Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Karela Chips(Bitter Gourd Chips)

There's a saying in Tulu, "Kanchala itthunda enchala unoli" which means if you have bitter gourd, you can dine well.

Yes. Haagalakaayi/Karaate/Kanchala/Karela or Bitter Gourd is an exotic oriental vegetable that adds taste to your dinner with its bitterness. Since you can't just eat bitter stuff as it is, you need to dress it up with some spices and taste makers. Best ingredients that neutralise the bitterness within this vegetable are salt, tamarind and jaggery. However, when you plan to make a deep fried fritter with this, you have to skip adding jaggery, but you can add little sugar. So just load it with salt and tamarind and don't worry about your health. Bitter gourd has goodness within its bitterness to sublimate any possible variations in your health.

These Karela Chips are popular in Mangaluru, especially at feasts following religious rites. Some of the rituals are not complete without Karela Chips. Now a days you get them readily packed at many local Bakeries. Caterers, especially Kusum Caterers in Mangaluru make them perfectly, and you may get them at their outlet in Lower Car Street, but home made ones always have a special taste and purity. You can make these when bitter gourd is cheap especially during monsoons and store them for days. They taste very good with rice congi or rice and curd. They turn out so crisp and crunchy, you may even like to relish them as its is!
Karela(Bitter Gourd) - 250 Gms
Red Chilli Powder - 4 Tsp
Turmeric Powder(Optional) - 1/4 Tsp
Salt - 1 Tsp(Adjust according to taste)
Tamarind - Chickpea size ball soaked in little water(Or 1 Tsp pulp)
Asafotoeda - A generous pinch dissolved in little water(Or 1/2 Tsp powder)
Sugar - 1 Tsp
Rice Flour - 2 Tbsp
Corn Flour - 1 Tbsp
Oil - For deep frying + 1 Tsp

Wash and cut bitter gourd into very thin round slices.
Apply tamarind extract and salt.
Marinate the bitter gourd slices for 24 hours in the fridge.
Make a thick paste of idli batter consistency with chilli powder, turmeric powder, asafotoeda, sugar, 1 tsp oil, rice flour and corn flour, adding water little by little.
Apply this paste well over the bitter gourd slices and keep them marinated for further 30 mins.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan and maintain medium low temperature.
Drop the masala batter coated bitter gourd slices into the medium hot oil and fry for 3-5 minutes on both sides.
Drain and allow to cool down completely.
Fry as many batches as you can, but isolate them on a platter for easy identification and second frying.
Fry them a second time for 3-5 minutes or until crisp and brown.
Drain and transfer to a colander lines with absorbent paper.
Once cool, store in an airtight container and serve as and when you need them.
Best preserved in a fridge after 2 days.
The oil used for frying the chips can be saved and same oil can be used for frying kantola fritters or even for re frying karela chips when you want them crisp and hot.
Just take as many chips as you want from the fridge, heat oil and fry them for 2 minutes on medium low heat.

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