Sukhi Kerela Subzi (bitter gourd made with dry Indian spicies)
2 long bitter gourds, 1 onion, 4 green chillies, a pinch of turmeric powder, ½ tablespoon garam masala, ½ tablespoon cumin powder, salt to taste, a small block of jaggery or 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ cup coconut (dry and roasted or fresh) or ½ cup coarsely ground peanuts, coriander to garnish
- Peel the outer skin just enough to remove the dentures in the karela. Cut it to remove the seeds and a slight portion of the inner white. Chop it into small pieces. Rub plenty of salt on to the sliced pieces and leave this over night or at least 5 – 6 hours. This treatment helps removing the bitterness to a large extent.
- Wash the karela pieces in plenty of water to ensure proper removal of the salt. Drain the water and tie the pieces in a cloth to squeeze out the excess water.
- Heat and shallow pan, add some oil to it and roast the karela pieces till they start getting a brown edge. This should take about 5 – 7 minutes.
- In a cooking pan, add some oil and sauté onions and green chillies.
- Subsequently, add turmeric powder, garam masala and cumin powder and sizzle the species for about 3 minutes. Red chilli powder can be added if needed.
- Then, add the roasted karela pieces to the pan and add ½ cup of water. Cover the pan and let to cook to 10 – 15 minutes. Keep checking intermittently to see the vegetables do not stick to the bottom of the pan and that there is enough water to cook the karela. Add more water in small amounts if the water is drying up. However, do not add too much water since the karela itself will also loose water on cooking.
- Once the karela has become tender, add jaggery or sugar and cook with lid on for a few minutes. The final result should taste slightly sweet and spicy, with a tinge of bitterness.
- Add coconut or crushed peanuts and cook for 2 -3 minutes more. Alternatively, ½ cup of premixed coconut and crushed peanuts can be added.
- Garnish with coriander and serve with hot chapattis.