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.