goda masala.

8. Cover and let cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat.

9. Remove the cover. Stir fry on high heat for 1 minute till dry.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rotis or steaming hot rice and dal.

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I cooked the vegetable in a cast iron pan to enhance the iron content, so the end result was a little darker than usual. But you can cook it in any wok.

Taste best with rotis or steaming hot rice- any time of the year.

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