Stuffed Bitter Gourd / Karela ~ Bitter Gourd / Stuffed Pagarkai / Stuffed kakara kayi / Pavakkai
|1 no||Onion ( chopped)|
|¼ cup||Paneer (crumbled)|
|¼ no||Tomato (chopped)|
|2 clove||Garlic (finely minced)|
|¼ inch||Ginger (finely chopped)|
|¼ tsp||Turmeric powder|
|¼ tsp||Red chili powder|
|1 tsp||Coriander powder|
|¼ tsp||Cumin seeds|
|¼ cup||Coriander leaves (chopped)|
|1 pinch||Garam masala powder|
|4 nos||Bitter gourd (big)|
|¼ tsp||Turmeric (for marinating)|
|¼ tsp||Salt (for marinade)|
|1 no||Onion ( chopped for frying)|
|2 tbsp||Gram flour|
|4 stks||Coriander leaves (chopped for garnishing)|
|2 tsp||Oil (for shallow frying onion)|
Preparation: Wash the bitter gourd thoroughly, scrape the skin (just the rugged surface) and keep aside if you wish to use or else discard. Make a long incision using a sharp knife keeping the corners intact. Using the back of a spoon, scoop out the spongy pulp and seeds. Most big gourds have matured seeds and pulp, so its better to discard, you may keep if tender. Rub with turmeric and salt from table-2 all over the gourd covering both inner and outer surface. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Now bring 4 cups of water to boil, drop the gourd and blanch for 5 to 7 minutes until the skin becomes soft. Do not steam too much as, it might make the skin turn tender and will break apart while stuffing. When done, drain and let cool completely.
Stuffing: Heat oil from table-1, splutter cumin seeds and fry onion, garlic and ginger till golden. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for few seconds then include crumbled paneer, turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and salt. (You may include the scraped skin and pulp at this stage, if you wish to use ). Saute for 3 minutes, garnish with coriander leaves and switch off. Let this cool completely.
Fried onions: This step is optional but taste yummy when included. Heat oil (table-3) and shallow fry the onions till crisp and golden. This may take 15 minutes over low medium flame. This fried onion can be used as bed for serving stuffed bitter gourd or garnish on top. In my picture, the stuffed bitter gourd are cut into small circular pieces, garnished with fried onions and coriander leaves.
Final Assembling: Carefully stuff each cooked gourd with paneer mixture and cover the opening with little gram flour. You may also seal the opening with a toothpick or tie a thread around it to secure. Heat oil in a pan, place the stuffed gourd cut side down and shallow fry for 7 minutes low medium flame. When the lower portion cooks, the gram flour gives a crispy look completely sealing the opening. Carefully flip to the other side and cook again, until the entire outer portion looks dark brown and crispy. When done, serve as a whole piece or slice them as shown, garnish with fried onions and chopped coriander leaves.
Yield: 4 Adult servings.