"Karate’ Bajo / Karela Bajia / Bitter Gourd Fries" … Bajia's or Bajo's needs no intro’ for any Indian and these light coloured Karate’s (Bitter Gourd) that taste a little bit less bitter are really awesome when deep fried golden and crispy … I would say a yummy bitter truth of life in taste … You can serve them for lunch / dinner or any time of the day or enjoy them just like that … Yumz …
Bajo or Bajia’s are snack that are prepared with Veggies that are dipped in batter and deep fried in hot oil. It’s absolutely not necessary for me to go into details about these yummy snacks that every Indian knows about and always relishes them in their homes. The satisfaction of hot deep fried golden coloured bajia’s is something very satisfying specially during monsoon or winter when there is chill in the air. These hot deep fries are a great snack that can be served at any time of the day be it for breakfast, lunch, tiffin or dinner. Well even as mid-snack if hungry. Today for a change I deep fried Karelas / karate or Bitter Gourd as known in English. We usually apply spices and deep fry karelas as crispies or tava fry them. After preparing some bajo / bajia’s out of capsicum there was some left over batter. The light green karelas are less bitter, so I have the habit of buying them from market whenever available. As they were there in my fridge, I removed and deep fried just a few pieces and I was simply amazed by its taste. I would call this bitter truth of life in taste. Simply yumz. Here is to how I prepared them.
** Here is the Recipe ............
** Wash karela’s / karate’ / Bitter groud and wipe them dry. Cut them into rings of ¼ inch thickness. Sprinkle some salt, mix well and keep them aside for 10-15 mins.
** Wipe the karelas or squeeze out the juice if any by pressing them between palms. See to it that you do not break the rings. The best way is to just press a tissue paper or towel all over gently and its done.
** Now … there are 2 methods in which you can cook them a little bit. Just put them with some water in a flat vessel and cook them for 5-7 mins and drain to remove excess water by putting them on a colander ….
** Spread them on a microwave glass flat dish and cook them covered for 3 mins. I used the microwave method as it is easy and fast and there is no need of straining off the water etc. which contains a lot of medical properties in them and are cook for health.
** You may choose any method you like or prefer. This step is necessary as the karela rings if cooked first are easier to deep fry later on, or else the deep frying process will take longer as we want the rings to get cooked and karela takes a little bit more time to cook. This way they are faster and better than deep frying for longer time.
** Again you can choose to remove the inner seeds of the karelas if they do not appeal to you. I retain them as in my home we like the slight bitterness it imparts and also the crunchy seed bites. Again they are good for health too.
** For the batter for deep frying : In a bowl add in 1 cup of besan (Bengal gram flour), 1 tblsp of spicy red chilly powder, ½ tsp of haldi / turmeric powder, 1 tblsp of hing water or ½ tsp of hing powder and salt to taste. Mix all gently. Add in enough water to bind into a thick paste. The paste should coat the back of a spoon thickly and not slip off easily.
** For deep frying : Heat plenty of oil in a kadai for deep frying. Once it reaches smoking point, lower heat to medium and wait for about 5 minutes. Now dip in each pieces of the cooked karelas / karate’ into the batter and swirl it so that it coats the slices evenly on all sides, gently leave it into the hot oil one by one.
** Add in a few pieces at a time depending upon the size of the pan and the amount of oil heated. Do not overcrowd the pan or else there wont be enough space for the bajias to get cooked evenly. After about 3-4 minutes, keep stirring the bajo / bajia to let them cook evenly on all sides.
** Once the Karela (Karate’ / Bitter Gourd) bajo / bajia turns reddish golden brown in color remove into an absorbent paper and keep it for a while for the excess oil to drain off. Follow the same procedure for the remaining pieces of karelas / karate’s.
** Karate’ Bajo / Karela Bajia / Bitter Gourd Fries are done. Always serve bajias hot with Dalitoy and Rice or as tiffin along with some chutney or tomato ketchup. Well I can enjoy them just as it is. Though a little bit of tinge of bitterness does come on the tongue, its delicious and yumz.