Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pavakka Mezhukkuparatti (Bitter Gourd / Karela / Pavakka Stir Fry)

Any dish made out of Pavakkya or Bitter gourd immediately generates a wide ramge of reactions - either love for Bitter gourd or hatred for it. I feel majority of people donot like this humble but great vegetable and ladies who cook bitter gourd try various means to reduce its bitterness so that it becomes a more "acceptable" vegetable in their family :)

However, if one understands the health benefits of this wonder vegetable, I think there would be many converts!! If I have to describe the benefits of bitter gourd, then this blog post would become too long !! However, if I dont mentionm a few of them, then I would be doing injustice to this vegetable.

A few benefits are - it has folates that helps pregnant women, vitamin B, vitamin A and above all Vitamin C which is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants which helps body scavenge the free radicals that are generated in our body on a daily basis... 
However, one biggest benefit we all need to know is that this wonder vegetable is known to reduce blood glucose levels... in today's world where there is a vast population suffering from Diabetes, bitter gourd is definitely helpful in fighting this menace!!
We now see how to make a simple but very tasty and more importantly nutritious dish out of this veggie...


Bitter Gourd - 200 gms (shown here is a smaller variety that we get in chennai, the normal dark green long one or the whitish one that we get in kerala can be used)
Onion/Shallots - one large sized onion or 8-10
shallots. Shallots are better sine they increase the taste of thiss  dish.
Turmeric - 1 teaspoon
Green Chillies - 2
Salt - to taste


Cut the bitter gourd vertically and remove the seeds. Chop the bitter gourd into small pieces. 
Chop the onion/shallots also into small pieces. Using Shallots would improve the taste of the dish. 

Now take a frying pan and add 2-3 tablespoons of oil. 

Talking of frying pan, the best one is the one made of clay (man-chatti). The next best is the one made of cast iron. This is the one that we use to prepare such stir fry dishes since it adds to the taste as well as nutritious value in a big way. If you dont have these, its better to buy atleast one of them if not both!! They are cheap too!! Another big advantage of these is that though they take a bit longer to get heated, once hot, they get really hot, they retain the heat for a much longer time compared to the ordinary aluminium/indalium and non-stick ones. The heat retained would be such, that you can switch off the flame even when the veggies inside are 90% cooked unlike the other ones.   

Avoid using a non-stick frying pan.  

Once oil is hot, put the chopped onions into it. Add some salt and saute in low flame for a couple of minutes. Add turmeric and mix well with the sauteed onions. 
Then add the chopped bitter gourd. Chop the green chilies vertically and add into the pan. Add salt to taste (for normal salt consumers, approx. 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of salt would be required). Mix well, sprinkle some water and close the  pan with a lid.

Since we have used a iron frying pan here, just after around 10 minutes, the bitter gourd would be almost cooked. Once the bitter gourd is almost cooked, mix well and switch off the flame. 

Pavakkya Mezhukkuparatti is ready. Serves 3-4 people.

#pavakka, #bittergourd, #mezhukkupuratti, #keralarecipes, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian, #karela

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