Bitter Gourd Raita (Yoghurt)
Bitter Gourd or Carilla fruit is a tropical vegetable, botanical name Momordica charantia Linn Other names in India alone are; Karela, Kareli, Karala, Kerula, Uchchh, Kakara, Kaaya, Kura, Kurela-jangro, Karle, Pakal, Pavakkachedi, Pavakkayi, Hagala kayi, Karathay, Kaippa, Kaippavalli, Paval, Karavella, Sushavi. It is a very popular vegetable in India and China. It is an acquired taste, like chillies, and you either love or hate it. Chinese Karela looks less spiky than the Indian one and is perhaps a little less bitter. It has been used in Ayurvediac medicine for centuries, it contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, B1 and B2 and vitamin C. Its juice is an excellent skin tonic and its good for itching, rash, acne, boils, scabies, ringworm and psoriasis. Eaten as a vegetable or its juice taken as a drink, it helps to lower blood sugar in diabetics, because it contains high doses of "plant insulin". It is anti-pyretic (reduces fever). For medicinal purpose, it is best to have juice of raw karela, which is extremely bitter.
1 bitter gourd
1/2 tsp. salt
Oil for deep frying
4 tbsp. grated fresh coconut (if using desiccated coconut, soak in a little warm milk for 30 minutes)
1 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1 green chilli-sliced thinly
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. black gram or urad/urd/urid dal
5-6 curry leaves (meetha neem)
1 dry red chilli-broken up.
Thinly slice or chop bitter gourd. Sprinkle with salt and keep aside for 30 minutes. Now wash it under cold water and squeeze liquid out. This reduces bitterness.
Heat oil and fry slices, until browned and a little crisp. Allow to cool completely.
Grind coconut to a paste with a little milk.
Mix yoghurt, bitter gourd, coconut, salt, green chillies.
Place in a serving bowl.
Heat oil in a tarka ladle or small pan and add mustard seeds, curry leaves and gram dal.
When seeds splutter, add red chillies. Stir for 5 seconds. Pour over the raita.
Serve with dal and Boiled Rice
Also see Raita Selection.