Time required: One hour 15 minutes plus baking time
12 bitter grounds (karelas)
Salt to taste
15 g ginger paste
15 g garlic paste
1 tsp (5 g) turmeric powder
Butter for basting and greasing.
For the filling:
150 g paneer, grated
60 g groundnuts
1 tbs (15 g) sesame seeds
15 g coconut
1 tsp (5 g) cummin seeds
2 (120 g) large onions
5 cm ginger, julienned
1 1/2 tsp (7 g) coriander powder
1 tsp (5 g) chilli powder
Salt to taste
2 tbs (30 ml) tamarind pulp
15 g jaggery, crushed
For the tempering:
3 tbs (45 ml) sesame oil
1/2 tsp (2 g) cummin seeds
1/2 tsp (2 g) mustard seeds
1/4 tsp (1 g) fenugreek seeds
24 curry leaves
WASH and slit the bitter gourds on one side. Remove the seeds and rub with salt.
Arrange on a tilting tray and keep aside for at least an hour. (Keep the bitter gourds overnight if you prefer them to be even less bitter).
Put enough water in a pan. Add salt, ginger paste, garlic paste, and turmeric powder.
Stir and bring to a boil. Add the bitter gourds and blanch them until soft. Drain and keep aside.
To prepare the filling:
Remove the brown skin and roughly chop the coconut. Dry roast the coconut,
groundnuts, sesame seeds and cummin seeds in a frying pan until each emits its unique aroma. Hold the onions with tongs and roast them directly over the flame until the skin is charred. Cool, peel and roughly chop the onions. Grind all these ingredients, except paneer, with 1/4th cup water to fine paste.Add paneer, ginger, jaggery, corriander powder and chilli powder to the paste and mix well.
To prepare the tempering:
Heat oil in a frying pan and season with cummin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Stir over medium heat until they begin to crackle. Add curry leaves and stir.
Pour over the paste, mix well and divide into 12 equal portions. Put a portion of the filling into each of the blanched bitter gourds. Arrange them in a greased roasting tray
with the slit side on top. Cover with foil. Punch a few holes in the foil and cook on dum in the pre-heated oven at 275oF for 30 minutes, basting at regular intervals. Remove and uncover.
To serve: Remove to a serving dish and serve with cummin-tempered whole potatoes and buttered seasonal vegetables on the side.