Karele ki sabzi

Karele ki Sabzi (bitter gourd)

Karele ki sabzi or bitter gourd vegetable is rarely liked by family members. It is almost an impossible task to make kids eat this. I have hardly seen a family where all family members love to eat and they demand Karele ki Sabzi (bitter gourd) in their lunch or dinner menu.

Not boasting, but I was always an obedient daughter and used to eat whatever my mom used to cook. Probably that’s how I slowly developed taste for all vegetables. I remember till 5th or 6th class my daughter Apoorva also used to eat every thing. But slowly she also became fussy and I just couldn’t make her eat a few veggies, including bitter gourd.

I love karela in any form – whether it is prepared as sabzi or in stuffed form. It tastes really good if onions are also added, but it is not compulsory. I like bitter gourd with hot parathas or as a side dish with simple daal – chawal.

There are many ways to cook bitter gourd. To eliminate its bitter taste you can peel it and smear it with salt and keep it like this for 2 hours. Later wash it and cook it.

I don’t want to wash away all nutrients of bitter gourd this way. So I never peel it. I just wash it and chop in small pieces and cook it with onions. To reduce the bitterness you can add dry mango powder (amchoor), grated raw mango or lemon juice.

Try this extremely nutritious vegetable in my way, probably you might develop a taste for it …

I have a few more posts on vegetables in the blog. You can take a look…Vegetables (Curries)

Ingrediants:

Bitter gourd(karela) 200 gms

Onions 2 big size

Oil 3 tbsp

Rai  (small mustard seeds ) 1/4 tsp

Cumin seeds (jeera) 1/4 tsp

Asafotida  (hing) 1/8 tsp

Coriander powder 1+1/2 tsp

Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp

Red chili powder 1 tsp

Coarsely grounded fennel seeds 2 tsp

Finely chopped green chilies 2

Salt  as per your taste

Water  2 or 3 tbsp

Dry mango powder/grated raw mango/lemon juice

Process:

Peel, wash and chop onions.

In a wok heat 1 tbsp of oil and add chopped onions. Keep the heat on sim and let the onions turn light brown. Keep tossing them from time-to-time.

Wash and chop bitter gourd in round shape.

In another wok heat two tbsp oil and crackle rai, hing and jeera. Add chopped bitter gourd and rest of the spices, except dry mango powder. Mix everything nicely, cover it and let it cook on sim heat. In between keep turning them upside down a couple of times. If you feel that sabzi is sticking to the bottom of the wok, add little water and let it cook till it is tender.

Onions would be ready by now – so, switch off heat.

Once bitter gourd is cooked, add onions and 1 tsp dry mango powder or 1 tbsp grated raw mango or 1 tbsp lemon juice. Mix it well, cover it and on sim heat and let it cook for 2-3 minutes more.

Karele ki sabzi is ready to be served.

Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd
 

Black Chana with Coriander Gravy (no onion-garlic)

Black Chana with Coriander Gravy (no onion-garlic) is a perfect dish for those who want simple food during their fasting days. Black Chana with coriander gravy is rich in nutrients. If you are inviting guests for lunch or dinner during your fasting days, this non-onion-garlic gravy dish might be the best dish in your menu!

Black chana – usually we know this as kala chana – belongs to the family of chickpeas. But kala chana is darker in colour and smaller than chickpea. Kala chana is usually cooked as a dry dish for snacks. But we can also prepare it as a gravy dish to be accompanied with roti (flat bread), poori or rice. Generally, we add onion along with tomatoes in all our gravy-based dishes to add to the volume of the gravy. Garlic is added for flavour. In India, some communities don’t use onion in their food due to their religious beliefs. Usually, new generation of these communities don’t follow these beliefs. But then, cooking two different types of dishes with the same ingredient is a burden.

So instead of using onions, you can use green coriander along with tomatoes, ginger and green chillies and prepare gravy not only for kala chana but for any other gravy based dishes as Lauki ke kofte ki sabzi (grated bottle gourd dumplings in curry), Chole (chickpeas with gravy)

Ingrediants:

Kala Chana 3/4 cup
Salt 1/2 tsp
Water 1+1/2 cups
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp

Tomatoes 3 medium size
Grated ginger 1/4 tsp
Green chilies 3 – 4
Green coriander 30 gm

Oil 2 tbsp
Rai (tiny mustard seeds) 1/4 tsp
Jeera (cumin) 1/4 tsp
Hing (asafoetida) 1/8 tsp
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Red chili powder 1/4 tsp
Add some more water and salt if required

Process :

Wash and soak chana in 1+1/2 cups of water overnight.

Next day in the morning add salt and turmeric powder in soaked chana and pressure cook it with using the same water in which chana was soaked till it becomes soft.

While chana is getting cooked, we will prepare gravy. Wash and chop tomatoes, green coriander leaves, green chilies, grated ginger and grind all of them in the mixer to prepare paste. If required, add little bit of water while grinding.

Heat oil, crackle rai, hing, jeera and add the grinded paste in a wok.

Add rest of the spices. Keep stirring on medium heat until all spices are cooked.

By now chana must be cooked. Switch off the flame and let the steam of the pressure cooker settle down. Open the lid and add chana into the ready masala.

Reduce the heat to sim and let it cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Stir in between and add some water if you feel that consistency is too thick. Taste a bit, and if required, add some salt. After 10 – 15 minutes of cooking, kala chana with coriander gravy is ready to be served!!

 

Mooli ki bhujiya (sabzi)

Mooli ki Bhujiya sounds as if we are talking about a snack recipe. But when we add leaves and roots of radish together and prepare vegetable (sabzi), it is called Mooli ki bhujiya (sabzi). In North India, radish is available only during winters. But, here in Bangalore, good quality radish is available during summers too.

Initially, around 16 years back when we shifted to Bangalore, it was really difficult to find radish with leaves. Leaves used to be cut and thrown away from radish by the vegetable shop owners. But now in front of my apartment a vegetable vendor sells radish with all the leaves. In fact, whenever I show interest to buy leaves too, the sellers are amused and give me plenty of leaves free of cost. Probably they are relieved that their garbage is being cleaned up by customers!!

This sabzi requires raw radish – so be careful while choosing. Radish will not remain tender when it starts ripening and will not taste good. Remove the stems if they are too thick and attached with the leaves. Use soft leaves and soft raw radish.

I have one more recipe with radish in the blog – if you are interested can take a look…Mooli ka paratha (wheat flour flat bread stuffed with spicy radish)

There are a few more posts on different vegetables in the blog. You can check this link to look at them Vegetables (Curries).

Ingredients

Radish with leaves

Oil 2 tbsp
Tiny mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida 1/8 tsp

Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 +1/2 tbsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Green chillies chopped 2
Salt as per your taste

Process :

Take radish and leaves, wash them nicely in the running water and chop them separately.

Heat oil in a wok and crackle tiny mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida.

Add chopped radish and leaves along with all spices except salt – mix this nicely and cover for 5 minutes.

When we prepare leafy vegetables, their volume gives an impression of large quantity. But leaves shrink while cooking – so always add salt once the leaves settle down after 5 minutes of cooking.

Now add salt – mix it well and again cover the wok.

Keep on stirring sabzi continually till radish becomes tender and all moisture dries out. Mooli ki Bhujiya (sabzi) is ready!

 

Kairie ki loungi (raw mango dish)

‘Kairie ki loungi’  (raw mango dish) sunte hee muh mei paani aa jaata hai (mouth starts watering after listening to the name of the dish). This dish is prepared with raw mangoes.  Kairie ki loungi is one of my favorite raw mango dishes during summer since childhood. It is a side dish with your regular meals or you can have it with paratha during breakfast.

Sour taste of raw mango is balanced by sugar/jaggery, salt and red chilli powder. Seasoning with fennel seeds gives sweet fragrant flavor. When sugar melts and gets mixed with the rest of the ingredients, the look of the dish and taste reaches to another level altogether!! You have beautiful caramelized raw mango dish which will get over by licking directly from the pan. Oh, I can really write a poem on this!!!

Am I exaggerating too much?? Not at all… Try this recipe and experience the wonderful taste of my favorite raw mango dish ‘Loungi’ during summer!!

The whole credit for this recipe goes to my younger sister Nandini. Amongst the three sisters she is the one who started cooking very early. So her culinary skills are excellent. Last year during my Jaipur trip she prepared loungi and since then I have been waiting for the summer season to get back that wonderful taste!!!

You can check one more post from raw magoes in the blog. It is traditional Indian cool summer beverage Kachhi keiri ka pana/panna (raw mango beverage)

Ingredients :

400 gm kairie (raw mango medium sized peeled and sliced)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp sauf
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt or as per your taste( can take a mix of white and black salt)
Water 1/4 cup
1/3 cup Sugar

You can reduce or increase the quantity of salt, sugar and chilli powder as per your preference.

For oil, my preference is mustard oil for its pungent flavor.

Process :

Wash, peel and cut raw mangoes in long pieces. The seed of raw mango is tender. While slicing kairie, the seed will also be sliced. Remove the seed after cutting kairie into pieces.

In a broad pan heat oil and crackle funnel seeds.

Add cut pieces of kairie and rest of the spices, except sugar.

Add water, mix everything and cover the pan.

Raw mango gets cooked very soon – so after a minute keep stirring in between. When the kairie is 80% cooked and needs a few more minutes, add sugar and keep stirring very gently till sugar melts. Switch off heat.

Be careful here – don’t let kairie cook completely before adding sugar. If it is completely cooked, it will become mushy when sugar/jagegery is added. Slight crisp and soft pieces of kairi taste really nice.

Loungi wouldn’t last more than a day, but if you want to save it for the next day to eat it with paratha for breakfast, keep it in the fridge.

 

Ripe Mangoes Gojju/Curry

What kind of dish is Ripe Mango Gojju/Curry? I believe all my South Indian friends know everything about this dish. I will tell you how I first got introduced to this summer fruit mango dish…

Around two years back my dear friend Padmaja and I had gone to attend a housewarming ceremony of our mutual friend Poornima’s house. Generally in South India menu on such occasions is kept traditional. Amongst the dishes there was this one dish which was prepared from semi-ripe mangoes. It was such a delicious dish that I was amazed that something so good could be prepared with ripened mangoes other than Mangoshake (aamras).

Later I asked Poornima about the dish and she told that it is called Ripe Mangoes Gojju. In Kannada gojju means curry and is prepared with special small mangoes that are sweet and sour in taste. Noticing our interest Poornima generously packed Gojju for Padmaja and me.

Subsequently Padmaja and I decided to give it a try at home but I completely forgot about this.

Now mango season is back and Padmaja and I were talking when we suddenly recalled the house warming feast and the ripe mango gojju. We both decided that we were going to prepare the dish this summer. Padmaja belongs to the beautiful coastal city of Mangalore, so she prepared this Gojju in a complete traditional manner with curry leaves and more towards the salty side to be relished with rice.

I couldn’t find the same quality of mangoes which are required to prepare mango gojju, but I got small size mangoes and I went ahead with the preparation. As curry leaves are not much appreciated by Manish and Apoorva, I instead used fresh mint leaves and dry mint powder. Mine was a little towards the sweet version than the salty one. So it had sweet, sour, salty and chirpy taste. I kept it in the fridge and after 3 hours it was the best homemade summer beverage!! It was really refreshing and delicious. I was  glad that now to beat the summer heat I have one more wonderful cooling recipe. Isn’t it nice to explore different food cultures around us!!!

Ingredients :

Small size firm mangoes (sweet and sour in taste), two crushed green chillies, fresh chopped mint leaves, oil, rai (tiny mustard seeds), curry leaves, sugar, white salt, black salt, dry roasted cumin seeds powder, dry mint powder and water to boil mangoes.

Process :

Wash mangoes nicely and boil them in water (half soaked) till they are tender.

Don’t throw away the boiled water. Peel mangoes and with the help of knife or flat spatula take out all the pulp from the peeled skin of mangoes. Mix this pulp in boiled water. Now discard the peeled skin and squeeze out some pulp from the seed of mangoes too (but not completely).

This pulp would be having a lot of fiber – so grind it in the mixer along with sugar. Sugar volume should be such that the natural sweet taste of mangoes is also retained.

Add rest of the ingredients. White and black salt are added to enhance the taste. Mint leaves, mint powder and dry cumin powder enhance the  soothing fresh flavor. Crushed green chilies and tadka or seasoning in the end with oil and tiny rai or mustard seeds will give it a touch of Gojju.

Mix everything nicely, keep it in the fridge to cool down and later refresh yourself with this slightly tweaked version of traditional Ripe Mangoes Gojju. You can add some more water later if you want to have thin consistency.

 

 

Kachhi keiri ka pana/panna (raw mango beverage)

Summer brings many childhood memories of spending time with friends after exams. These include gulping one big watermelon with your cousins, having chilled musk melons early in the morning, munching grapes whole day, drinking Mangoshake (aamras), preparing sharbat (beverages) with Rasna and Roohafza, and drinking my favorite kachhi kairi ka pana with smoky flavor!!

 

Kachhi kairi is raw mango and pana/panna is beverage which is prepared by either boiling or roasting raw mango. At my parents’ house we had traditional chulha (stove) and my mother used to roast raw mangoes on that. This roasting method gives wonderful charred flavor to the drink.

The other method is to simply boil raw mangoes and prepare this beverage. Kairi ka pana is a refreshing summer drink and adding fresh mint leaves enhances its already wonderful taste. It has sweet, salty and tangy taste and jaggery can be used instead of sugar. After preparing you can add a few ice cubes or leave it in the fridge till it is chilled.

To prepare kairi ka pana, always buy firm raw mangoes. If you will just keep on postponing the preparation for 2-3 days, kairi will ripen because of summer heat and will turn sweet. The same happened with me, so if you will see the pictures, the pulp has slight yellow colour. But as the taste of the pulp was still tangy, I went ahead with the rest of the process.

Ingredients :

Raw mangoes (kairie), sugar powder, white salt, black salt, red chilli powder, dry cumin seeds powder, dry mint powder and fresh mint leaves.

Use all dry ingredients as per your taste buds. Sugar or jaggery is added so that the extra tangy taste of raw mango can be balanced. Therefore, sugar gets added a lot more than the other ingredients. Rest of the ingredients are added to enhance the flavor. Add them in small quantities and check the taste from time-to-time and adjust according to your liking. My personal suggestion is to go generous with mint and roasted cumin seeds powder.

Process :

Wash and boil or roast kairie (raw mangoes) till they are become soft. Don’t throw away the water in which kairie is boiled.

Let them cool down completely and peel off the skin.

Take out all the pulp and mix it in boiled water.

If you are using granulated sugar, pour this pulp and sugar in mixer and grind it till sugar is mixed thoroughly. If using hand blander, use powdered sugar. Pour this mixture in a pan.

Add other dry ingredients, mix them well, taste and if you are satisfied with the ratio of all ingredients, add finely chopped green mint leaves.

Mix it well and kachhi kairi ka pana is ready to beat the summer heat 🔥.