Achari Aloo Karela
Bitter Melon Potato Stir-Fry
A low-oil, vegetarian Indian bitter-melon (karela) and potato (aloo) stir-fry with surprise flavor-enhancer from your own pantry i.e. Indian mango masala pickle. Perfect for a healthy side dish or a vegetarian main course with side of bread.
Indian Karela recipes have reputation of being very oily. Like fried whole stuffed karelas use a lot of oil to fry and needs time too. No offence, my family loves stuffed karela, but I'm always finding ways to make karela in lesser oil and still tastier.
So, my solution to low-oil karela is small chopped karela, not stuffed and fried, but stir-fried with achari masala. Honestly, this Karela dish comes together so fast, I never hesitate to cook some even on weekdays.
Being an Indian kitchen, my kitchen pantry always have jar or two of Indian achars (pickles) like mango pickle, lemon pickle or a fresh green chili pickle. Some of the pickle masala adds delicious flavor in Aloo Karela stir-fry without doing much effort.
Why make fresh pickle masala for this Achari Aloo when you have ready-to-use Mango Pickle masala?! :) Just a little touch of fresh nigella seeds (kalunji) adds the finishing touch and delicious karela sabji is ready for a healthy vegetarian Indian dinner.
How to reduce Bitterness of Karela?
Karela is such a vegetable, those who like it like it as-is , I mean bitter... and those who don't will never like it. Bitterness of karela is blessing in disguise and very healthy for it's blood-purifying qualities.
However, there are different ways you can control the bitterness of karela.
Cure with Salt Rub: One popular method is to cure karela with salt for 10-15 minutes before using. Salt reduce the bitterness by making karela release water. A lot of bitterness comes out with water and karela becomes less bitter.
Boil in Salted Water: Another method is to boil karela in salted water for 2-3 minutes. This method is little quick and gives wonderful results.
PS: Cooking karela and also paring it with neutral flavor veggies like potato also help balance the bitterness.
Changing season, like these days from winter to spring is best time to eat karela. More than just taste, it help cleanse the blood and also very helpful in keeping diabetes under check. Since this achari karela aloo sabji does not use a lot of oil, it is also healthier for lite weekday dinners.
I'm keeping promise of healthy Indian vegetarian main-course this week. I hope you enjoying these recipes. Enjoy your day and I see you again with a surprise from my kitchen.
A few more variations Karele Sabji:
Achari Aloo Karela
- Achari Aloo Karela
- 8-10 Karela (Bitter Melon) (washed, skin scraped with knife or peeler)
- 4-5 Potatoes (medium, peeled and sliced, slice small to cook faster)
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds (jeera seeds)
- 1/4 tsp Nigella Seeds (kalunji)
- 1-2 tsp Canola Oil
- 1/2 Cup Shallot Onions (or red onion, 2 medium, sliced thin rounds)
- 1-2 Garlic (minced)
- 2 tbsp Mango Pickle (only masala, just 1 mango piece small chopped)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder (adjust per liking )
- Serve with
- Rice (or Indian bread)
1. Wash karela and peel off or scrap off skin with knife.2. Slice karela in bite-size pieces. Cut karela in half, then half again and then cut each piece in small stick size. Or slice thin rounds.
- 3. (Optional Step) to Reduce Bitterness of Karela: Bring a pot of water to rolling boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt with water, add sliced karela into water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and discard water.
- 4. In a pan, add canola oil, when oil is hot, add cumin seeds and let them sputter. Then add chopped karela, half of mango acchar masala, nigella seeds (kalunji), turmeric, and chili powder, onion slices, garlic, aloo (potato) and fry mixture for 5 minutes on high heat.
5. Lower the heat, season with 1/2 tsp salt, cover and cook until potatoes are tender. (5-8 minutes) Open lid, check potato with knife, if easy to pierce they are cooked. Add remaining achaar masala and cook without lid on high heat for 2-3 minutes to crisp up karela and potatoes. Taste and adjust salt.6. Remove from heat. Serve with side of rice and raita or any side of your choice.
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