Pavakkai also known as Karela in Hindi and kakarakaya in Telugu is a less preferred vegetable in most households but it is a favorite of my husband and daughter.
Bitter gourds are very low in calories but dense with precious nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3, C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and has high dietary fiber. It is rich in iron, contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana.
Bitter melon contains a unique phyto-constituent that has been confirmed to have a hypoglycemic effect called charantin. There is also another insulin-like compound known as polypeptide P which have been suggested as insulin replacement in some diabetic patients.
Bitter gourd is available year round in most Indian stores and I try to make them often. Today`s recipe is a simple varuval/stir fry with finely sliced Pavakkai sautéed with onions, chilli powder and jaggery. The ingredients are simple but it takes time and patience to get this Varuval right.
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 40 min
- 3 cups finely sliced Pavakkai
- ½ cup finely chopped onions
- few curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon jaggery
- salt to taste
- 4 to 5 tablespoon oil
- Heat oil in a kadai and add the sliced Pavakkai.
- On medium heat keep sautéing until the Pavakkai is cooked and it gets crisp. (approx 15 minutes)
- Now add the onions and curry leaves. Sauté on medium heat for another 10 minutes.
- Now add the rest of the powders and sauté for another 5 minutes.
- To this add the salt and jaggery and mix well. Keep stirring till the jaggery melts and combines well.
- Bring to low heat and stir occasionally for about another 10 minutes.
TIPS: I cut the Pavakkai lengthwise and removed the seeds and cut them into two and sliced into thin slices. If the bitter gourd is tender then the seeds need not be removed. I keep stirring for longer time to ensure overall cooking and the spices to blend well.