Thursday, November 24, 2005

No-fry Karela Crispies

I am not a big fan of Karela aka Bitter Melon. Bitter melons are an acquired taste. Some love it and many hate it. I hate it too. Before I got married, I always managed to escape the horror of eating bitter melon that my mother lovingly cooked for us. My mother used to tell me how good this vegetable was, for our health, but it fell to deaf ears. I even went to the extreme of avoiding being in the same room when she cut bitter melons for her curry. I hated the smell that emanated when raw bitter melons were cut. So, obviously, it came as a big shock to me when my husband expressed his love for this infamous vegetable.

Luckily, he understood my predicament and never asked me to cook this vegetable for him. But that turned out to be a good thing. I felt sorry for him and started looking for bittermelons in Indian grocery stores and Asian markets. Dear husband loves bittermelon curries where the bitterness is at its best whereas I could hardly eat a spoonful of that stuff. I preferred the taste of the bittermelon slices fried crisp, in oil. But the problem with that recipe was that it took long time to fry the slices and I'm not really into deep frying stuff in oil. I think the oil, somehow, takes away the real taste of the vegetables and gives just an oily taste. After a few trials and errors, I settled down on this recipe. It needs just 2-3 tbsp oil and tastes even better than deep fried bittermelon slices. Without much ado, Here's my 'No-fry Karela Crispies'.

No-fry Karela Crispies

Bittermelon - 2
Oil - 2-3 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp

Wash the bittermelon and slice them using a mandolin slicer into thin round slices. Mix with salt, turmeric and chilli powder and marinate for about 1/2 an hour. Preheat the oven to about 375F. Spread foil on a baking tray and grease it with about a tbsp oil. Toss the bittermelon slices with 2 tbsp oil and spread them on the baking tray. OR you can skip this step and spray some oil on top. Bake for about 5 mins and then broil it for 7 mins. Depending on the type of your oven, the broiling might be a few mins more or less. When I broil it, I watch it like a hawk. Crispy Karela... without the deep frying!

The first bittermelon picture is from this site.


Indira said...

Kay..Vijay, my husband loves this vegetable. I often makes the fry on stove top. I just left the round slices of karela on stovetop for 30 minutes like that, on low heat until they turn crisp like you showed in the picture.
Your version sounds great and easy too. I am going to try this recipe definitely. Thanks for sharing.

Kay said...

Thanks Indira! Let me know how it turns out.

gkals said...

Hi kay,

Just now i saw indira's website and found your karela recipe.Thanks for sharing.I would like to know more recipes which has less oil and can be baked in oven.Thanks in advance

Kay said...

Sure kals, I love cooking with less oil. I'll post a recipe for 'Roasted fish' which tastes even better than 'Fried fish'. It's a process you can apply to any meat or vegetable to get the crispy texture and great taste.

kals said...

Thanks a lot kay.By the way your chicken biryani make my mouth water.Thanks for explaining it in detail.I have never tried biryani in an oven.Will try it soon and let u know.Thanks again

Kay said...

Kals, I just posted the fish recipe. You can use the same process for any meat/vegetables.

And thanks for your kind words about my Biryani recipe. If you get to try it, do tell me how it turned out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay,

Any idea on how to get rid of some of the bitterness on karelas....


Kay said...

Jaya, you can marinate it with salt, chilli powder etc... After sometime, it waters - you can throw this water and then fry/saute - this would take some of the bitterness out.

OR add tamarind juice while cooking..

Ravi said...

Great recipe. I simply love bitter gourd. Have you tried bitter gourd cooked in tamarind and jaggery sauce? (gojju in kannada).

Anonymous said...


Iam going to try this today. Wanted to know whether I can store them in airtight containers after roasting in this way? if yes, how long is t shelf life?

Kay said...

well, i've never kept it for long... so, no idea about shelf life. :)

sure, you can store it in airtight container. make sure it has cooled down before storing it airtight... if its hot, it will become soggy when you store it airtight.

Kannu said...

Karela is certainly a developed taste - I love it now - used to hate it much like you. Thanks for the great recipe. Incidentally, it should be "emanated" and not "emancipated" in the opening section of your blog. Thanks!!

Kay said...

Thanks for correcting that, kannu! :) I edited my post.

Hemlata @ said...

Actually, I don't like karela. I think i will try this recipe. I like your idea. Thank you.