Falling In Love with Bitter Melon
Several months ago, I shared a bitter melon recipe (called karela in Urdu) that Baji (my husband's paternal grandmother) used to make very often for the vegetarians in the family. Unlike the Vietnamese variety (known as bitter cucumber), Indian bitter melons have a spiky outer layer. Shana from North Carolina (a regular reader) asked me a very good question. "What does karela look like?" I looked back at the published recipe and realized I hadn't taken a picture of the raw product. Better late than never, here's how the odd-shaped vegetable looks. So next time you visit an Indian grocery store, you might want to grab a few, deep-fry them and stuff them with meat or lentils. Bitter melon is an acquired taste but give it a try. You may love it!
Note: I realized I also forgot to mention in the original instructions for chana dal stuffed karela to even out the outer layer using a vegetable peeler or the spikes from the vegetables will end up burnt in the hot oil.