Karela, aka, Bitter Gourd: An Expansion of the Senses

So, if you’re from the Indian subcontinent, or a world-class gourmand, you’ll recognize the name of the vegetable being lauded here:  Karela, aka Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon.  It is true to its name in that it is bitter to the taste, and yet it is one of the most common and even popular veggies on the vegetable smogasbord in India.  Despite its bitter taste, that is!   Bitter, as you might well know is one of the five established taste sensations that is not the most sought after, unlike its cousins Sweet, Salty, Sour, and Umami. 

There’s a wiki entry here, if you wish to learn more about this interesting veggie.

But when you do cultivate a taste for the bitter, you are drawn to it like a child to candy.  Take it from me, I’d know.  Because I just had some yesterday.  And to offer up some images of this fantastic vegetable that is also known to have medicinal qualities, check out the before and after pictures here.  My mother made these, by the way.  And although you could cook this any which way you please, this simple method of cutting it into thin slices, salting it and letting it sit for a while before you fry it with dry seasonings (salt, red chillie powder, turmeric, garlic, and mango-powder) is my favorite.

Trust me, even for this, I say with as much gusto:  Yeh Hui Na Baat!

Leave a Reply