No kidding I promise. I know many of you must be feeling really uncomfortable at the thought of bitter guard mashed up. To make you more at ease let me tell you that even I was very suspicious of this mash till I actually tasted it. My dear friend Tapati used to talk about this mash (her own version), about how much she loves having it daily, I used to think she is being overenthusiastic with her skin care regime. I thought of trying it a few times as I had liked another version of bitter guard mash long time back. And that was at the home of a very respected teacher of mine who was a Gandhian and practiced naturopathy. I remember having masoor ki daal tempered with ajwain served with sathi rice and this karele ka bharta. I was an impressionable young girl at that time and had loved that meal so much I still remember the taste.
And when I tasted this bharta at Tapati's place again a couple of years ago, I was hooked to it. I found it very tasty.
Now.. don't get surprised, I like bitter guards otherwise too. Needles to say this heavy duty detox recipe became a regular at my place and a big bowlful of this mash makes my body and my skin happy. This recipe is full of bitter gourd goodness, anti-inflammatory in it's effect and antioxidant rich as well. Read more. Bitter gourd is known to be useful in managing blood sugar too, but not in isolation to be honest.
Now let's move to the recipe...
three medium bitter guards, one medium sized potato, and two red ripe tomatoes (optional) are cut into chunks and dunked into the pressure cooker with 1/2 cup of water and salt to taste. Boiled till done, till the first whistle blows if using pressure cooker.
It boils well in a covered pan too.
Now is the time to peel off the tomato skins if using tomatoes, and mush everything up into a bharta. Some chopped onions and green chillies will be added as per taste. I like the chopped onions providing a nice crunch as well as balancing the flavors of this mash sometimes.
Adjust salt and add a tsp of mustard oil. Mustard oil is a north Indian favorite and it you feel uncomfortable with it you can use sesame oil or olive oil too...
It is a good idea to have another subzi with the karele ka bharta meal if you are having it for the first time or even if you decide to have it regularly. Some variety of flavours is always good when eating a plain detox type meal.
With my chapatis or with daal chawal or mung ki khichdi, this is the way to my detox meals whenever I decide for it.
Even otherwise I keep making this karele ka chokha or bharta once in a while and many of my other friends have liked the idea of this mash. You know we click with similar kind minded people as friends :)