BESAN KARELA This preparation from the North of India is made of Karela which is what bitter gourd is called in Hindi, and besan (the Hindi word for gram flour.) This is basically bitter gourd cooked in spices and coated with gram flour. In many houses, bitter gourd is not much fancied by adults as well as kids and it is a challenge to get them to eat this! However, a lot depends on how it is cooked. Some dishes of karela can be very tasty indeed. I have earlier posted another Karela dish cooked in the Andhra style. I also like the fact that bitter gourd has many health benefits. Here is a recipe from Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, which I tried out the other day and liked a lot. I adapted the recipe to suit my requirements by a) not scraping the bitter gourd, and b) reducing the oil to 3 tbsp. Ingredients: Besan (Gram flour), 3 tbsp Karela, Bitter Gourds, medium-sized, lightly scraped, 3 Salt, to taste Oil, 5 tbsp Hing (Asafoetida), 1/4 tsp Ajwain (Carom seeds), 1/2 tsp Dried Mango Powder, 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder, 3/4 tsp Red chilli powder, 1 tsp Coriander-cumin powder, 2 tsp Sugar, 3 tsp Fresh coriander, chopped, 1 tbsp Method: Chop the bitter gourd into small cubes. Sprinkle a little salt and mix. Set aside for 30 minutes. Squeeze out the excess juice Heat the oil in a non-stick kadai. Add the bitter gourds. Saute on medium heat till lightly coloured. Cover and cook till done. Sprinkle the gram flour and toss well. Add the carom seeds, dried mango powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander-cumin powder, and sugar and toss again. Continue to cook on medium-low heat, sprinkle a little water occasionally. Cook till the gram flour coats the bitter gourds well Adjust salt to taste Take the kadai off the heat and serve garnished with the chopped coriander.