Kalounji is one of the rare East Indian dishes I have stumbled on over the years. Everyone is accustomed to the roti and choka etc., but this one you don't see often. Kalounji is made using Caraili or Karela (Momordica Charantia), better known as bitter melon or bitter gourd. And yes it is bitter, very bitter for some. But for me it is not as bitter as a bush we use as medicine called, Zebapique - ask any grown Trini about this bush, they know what I'm talking about 🙂
I hope you are prepared to eat some caraili this week. If you are not, maybe a little information on its nutritional value would interest you.
Nutritional Value of Caraili/Karela
Beside the bitter taste of this vegetable, it is really good for you once you get used to it. It has many medicinal properties, ranging from treating diabetes mellitus, to digestive problems. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals and helps raise the body's resistance against infection. Look at that, we get all these benefits from just this one plant...I guess I'll have to eat it more often!
After reading about this wonder vegetable and it's numerous benefits, I believe I will have to plant it in my backyard, together with the Zaboca. Ha Ha!. I'm used to eating Caraili either raw with salt and pepper or fried, but one thing remains the same, it is still bitter when cooked. Over the years I've grown accustomed to eating it, so the bitterness doesn't bother me; it's a taste you get used to after a while. I hope you do too! So without further ado here's Kalounji.
KALOUNJI (STUFFED CARAILI / KARELA)
The caraili could be stuffed with just about anything, such as mango kuchela, meat, fish, shrimp, etc. The recipe is basically straightforward. All you do is stuff the caraili and fry it. So here goes...
Boil the caraili for about 5 minutes in salted water. Boiling it in salted water takes out some of the bitterness.
When finished boiling, slit lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Stuff the caraili with your favorite stuffing. In my case, I am using mango kuchela.
Tie the caraili with strings to keep the stuffing from falling out while frying. Fry the caraili until brown.
Drain on paper towel and cut into 1" pieces and serve.
Here ends another exciting recipe. Hope you all visit the links I have placed in the post and learn a lot more about caraili.
Kalounji (Stuffed Caraili / Karela)
- Caraili Karela
- salt to taste
- mango kuchela
- Boil the caraili for about 5 minutes in salted water. Slit lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Stuff the caraili with the mango kuchela. Tie the caraili with strings to keep the stuffing from falling out while frying.
- Fry the caraili until brown. Drain on paper towel and cut into 1" pieces and serve.
Note: If you like this recipe, please leave your comment below.
I never had caraili and i don't think i ever will . I do remember my grandma eating this and didn't seem to mind the taste,but as you said it takes some getting use to and i take it she was use to it.
I think she use to cook it down (choka) and eat with sada roti.
I find that if you soak it in salt water it takes out some of the bitterness. But you should try it.
I never liked caraili when i was little, but now i love it, not to mention if it is good for me, I will eat.
my mother made this today. delicious!
I rarely drop remarks, but i did a few searching and wound up here Simply Trini Cooking. Great site.
what else could you stuff this with? Aloo choka? Channa?
You can use anything you like as long as it tastes great to you. Create and enjoy 🙂
My aunt used to make this whenever I visited Sangre Grande. It's the only way I ate Caraili. My only objection was that I found it to be too oily especially for health reasons.
Usually when you remove the insides, you can remove the coverings from the seeds, and season with other ingredients to stuff the caraili. Then place the tied and stuffed caraili in a steamer to cook till soft. After which you can fry/darken in a frying pan with a little oil or spray with a bit of Pan and place under a grill.
It taste great and you don't have to contend with the additional oil from a deep fry.
My grand mother taught my mum to make this. She would use shredded cabbage shredded carrots and finely chopped tomatoes seasoned with salt black pepper and amchar massala as the stuffing - it was absolutely delicious.