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Taking Charge of Your Health


Namaste. This is Sapna. Welcome to my home and welcome to my
kitchen today we will be talking about a very special vegetable this vegetable may
not be your average vegetable that you would pick in the grocery store and
bring it to your kitchen but it’s definitely a staple in my household this
vegetable is called bitter melon in India we actually call it more like
bitter gourd because it is from the gourd family or the squash family the
Hindi word for bitter melon is Karela you will always find bitter melon in any Indian
grocery stores you can also find bitter melon in Asian grocery stores but the
outer skin of the bitter melon will be much lighter and be much smoother in
India this is how bitter melon looks like so it is more rough and much more
darker In Ayurveda bitter melon is extremely
medicinal it is so healing for our bodies bitter melon actually detoxifies
and cleanses our liver my teacher Dr. Lad always says “Bitter is Better for the
Liver” and bitter melon definitely heats up that name bitter melon also has
hypoglycemic effect a lot of people in India just grind bitter melon raw and
have maybe a spoonful or so in the morning as a medicine and it creates
hypoglycemic effect and especially for type 2 diabetes but if
you’re doing bitter melon for medicinal properties or for a therapeutic dosage you
need to first talk to your doctor or an Ayurvedic Practitioner because it does
have medicinal properties. The reason I’m doing this video is to actually make you
curious about bitter melon and cook yummy bitter melon vegetable. It is definitely
bitter but you can change the bitter melon into extremely yummy, easy stir fry
recipe and that’s why we’re doing this video so let me show you what all is
needed to make this recipe. Now before I actually start slicing up
some of these bitter melon I want to take a minute and help you so that you
will be a master and in picking out the best bitter melon pieces when you’re
going grocery shopping when you’re going to go to the grocery store and find
bitter melon you want to find bitter melon that look really tender and really
slender and not with a fat belly to give you an example if you find a bitter
melon that has a fat or a plump center most likely when you slice
it open its going to have red or pinkish seeds those seeds are
kind of an indication that this bitter melon has become a
little over ripe that’s fine you can still use the bitter melon you would
just scoop out the seeds out and you can slice the bitter melon but I don’t like
to scoop out the seeds of my bitter melon, I like to use the flesh and the
seeds inside so I always spend a couple of minutes extra in the grocery store
and really dig for the best pieces of bitter melon. The first step is to wash out the bitter
melon and then slice it so let me show you how that’s done. So what I have in front of me are about
eight bitter melon and you can see the center of each of the bitter melon are slightly different some are really tender some have a
little mature brownish color seeds and some are really ripe, pinkish reddish
color seeds so the ones that are really ripe, I’m going to take a spoon and
scoop it out and throw/toss it in my garbage bowl, right here, and I’m going to use all the rest in my recipe for example in this bitter melon
the top is really tender just the bottom has really brown seeds, I’m going to
scoop some off it’s ok for some of the brown seeds to
be in the dish that’s fine. It adds actually a little crunch to it. The next step is going to be thinly
slicing these bitter melon. So you can see that I sliced the bitter
melon , the next step I’m going to do is put some salt over these bitter melon slices and toss it. After 15 minutes or so you’ll notice that there’s water getting
released from the bitter melon and that is the bitter juices from the vegetable
lot of people actually toss the water out and you can certainly do that and it
will definitely mellow down the bitterness to some degree will still be
bitter but I actually like the water and I retain that in my recipe because I
don’t want to lose any of the nutrients. I just toss it in my stir fry, the other
benefits for salting the bitter melon is it also makes it a little tender so it
speeds up the cooking of this dish so I’m going to set this bitter melon aside
for about 15 minutes or so and while that happens let me show you the other
ingredients that we would need for this recipe. For the bitter melon stir-fry, you would need
about a tablespoon of minced ginger so fresh ginger root peeled and minced you
would need about three cloves of garlic peeled and minced, you would need jaggery powder. If you don’t have jaggery powder you can substitute brown sugar. Jaggery powder is easily found in
Indian grocery stores. That adds a little sweetness to the recipe. You will need
tamarind concentrate you can use fresh tamarind puIp I just make it easy you can
get Tamarind concentrate again from an Indian grocery store. This adds sour
quality to the bitter melon stir-fry. You would need some fresh shredded
coconut, I get mine, again, from the Indian grocery
store it’s found frozen in the frozen section so about a 2 tablespoons of
fresh coconut this is just for the garnish at the end and let’s talk about the
spices and that I need & that you would use in this recipe we’re going to be using
turmeric powder, I use turmeric almost every single day and every single
dish that I’m making. I’m going to be using whole cumin seeds. I’m going to be
using roasted cumin seed powder. I’m going to be using red chili powder for
a little heat and that’s up totally up to your preference. This is dry mango part powder it also
adds a wonderful tartness to the recipe. Coriander seed powder, and the last spice in my spice box is mustard seeds and I’m going to skip the spice for the
bitter melon stir-fry You also need a pinch of asafoetida or
hing, hing is a spice that is used in Indian cooking and it helps with digestion of
food by reducing the gas in our gut but please remember all you need is a pinch. Let’s get started! To start off I’m going to put about a
tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan and allow the plan to get nice and warm
because when you add spices and hot oil that’s one of the critical things to
remember because hot oil releases all the volatile compounds of the spices. Once
the oil is nice and hot I always start by putting just a pinch of asafoetida and you cansee the sizzling sound so always perfectly warm i’m going to add whole
cumin seeds about a 1/4 teaspoon. I’m gonna then toss my minced garlic and
ginger. That was ginger, This is garlic. Oh I wish you could be in my kitchen and smell this. The next step is to add the bitter melon that was salted and you can see that it’s already been releasing a lot
of water and it’s nice and wet after about five minutes the next step
is to take your tamarind concentrate and I’m just going to eyeball it and I’m
going to put about half a teaspoon or so off the tamarind concentrate I’m going
to add one tablespoon of jaggery powder and I’m going to add the other dry
spices to this dish. I’m going to add a fourth of a teaspoon of turmeric powder, fourth of a teaspoon of red chili powder, and about half a teaspoon of roasted cumin, half a teaspoon or a little bit more of dry mango powder. You can see
I kind of eyeball my spices and I encourage you to do the same and then
about half a teaspoon or so of coriander seed powder. Cooking is an art and it should come with love so just go with your heart and use your spices. When in
doubt always use less than more. So if you go less you can always add more. And I’m just going to take maybe a
tablespoon or so of water maybe two tablespoons of water give this mixture, this stir fry, again a good toss. Ok let’s check on our bitter melon, I
let it steam for another five minutes or so and looks like our bitter millon is
nice and tender and it’s beautiful crispy on the bottom the way to finish
it off is by just adding some fresh desiccated coconut giving it a quick
start and our little melon stir fry is ready to be served. Let me show you a fun way to enjoy
bitter melon stir fry. Bitter melon stir-fry is all ready to be
enjoyed! Traditionally in India bitter melon is enjoyed as a side dish and it served with rotis or poppies those are Indian flat tortillas, here in America I
serve this as a side dish and I’ve actually used the stir-fry as a topping over warm
salad but today I want to show you a fun way as to how we enjoy this bitter melon stir fry and my kids love it too, so let me show you how. We enjoy bitter melon stir fry & we make
bitter melon stir-fry tacos and I can “sell” tacos to my kids and they love it. So all
I have for my tacos is, these store-bought corn tortillas, bitter melon
stir-fry and I just make a fun little salsa. This is mango salsa, it has fresh mangoes, some red onions, cilantro, roasted cumin seed powder and lime juice
you can very easily get a store box salsa or any other topping
that you want to mellow down the bitterness of the stir-fry. So I turn
my cook top on and I just place my corn tortilla on it and kind of dry
roast it and pop it up a little bit it just takes a couple of seconds, maybe about 10 seconds or so, I love using corn tortillas for these tacos the corn and bitter melon
goes very well together I have a feeling that the corn actually makes the
bitter melon also taste less bitter so I roasted, dry-roasted this on open
flame my corn tortillas I have my homemade ghee, we all of our ghee, and I
just do a little smear on the tortillas so that it takes away the excess dryness
from the tortillas just a little smear of ghee. I’m going to place a spoonful of my stir
fry in the middle and then I have this wonderful, juicy, fruity, sweet and a little
pungent salsa and my tacos are ready to be enjoyed. My kids love it, my husband loves it, this is such a crowd pleaser. I have made these tacos and have not
told people that it is bitter melon stir-dry and let them just enjoy what
these are and there are no complaints about bitter melon in my house I hope
you enjoyed this recipe, I hope this made you curious enough to go to find some
bitter melon and go make an easy bitter melon stir fry. If you try this recipe
definitely share with me how you enjoyed it leave me your comments and feedback
and check out my other videos and definitely stay connected with me and I
will see you soon. Namaste.

26 thoughts on “How to Cook Bitter Melon | Karela | Ayurvedic Recipe

  1. At first it I thought it's a bit long for a video on how to cook Karela. Very informative and beautifully made video. Will be trying your recipe very soon. Thanks.

  2. Thank you so much, I make a juice with it. Can you please give us some indian recipe for fertility, please, something to increase ovulation thank you so much.

  3. Hello Sapna – Thaat's an amazing video.. Is this recipe good for Diabetics too? I saw jaggery powder so just wanted to ask you.. otherwise this looks delicious minus the bitter part 😀

  4. Thank you for this recipe, I am cooking it tonight. I have whole coriander seed, do you dry roast them like the cumin before grinding into a powder? I grew my own bitter melon this year, what a fun vegetable to grow!

  5. I bought some bitter melon on a whim today, and now I'm really excited to try this recipe! Thanks for all the info!

  6. Some bittermelon is not really bitter. When I was young, my mom will rubbed with salt, squeezed and rinsed it in water. Then, she will saute it in onions, garlic, tomatoes and some meat or shrimps , salt/ pepper , then will add the bittermelon, sautéed for few minutes until little tender then followed with eggs (1 or 2), mix and done. Best served with white rice. Now a days, I don't wash with salt, cooked the same way.

  7. Sapna………….our family does the same preparation w/cucumbers……………choose the long skinny ones, and soak in salt water, so I will definately do the same w/bittermelon. I know how medicinal they are and the taco idea (i have made the mango salsa before) is an EXCELLENT suggestion. I LOVE how you combine ancient ayurveda recipes to our lifestyle and grocery stores here. THANK you for all you do!

  8. beSPICED – I luv your presentation & instructions, but please "don't" allow that kind of music to accompany your videos in the future.  Very annoying & distracting.  It doesn't complement the topic at all.  It belongs in a dance video "not" a cooking show! PLUS it overrides your voice. At times I can barely make out what you are saying. This is not very professional at all.

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