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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Uchche Bhaja (Bittermelon Fry - Bengali Cuisine)

          This bitter preparation is a delicacy on a Bengali platter and relished if not all but by many Bengalis. It is had at the beginning of any meal as it is considered to cleanse the system. It is simply fried on its own or potatoes can be added along with karela depending on individual choice and availability. Add kasundi paste if a more pungent flavour is desired. I prefer having it with ghee and hot steamed rice.

  • 2 medium size Karela (Bitter Gourd), chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. panch phoron (equal quantity of fennel, cumin, mustard, fenugreek and nigella (kalonji) seeds)
  • 2 whole dry red chilies, broken into two
  • 2 tbsp. mustard oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. ghee or 1 tsp. kasundi / mustard paste (opt)

          Heat oil in a pan and temper with whole dry red chilies and panch phoron. After it stops spluttering, add the chopped karela, salt and turmeric powder and stir fry on low flame till done. (this will take some time, so be patient).

          When done, add the kasundi, if using, and stir well to combine. Serve with hot steaming rice. If not using kasundi, then treat yourself to some ghee (clarified butter).


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