When it comes to looks, Devansh is his dad’s carbon copy. But luckily he has inherited my eating habits; he actually likes karela sabzi. I too have liked karela—made using my mom’s stuffed karela sabzi recipe—right from childhood. Although it’s not impossible to cultivate a liking for this sabzi later on in life, it’s best if we can get kids to eat this sabzi from early on. The list of health benefits provided by bitter gourd is endless really; to name a few—it’s good for reducing sugar levels in blood and urine, it’s good for constipation as it’s a good source of fiber, it helps increase metabolism of fats, purifies blood, and strengthens immune system.
I have to admit though that I didn’t really try to get Devansh to eat karela sabzi; I just assumed he wouldn’t like it. Whenever we were having karela for lunch, I would ask my cook to make some other sabzi for Devansh. One day he said he wanted to have my karela sabzi, so I gave him the stuffing. He said he liked it, so I gave him some more. This repeated on 2-3 more occasions. Then one day Devansh said, you’re only giving me the stuffing, give me a karela piece. You’ll find it bitter, I warned him. But he wanted to try, he was adamant. So I gave him some with chapati and he actually liked it.
Earlier we never used to add salt to the pieces before cooking so they would actually be quite bitter, so while feeding Devansh I would sprinkle a bit of salt before feeding him. Then I thought it would be better to add some beforehand and looked up recipes on the Internet and sure enough most of them said add salt and then wash off. So this is the only thing different from the way my mom used to make this sabzi; now my cook makes it. I usually ask my cook to make spinach kadhi or even plain kadhi along with this sabzi to ensure Devansh doesn’t get bored of its bitter taste. But he does have 5-6 pieces aaram se. Hope you and your kiddos like this packed-with-nutrition stuffed karela.
Stuffed Karela Sabzi Recipe
Serves two adults and a child
- 4 medium-sized bitter gourds karela
- 3 tbsp besan chickpea flour
- 3 tsp jowar flour sorghum powder
- 1 tsp ajwain carom seeds
- 1/5 th tsp haldi turmeric powder
- 1/5 th tsp hing asafoetida
- 1/5 th tsp red chili powder
- 1/5 th tsp mustard seeds
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
- Salt to taste
- Wash bitter gourds properly and then use a peeler or knife to scrape off the skin. (I don’t scrape off all skin, I keep some on.)
- Cut off the portion near both ends and then cut approximately 1-inch pieces.
- Scoop out the seeds and white flesh from the pieces, apply some salt on them, and then wash the pieces thoroughly after 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, take besan and jowar flour in a dry bowl.
- Add ajwain, haldi, hing, red chili powder and salt, and mix it well using a dry spoon.
- Arrange the karela pieces in a cooker’s vessel and then pour in the flours’ mixture in them. (Don’t press the stuffing as it doesn’t taste too good after cooking if the flours are packed in too tight.)
- Cook in a pressure cooker on medium flame for 10-15 minutes (4-5 whistles).
- Heat a pan and add 2 tbsp oil. (I usually use iron kadai because karela comes out nice and crispy, but it turns black. I didn’t want it to look black in the pics, so just this once I didn’t use iron kadai.)
- When the oil heats up, add mustard seeds.
- When the mustard seeds spultter, add a pinch of hing and haldi.
- Transfer 1-2 tsp of the tempering (tadka) in a separate bowl.
- Add the pressure-cooked karela pieces to the kadai, and stir.
- Sprinkle some salt and drop in a little bit of tadka that you had set aside from both sides of the pieces to eliminate the floury taste from the stuffing.
- Cook on medium flame for about 10 minutes while stirring intermittently. (You can add some oil while the sabzi is cooking if you feel it’s turning out too dry.)
- Add chopped coriander, stir, and cook for about a minute before turning off heat.