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To experience authentic meetha karela, make sure the stuffing is tightly packed with the dal mixture filling.
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A delicious Kashmiri dish, meetha karela bursts with various flavours in every bite. It’s sweet, sour, slightly spicy and bitter in taste. The best part, it remains fresh for 1–2 days.
- Bitter gourd (karela) ( 10)
- MTR Haldi/Turmeric Powder (1 tsp)
- Salt (to taste)
- MTR Lal Mirch/Red Chili Powder (1 tsp)
- Green chili, finely chopped ( 1)
- Onion, finely chopped ( 10)
- Nigella seeds (kalonji) (1/2 tsp)
- Fenugreek seeds (methi dana) (1/4 tsp)
- Cumin seeds (jeera) (1/2 tsp)
- Fennel seeds (saunf) (2 tsp)
- Peppercorns (sabut kali mirch) (1/2 tsp)
- Cloves (laung) (5–6)
- Sugar (10 tsp)
- Mango powder (10 tsp)
- Ginger (adrak), grated ( 1 tbsp)
- Mint (pudina) leaves (1 bunch)
- Split Bengal gram (chana dal), soaked for 30 mins (1/2 cup)
- Mustard oil (sarson ka tel) (1 cup)
- Asafoetida (hing) (1/4 tsp)
- Slightly crush fennel, cumin, peppercorns, fenugreek seeds and cloves one by one in a stone mortar and pestle. Set aside and do not mix them.
- Peel the karelas and slit them lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
- Make a mixture of MTR Haldi/Turmeric Powder and salt and smear it over the karelas. Make sure to rub the mixture on the inside of the karelas as well.
- Set them aside in a tilted position, for 1–2 hrs, to enable the bitter juices from the karela to drain out.
- After 1–2 hrs, squeeze the karelas between your palms to drain the excess liquid.
- To prepare the filling, mix onion, spices (except hing), sugar and mint leaves in a bowl. Divide this mixture into two equal parts.
- Divide this mixture into two and in one-half of the mixture, add split Bengal gram (chana dal) and stir to combine in a separate bowl
- Now stuff the karelas with this dal mixture and seal the mouth with a thread or pierce with a toothpick so that it does not open while cooking.
- Heat mustard oil in a heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Add hing followed by the other half of the onion mixture.
- Arrange stuffed karelas, neatly one by one, over the layer of onion.
- Cover the vessel with a tight fitting lid and cook on a low heat for at least 45 mins or till karela and dal are cooked through.
- The delicious meetha karela is ready! Serve it hot with garma garam chapatis.