Bitter melon, onions, eggs and peanuts, stir-fried with panch phoran

March 24, 2007 at 11:47 PM (Bengali, bitter melon/gourd, dishes by cuisine, dishes by main ingredient, fusion, India, vegetables/ fruits)

    Because of a nagging concience, or perhaps from the suggestion of concerned friends, I decided to move on to a fairly healthy dish for this post. Let me tell you quite bluntly though: I do not need to be persuaded in the least to cook a dish using bitter melon(bitter gourd, karela, karathe, mara, etc). This is one of my most favorite of vegetables, and my cravings for it are quite intense when I have gone without it for a while. So intense, that I find great difficulty in thinking of other foods until this craving is met.

    Last year, I tried growing my own so that I would have a steady supply. I wasn’t quite sure how this plant would fare in the temperate zone that I live in. Added to this doubt was the fact that I started the seeds 2 weeks after the usual planting time, so I told myself that at the least I would have some pretty vines to look at, and this was all I allowed myself to look forward to.

    The seeds sprouted within a few days. I set to work constructing trellises of split cedar to serve as a vertical home for these little darlings as they grew. They soon developed into 5-inch plants and developed tendrils that daily I had to untangle from each other and coax onto the supports of the trellises. Another two weeks, and they were slowly winding their way upward…..and then, some inner clock mechanism seemed to strike noon: they franticly began scrambling their way all over everything possible: the trellises, the wall, each other, my tomatoes….(I was a little concerned about losing my cats) I measured a foot a day during this mad clamour! Then, little yellow flowers bloomed, and I began a search daily for female blossoms and was thrilled to find three! And these three I kept a very close eye on and watched them swell and mature. At that time, I was thankful that the One Who Creates had blessed me with enough for one dish. And this was at the height of summer… then, I noticed that hidden in green sanctums from the ground to the very peak of the garage that the trellies leaned upon, were more, many many more, tiny green fruits that became pluckable at the rate of about two or three a day….and the flowers kept blooming…..and I couldn’t keep up with them! I gave away what I could. I started storing some in the refrigerator, until the drawer was brimming with them, and they were nestled in baskets on the counter-top.

    Thinking back now, I should have thought of freezing or drying them(thanks AMTP!), but I didn’t….and I needed a way of preserving these fast and now! I decided on kerela ka achaar. This is a favorite Indian preserve of this vegetable that, though I dearly love, I had never made myself. After a scurried internet research session, I found the basics for achaar-making. I chose to preserve most by the oil-cured method, as it lasts indefinitely at room temperature, and some found their way into a delicious fresh-eaten pickle recipe that I found on the website, Aayi’s Recipes(and thus began a food-blogging adventure). As much as I love to eat these pickles, several years will pass before I am able to consume what I have stored in my pantry. So, be prepared if you decide to grow these!

    There are actually 45 different known species within the genus of Momordica, and the bitter melon/gourd, momordica charantia is but one of them. There are many medicinal applications of this vegetable from both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, and much research has delved into these properties, as well as into new ones that have been discovered or are involved in research at this time. (You may read more here if you wish, or search the internet for more information)

     At one time, the Indian and Chinese varieties were thought to be separate species, but it appears, from my more recent readings, that they have been re-classified as phenotypes of the same species. They may be used interchangeably, and indeed, in my garden both varieties crossed freely producing fruits with characteristics of both. Many unusual cultivars are available as well, some of which are white in colour instead of green, some that are miniature-sized that can be used whole and stuffed for a unique presentation! The fruits are generally picked when young and firm, before the seeds mature and develop a bright red casing, eventually bursting forth from the pod at full maturity.

    Science and achaar-making marathons aside, this dish is based almost solely on a Bengali recipe which I found in Madhur Jaffrey’s fine tome, World-of-the-east Vegetarian Cookbook. It makes use of the Bengali spice mixture, panch phoran, which lends a unique flavour to this dish. Over the course of perhaps 15 years of preparing this dish often in my kichen, I did a little tinkering with the original recipe and produced my own version which I present to you. I was influenced both by a Phillipino recipe for bitter melon paired with eggs, and my love of Thai cuisine with its affinity for roasted peanuts. In this dish, the soft eggs contrast with the crispness of the bitter melon and onions, and the crunch of fresh-roasted peanuts. I developed a pleasing colour combination that ought to include fresh red chiles(or red bell peppers/capsicum if you prefer it mild), but as I am currently not able to locate fresh red chiles right now, I have substituted 2 t of red chile-garlic paste, omitting the clove of garlic in lieu of this. I have used the Chinese type of bitter melon in this rendition of the recipe, but you may use either kind.

     If your bitter melons have a white or pale green interior when cut open, do use the whole vegetable for this dish as the seeds are quite delicious. If they have turned red, then scrape out the seed cavity before proceeding; fish the seeds from their red jackets and add to the dish during cooking, if you are inclined. 

 bitter-melon-panch-phoran-before.GIF

 4 t oil

a handful of raw peanuts/groundnuts, skins removed

4 eggs

salt

a pinch of hing(optional)

1 1/2 t panch phoran(Bengali 5-spice mixture)

2 fresh red chiles(or to taste), sliced thinly

1 clove/flake of garlic, sliced thinly 

3 medium-size onions, in 1/3″ slices

1/2 to 3/4 lb. of bitter melon(s)(1 large or two small chinese type, or 3-4 Indian type)

1)Rinse the bitter melon(s) well under running water, scrape any discoloured areas away with a knife if necessary. Trim off the stem end, and cut in half lengthwise. If you see any red, scrape out the seed cavity with a spoon, otherwise, slice into 1/3″ half-rings.

2)Put the sliced bitter melon into a bowl and cover with cold water. Sprinkle 2-3 t of salt over them and swish them around with your hand to dissolve the salt. Set aside for 2 hours. Drain through a colander and then pour them back into the bowl, cover with cold water, swish around, and then drain through the colander once again. Shake it a bit to remove the excess water and set aside. (see note at bottom of page)

3)Over a medium flame in a wok or kerai, heat 1 t of oil, add the peanuts and fry, stirring continuously until well-roasted and fragrant. Remove and set aside.

4)Take the eggs and beat lightly in a small bowl, add 1 T of water and a pinch of salt and blend. In the wok or kerai, heat 1 t oil over medium flame and add the beaten eggs, stirring once every 10 seconds until the eggs are set and scrambled. Remove to the bowl with the peanuts.

5)Heat the remaining 2 t of oil in the pan and add the panch phoran and hing(if using). Stir gently until the mustard seeds pop and then add the chiles and garlic, fry for a few seconds, and then add the sliced onions. Fry these, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes.

6)Add the drained bitter melon slices and continue frying for 4 minutes, add salt to taste(1/2 t) and mix well, frying for 1 minute more.

7)Add the reserved peanuts and eggs and fry, stirring, for 1 more minute. Check for done-ness: the onions and bitter melon should be thoroughly hot and still crispy. Turn off heat and keep stirring for 1 more minute. Check for salt.

bitter-melon-panch-phoran-after.GIF

 

Note—–>There are two methods of removing some of the bitterness. Both involve the use of salt. While one method is used above, the other is to simply salt the bitter melon pieces, let it stand in a bowl for 30 minutes to an hour, and squeeze out the bitter juices by using a cheesecloth or bare hands. While this method works excellently as well, and is best for pickle-making and achieving a chewy texture required in many recipes, as well as  greater ease in frying brown and crispy, it is not the method of choice for this dish, where it is preferrable to somewhat retain the natural crispness and shape inherent in the fresh vegetable.

    Some people prefer, because of taste preference, or because they feel that some of the vital nutrients may be lost, that the natural bitterness of this vegetable be left intact; if this is your wish, then this salting and rinsing step may be omitted entirely.

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39 Comments

  1. Manisha said,

    I can so relate to your cravings! I am sure you will enjoy this. It satisfies my cravings till I get the actual thing!

    I have stopped soaking the vegetable in salt water or rubbing it with salt. The bitter taste is something we really like.

    Your recipe is so different from anything I have come across before. I have never had karela and eggs in the same dish. But then I have never had Phillipino food either!

    What a beautiful photo Manisha! I tried picking up a piece from the screen! 🙂 I have a couple of other little glories to post with this vegetable that I’ll spread out a bit over time….one from Andhra, one from Thailand- you’ll probably like ’em both…also, I was nibbling on the young leaves last year- they are sooooooooo bitter. But I have a recipe for moong with tomatoes, onions, garlic and bitter melon leaves that hopefully in summer…. it would have been nice to have a camera handy last year…. not only is it a pretty plant, but I grew a few of the white ones, and they are breath-taking! And I had a few of the tiny baby ones too…. seeds available here for lots of varieties if you are interested.
    Oh….try it…I can’t stop eating it! It’s so crunchy and tasty…..[crunch crunch]…….I like a few raw pieces while I’m hacking them up-[crunch] I’ll resist soaking them next time [swallows]and let you know if I die or not. I gotta go…my mouth is full and I can’t talk anymo

  2. Anita said,

    Not everyone likes karela in my family 😦 But I make it about once a week, and summer is round the corner and karela is already here! This is a very interesting way to prepare this. Now I’ll have a problem – FIL doesn’t eat eggs (unless it is cakes or cookies 🙂 ) – he’s the only one who’ll eat these with me!

    Like Manisha, I too do not salt my karela to remove bitterness. It must remove other nutrients as well. Raw karela? No, thanks.

    Perhaps you could use tofu/doufu in its place? this would give the dish the same final texture…or perhaps those steamed/boiled besan “dumplings”…I can’t think what they’re called now….

    Yeah…raw karela is delicious. It is sometimes included as part of the raw vegetable accompaniments of the Thai dish Nam Prik so I’m really not “out of my gourd”…. 🙂

    Every written recipe I’ve ever seen for karela involves a bitterness-removing procedure. I suppose it very well may remove some of the nutrients. I’ve added this tip to the footnote. Thanks, that never occurred to me!

  3. bee said,

    karela and eggs? that’s very unique. i love that veggie too. manisha, that’s a fabulous shot. i’ve never soaked them to remove the bitterness. i love it really bitter.

    It’s delicious if you like eggs. I’m not a big egg fan, but they’re very good in this dish…. perhaps because they aren’t the dominant flavour. You’re the third non-soaker! I added to the foot-note- thanks for the vote! 😉

  4. Manisha said,

    Glad you guys liked the pic! 😀

    I first had raw karela at Charlie Trotter’s. It was sliced thinner than in my pic, soaked in salt water, de-seeded and it was thin and crisp. So perhaps technically it was not ‘raw’. Two slices were used as a garnish for one of the innumerable courses – halibut, I think it was. Not only did it look pretty, it added so much oomph to the fish! We got a tour of their kitchen thereafter and he has one large kitchen that is used for TV shows and sure enough, there was this humongous pot with bitter melons waiting to be sliced and salted. I had no clue then that the Chinese also ate a lot of bitter melon. Charlie’s were the Indian kind, though.

    Oh, the Indian kind are spectacular when sliced aren’t they? Especially at extreme diagonals.
    Wow! That’s one of the world’s best restaurants; I’ve never eaten there….I’m afraid it would have to be a very special occasion for me to do so, but I can dream can’t I? And certainly grill you for more details! 🙂
    I compare my shoveling in of thick, robust slices to the delicate, restrained use as a garnish for halibut…..i wonder if I could candy a few of them…. 🙂

  5. Manisha said,

    It was a very special occasion. We were a group of people at a very important milestone that affected all our lives, in different ways. So it wasn’t a romantic dinner but a special evening nevertheless. Till I was told where we were going, I had no clue who Charlie Trotter was. And then the foie gras war broke out so I found out more and more. Apparently he was set to start a similar restaurant in NYC.

    We got a tour of the famed wine cellar, too! It was a very entertaining evening. They call it a ‘dining experience.’ I’d say do it at least once. Of course I didn’t know which fork or knife to use – there were like four or five of each – an luckily I didn’t spill any wine on the table or on anyone else! The only course I didn’t really care for was the veal – it was rare and I guess I should have specified that when they asked about preferences at the beginning of the meal.

    It sounds like a very memorable night! I remember all of the controversy that was brought to light in the media about foie gras. I understand that there is a long French-inspired tradition of consuming it, yet I don’t think that other living things (geese) should have to suffer for a gastronomic whim. I have never tasted it, so therefore I imagine I have a bias which leans toward the side of the animal rights activists.

    I’d be a total vegetarian (eggs and milk excluded) if I had to slaughter my own food. As it is, I’m a rare consumer of animal flesh; I don’t think it’s good for our bodies, and I find that my mind is at far greater ease when I attain my protein from vegetable sources, therefore I keep its consumption to a minimum. Gosh, I’m really throwing my opinions out here! I can feel readers closing out the screens left and right as we speak!

    Did you keep any souvenirs from the evening? I’d really like to ask what the occasion was, but I don’t want to seem nosy….I’ll leave it up to you!

    I’ve eaten at only two top(dress code enforced) restaurants in my life. One was a vegetarian restaurant outside of Madison- the food was excellent, and the waitress we had(amongst other servers) was very calm, warm, and at the same time dignified. It was a memorable meal. The other was at a Persian restaurant in San Diego. The food was breath-takingly delicious, but the waiter we had could sense that my guest and I were a bit “out of place” in the surroundings and was remarkably snooty and enjoyed taunting us in very subtle ways. I actually left him a good tip just to spite him and let him know silently that I wasn’t going to react or endorse his behavior. Perhaps he thought about his actions afterward and had a turn-around, most likely not… 😀 Nowadays, I think the best answer to this situation is to stick one’s nose high in the air, gaze disdainfully down the bridge of one’s nose at the offender as if they were something that you’d rather not step into on the sidewalk, and say, “You’re only a waiter, so you can drop the attitude…”. Then immediately turn and walk confidently away…(this tip courtesy of Absolutely Fabulous) 😀

  6. Anita said,

    Therefore, tofu mutsch! If I had to kill for my meat, I too might turn vegetarian. But I do know where meat comes from.

    I’ve never eaten at a fancy restaurant 😦 so have nothing to share on this thread. TH’s excuse being that nothing can beat my cooking.. 🙂 But even then…

    Though, Domo is counted as one of the best Japanese food restaurants…and I really liked the food there…and went more than a couple of times! And the fantastic burger I had…at the end of a very interesting hiking-mountain-biking trip… 😀 Those should count…And that French restaurant in downtown Denver…

    In India, the fancy restaurants are totally out of my league…but I would like to go to Diva.

    I like that tip. I did walk out from a restaurant serving Gujju thalis once. The thali was pricey (silver thalis and katories) since I was looking for a quick lunch. The waiter had the audacity to ask me how much I had expected it to be! I was just back from the US with my new confident attitude and no one was going to embarrass me – least of all the waiter – into eating if I had decided I didn’t want to spend that amount (however small or big it may have been) at that point of time! It’s a free country, you idiot. And I am free to walk out if I want to!

    You go girl! Yay Anita! [claps] So then, you didn’t order… just looked at the menu? No bigggie…you can always say you think you left something on the stove 🙂 and that you’ll return later, and then not…

    It’s funny; here in Umreeka is a slew of restaurants catering to the pretention-prone middle class. Some of them are franchises, and then there are a minority-few that are owned and operated on premises. Many of these restaurants have very so-so food. I’m a horrible critic, which is odd because my haute cuisine dining experience is a bit limited 🙂 Yet, I knows good food when I sees it! I tend to look at three main areas when judging an entree: 1)presentation, colour scheme and aroma-is it sniff and photo worthy? 2)texture contrast within the main course and its sides- are there redundancies boring my mouth? 3)flavour contrasts and overall balance in flavour- too salty, too rich, too sweet, too sour?(Sadly, I have yet to find too spicy or too bitter at an Umreekan establishment) etc. is there a subtle theme going on, such as reversed balance proportion(sweet-sour leaning toward sweet, paired with sweet-sour leaning toward sour) or subtle play with main and auxiliary ingredients used throughout a meal? Are there elusive subtleties that intrigue me beyond the last bite?

    Ever since your comment about how you were suprised at the amount of food wasted in the states, I have been thinking, and collecting amunition. To agree with you whole-heartedly! And….. I can even tie it in to this discussion!:-) I have observed that there seems to be a certain pleasure from, and social stigma attached to, wasting things….(and I’m also not convinced that this trait is isolated to Umreeka)be it food, personal property or even money. Somehow, the general American convinces him/herself that they are “doing well” if they make a show of wasting something… Examples: reluctance to take home what is not eaten while dining out and reluctance to eat leftover food at home…. tendency to discard a broken or malfunctioning object that can definitely be mended and still serve its purpose…. and(!!!) a tendency to purchase things beyond one’s actual means, willingly going into debt for the sole purpose of “putting on a show”, as well as satisfaction in paying a large amount of money for a so-so meal because, hey, if it costs a lot, it must be good!

    Quite honestly, some of the best food I’ve ever eaten while dining out has been at small but clean, family-operated establishments such as those found within or on the outskirts of small towns, small “ethnic” restaurants- often no more than a counter to order from and a couple of tables, and tiny, specialized grocers which often sell freshly-made-by-them or locally-made food. The atmosphere in all of these places leaves something to be desired, but the food is often exquisite, assembled by masters in good taste, which more than makes up for the inattention to environment aesthetic! In the rare circumstance of combination in exceptional food paired with a transporting atmosphere and excellent service, this more often than not draws the attention of the culturally elite and the price demanded for such a meal reflects this. Most often, way out of my league…..so I stick to my own kitchen and those ugly restaurants and call it good.

  7. Trupti said,

    Karela and Eggs. Now I’ve seen everything. 😉

    Everything? wait til you see the dishes to follow! 🙂

  8. Manisha said,

    Oh! I have so much to say…but am tied to the grindstone.

    Please do so when you get the chance, there are no space restrictions here! 😀

  9. shilpa/aayi's recipes said,

    Wow….thats a very good experience Pelicano. I just wanted to tell you one more way of storing them which is very famous. We add salt to the pieces (and soemthing else, donno exactly, will ask Aayi and get back) and sundry them. While using, just deep fry the pieces. They taste great with curd rice. Its a must in many Konkani households. I think you know about it already, but I felt like mentioning anyway.

    Karela, peanuts and eggs is an unusual combo. I am going to try this soon. Thanks

    Shilpa, your curd rice is awesome with karela! I finished off a whole batch of your karathe nonche with your curd rice. I will have to try this drying process. Could this second substance be citric acid/sour salt? Let me know when you find out, and I hope you enjoy this recipe. 🙂

  10. shilpa said,

    I asked mom..this is how it is made…
    cut the bitter gourd into thin rounds. Apply salt(do not add too much salt because these pieces absorb a lot of salt) and sun dry it for 2-3 days. Then apply red chili powder and asafoetida to it and sun dry again for 1-2 days. Store in air tight container. As I said above, while using, deep fry them. They are served just like papad (papadam). They can also be used to make a gravy called karathe sasam

    I’ll be sure to try this drying/seasoning method! Thanks Shilpa, and thanks to your mother as well…
    I have the recipe for karathe sasam clipped and waiting for a trial…….the fried chips would be a good healthy alternative to potato chips for snacking! Are you planning to grow a few things in your bright, sunny new apartment this year? Even though I am staying at a house right now, I still use pots for many things as they can be moved around to change arrangements when some plants aren’t looking their best 😉

  11. shilpa said,

    btw..forgot to mention..I tried your dish today. It came out very well. I fried the karela pieces in oil before adding to this dish to remove some of the bitterness. Its indeed an unusual recipe. Thanks.

    Glad you liked it! I can’t believe(I am surprised) that you are eating and preparing bitter melon dishes so often these days- I recall when you did not care for the vegetable too much…..kind of “grows on you” doesn’t it? 🙂

  12. Manisha said,

    A couple of quick links that might interest you:
    Waiter Rant – he’s got a 50 signs thing going currently
    The Food Whore – she is simply hilarious.

    Thanks…I’ll check ’em out. “food whore”? gosh, that could be yours truly…

  13. Manisha said,

    Forgot to mention: both links above are rated PG-13/R for language so you stand forewarned.

    Oh dear…. are you trying to corrupt my innocent little sheltered mind Manisha? 😀

  14. Manisha said,

    ha! ha! I know where your mind is, Pel 😀

    But I added that for anyone else who reads your blog and might be horrified by some of the terms of endearment that are used on those sites.

    Ah! yes…..I forgot about them…..I’m glad at least you’re considerate. Geeee, I just spilled coffee all over my arm[geeee being the g-rated version of what I really said] Are there any restrictions as to language usage on these blogging sites?

  15. Manisha said,

    My eyes glazeth over….but this is what you agreed to when you created this blog.

    That really isn’t very clear about language….just not to attack someone personally, or use hate-motivated speech. “obscene” is rather subjective though….but, as this is a food blog, we’ll keep the whipped cream references g-rated! 🙂

  16. Richa said,

    karela with eggs & peanuts?? first time to come across such a combo.
    also i’ve never tried chinese karela, after reading your post maybe i’ll try it sometime.
    yes i too am one of these few who like karela.
    thanks

    Richa- thank you for stopping by! The Chinese karela is a bit juicier and crisper than the Indian, I also think it’s a little bit less bitter….I like both varieties, and had several “muts” in my garden last year that would evade classification… 🙂 This recipe is fine with either type….

  17. Vee said,

    >The word achaar means undying, immortal, everlasting..

    I did not know that. Well, you learn something new everyday. 🙂

    and yes g-rated, pel definitely g-rated. But food pictures can go the (food) porn way :))

    yes, there are things to be learned every day…..see comment below 🙂
    Hmm! I’m going to have to review all of the photos on your blog very carefully…..

  18. Anita said,

    It’s that East-West and the twain never meeting…! Pel: indeed!

    Now, I can see where you got that ‘achar’ means ‘undying, immortal….”etc. LOL! pel: one click and you’re in the spam pile….

    Actually, TH pointed it out (yeah, he reads comments to mine, yours, and Manisha’s 🙂 ) . pel: oh? you had help then… 🙂

    In English, as far as I know, no word is spelled with a double-a; the short ‘a’ sound and the long ‘a’ sound are both represented by the letter ‘a’. In Hindi, the two sounds are represented by their own separate vowel letters. While ‘achaar’ means pickle, ‘achar’ (with the short ‘a’ sound) has the other meaning: undying, immortal…!
    pel: Aardvark!!!!!! ha! [with a look of supreme satisfaction] Well, you must admit the two words are similar…and the definitions aren’t totally incongruous…

    That is the bane of Hindi and Sanskrit when written in the English alphabet! So, poor Raa-ma ends up as Raa-maa! And Hi-maa-laya as Hima-la-yaas, Mahaa-bhaarata as Mahaabhaarataa, Raamaayana (yes, here the second ‘a’ sound is elongated, I don’t think we need a lesson in ‘sandhi’ here!) as Raamaayanaa!! And poor Dravid (the cricketer) has become Draavid. Making a short story, much longer! 🙂 Quite a pickle, actually!
    pel:….yeah?… well our “ABC song” can be sung in one day…..! 🙂
    So…..it’s not “hare Rah-mah”, it’s hare Rei-mah? (“long a” is a dipthong, so I’m going to represent it here with [ei]…..)……and Hi-mah-lei-ah…should be “hee-mei-lah-yah”? “mah-hei-beir-rah-tah”…… “rei-mei-yah-nah”………”drah-veed” I got…..I wouldn’t think of pronouncing it like the anglicized hebrew name “david”… I get one point then! And now, I’m going to go through the Thanksgiving podcast with a fine-toothed comb and send you a DETAILED report! 🙂 Just kidding….you speak English better than most people I know….oh it needs a little tweak here and there, but the slight accent is so cute… 😀

    P.S. I edited the post…… so, it’s pronounced like “a chair” then?

  19. Anita said,

    🙂 It’s cute when you say it. Not when we Indians ourselves mispronounce our own names as if we were British!!

    Achaar- the pickle – 🙂 will be A- (as in ‘a chair’, ‘a table’), and ‘char’ as in ‘charcoal’ (thanks Vijay) Himalaya should be Hi-mah-lei-ah, yes! You do this phonetic kind of writing better than I!

    I didn’t mean to correct your pronunciation, just that here it changed the meaning. And before long, some of us (Indians) would have started naming our children Achaar because one Umreeki guy said it meant ‘Immortal…”, and you do know about our Western fixation don’t you?! 🙂

    And, don’t forget, I don’t get the American enunciation because I am propah British! 🙂

    pr-eh-oh-oo-pehr….prah-poer….tohmeito/tohmahtoh…. 🙂

    oh….I get it now….ok, the first “a” we would call a “short u” sound…..pronounced like “uh” as in “until”……the second “aa” is a pure “ah” sound like the final “a” in “maria”….then, I’ll have you know that, if this is agreeable to you, although I had the two words, achar and achaar, mixed up, I was pronouncing it correctly…..I think…..which syllable gets the greater stress…first or second?

  20. Vee said,

    I think I have forgotten how to pronounce Achaar and Aachaar after that. Quite a Atyachaar it is 😉

  21. Manisha said,

    I don’t know why but I am holding my knuckles out even though I did nothing wrong… you can tell she’s a teacher can’t you!

    When I told D how Anita’s Husband reads her blog, he did his deaf-act and disappeared quickly into his office.

    Vee, there’s a reason why I call it lonche!

  22. Vee said,

    Karela Lonche, it is.

    You are lucky, Manisha. My husband pulled out a Indian Cricket Blog and asked me to go through it. Tactical Retreat and sharpening claws for the net round

    and with that, we have officially hijacked Pel’s comment section 🙂

    Silent film classics at their best…

  23. Manisha said,

    Isn’t that why he started this blog? :p You think we should move back to Anita’s? Coming, Pel? 😉

    Cricket? Where grown men run after a small ball that another grown man hit with a piece of wood. Spare me. But that Dravid is a hunk, I must say. It’s good thing my husband doesn’t read my blog. He doesn’t know about the bhendi post! At least not yet.

    Good Mom? Heck no! We didn’t go to MAM for her. It was for me, me and only me. It was my birthday gift 2 years ago. She enjoyed herself though!

    I checked Dravid out…kindy wispy for my taste, but at least you’re getting something out of watching the games…
    Nice birthday gift!

  24. Anita said,

    Lonche…Pray please elaborate on how that ‘n’ is pronounced in that word and I’ll drop ‘achar’! Pel, much simpler to call it achar since you already know how to say that and what it means! (Second syllable stressed more)

    Turns out, I wasn’t a very good teacher…Pel had to figure it all out on his own! 🙂 I’m better at one-to-one teaching – much less painful (for everyone!).

    Vee, he can’t complain about comment hijack. He knows how that works. Besides, we are still talking about his achar, aren’t we?! 😉

    And, amazingly…the recipe wasn’t even anything to do with achaar! I made masala mushrooms(hindi for mushrooms?..) achaar the other day, after reading the ingredients on a Kochinoor package…
    Comment hijacking? You talk about it like it’s a bad thing….

  25. Anita said,

    Vee has brought in another word to the table: aachaar (both place long ‘u’ sounds 🙂 ), which has an entirely different meaning – this means ‘conduct’, as in ‘behaviour’. Do we have everybody confused now? In which case, let me add, these are all words from the Hindi language. Whenever Indians spell a word with ‘aa’ we mean, ‘a with the bar on top’. Ahh! 😉

    Pel [raises his hand….and then bangs his head on the desk] ….immortal MIS-behaving pickles…

  26. Manisha said,

    I thought about capitalizing the N in lonche but then I am so bad at Devnagri, I didn’t think I could get away with loNche. 😀 The N sound is not half as bad as the L sound.

    Marathi for lunch? 😉

  27. Vee said,

    Ah, but the beauty of ‘LoNche’ is that mispronouniciation does not lead to a different meaning.
    Devanagri and its equivalent english alphabets here. That would make the l and the n with a dot on the bottom.

    Pel, Mushrooms in Hindi is Dhingri . { sitting with my good ‘aachaar’ face, licking a bowl of ‘achaar’ , admiring my ‘achar’ looks in the mirror while I wait for Anita to explain how that is pronounced} 🙂

    ooooooooo…good one! and thanks for the link, I’ll check it out…though I did some reading in Wiki last night…what Anita calls a “long a”, I would call an “open a” as in father, or the “a” in romantic languages…which I’m good at. Enough to get a date at least…. 🙂

  28. Anita said,

    What’s in a name…? 🙂

    Mushrooms are also called ‘Khumb’ in Hindi. But, I think it is time for me to shut up with the Hindi lessons (for now), but Vee, that link is awesome! Let’s move on to the next topic…

    Yes…let’s…. and I do thank you Anita. I’ll be emailing you constantly now for silent Hindi lessons… 🙂

  29. Manisha said,

  30. Manisha said,

    Arrrgh! Used for transliterating Sanskrit and other languages that use Devanagri into English.

  31. Anita said,

    Just wanted to let you know I made this last week and it was great. The eggs are great withthe bitter melons and somehow reduced the bitterness…

    Wasn’t sure if I hadn’t already said so – so went over all the comments again – did we have a lot of fun here or what! 😆

  32. pelicano said,

    Gosh, to come here is like walking onto an empty stage after a show….
    a great show!
    But come….
    memory is an illusion;
    the petals that have fallen are not the flower that blooms.
    They return to the soil and become nourishment,
    existing now in ether.

  33. shilpa/eon said,

    Hi Pel, I was intrigued by this recipe and had bookmarked it. I made this today and enjoyed it a lot. I used more eggs and less karela (at least I’m eating it! )
    This will be my new way of eating this vegetable.
    Thanks!

    I’m glad you like it! The basic recipe for this- just onions and karela in panch phoran- was my first taste of this vegetable many years ago… and now I grow them every year- go figure…

  34. swethaskitchen.com said,

    hi
    i recently came accross your blog and like your blog. i have also started a foodblog recently.keep up your good work and i wish u a very success.

    cheers
    swetha

    Reply

    • elaichietcetera said,

      And I wish you the greatest success with your new blog! Happy cooking…

  35. Anjali said,

    OMG! Loved the recipe and post and what can I say about the comments! Don’t know how I had missed this post that long time ago. I will try this recipe for sure and may be use crumbled paneer. Just that I will roast my Karela more. Your looks really crisp and I will not be able to swallow lightly cooked Karela.

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      Crumbled paneer is a great idea- I think that would be delicious, as well as negating some of the chilli-heat!

      These days, I’ve totally done away with any soaking of the vegetable whatsoever, following Manisha’s cue to use the pieces “as is”- and I’ve even been known to nibble them raw. But karela is such an acquired taste… so, I say: soak to remove (some) bitterness if you like, and certainly cook them longer if you prefer it softer- it’s all good, and always a healthy choice for the table.

      Thank you so much for visiting!

  36. Anjali said,

    I never soak my veggies not even Karela tho it is bitter. That way I am a good girl! haha. Thank you for the recipe, its such a different combo with eggs or paneer in my case sure the delight the family.

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      Enjoy- and do your best to behave. 😉

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