Monday, July 31, 2017

Karela (Parikkai) Atho (Burmese Style Bittermelon With Onions, Tomatoes, Peanuts & Sesame)

Given a bag of fresh karelas/parikkai, I wanted to make something new and different with them; thus Karela Atho was created!

Karela (Parikkai) Atho is packed with protein from the peanuts and the aromatic sesame. The combination of the sweet caramelized onions, smoky tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients combine to make the bitter of bittermelons/karelas vanish and produce an amazingly delectable dish. Tried, tested, and terrific!

Note: Almonds/cashews may be substituted for the peanuts if you have a peanut alergy. If karela is not your thing, try making this with zucchini; Zucchini Atho makes fabulous eats! If making Zucchini Atho, cook the zucchini briefly so they do not get mushy.

4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 lb Bittermelons, about 2 or 3
2 large ripe Tomatoes
2 - 3 Tbsp Oil
1 large Red Onion
1 tsp Jaggery/Organic Coconut or Brown Sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp red chili powder/flakes
1 tsp ground Coriander Seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 pinch Asafetida
1/2 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup white Sesame Seeds, toasted
1/3 cup roasted Peanuts

Method:

Toast the sesame in a dry skillet until golden and let cool. Roast the peanuts also if they are raw.

Wash all the veggies; thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic, and thinly slice the karelas.

Broil, roast or grill the tomatoes until their skins char and blister. When cool enough to handle, peel and strain out the seeds. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and reserve along with the juices until needed.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the kadai/skillet and add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook until caramelized and golden brown - they should be on the crispy side. Stir in the red pepper and coriander, cook stirring for a minute, and remove from heat. Add to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe out the kadai/skillet and add the rest of the oil to coat it. Tip in the karela with the turmeric, salt, asafetida, and the jaggery/sugar; cook until tender stirring occasionally adding a tiny sprinkle of water only if necessary.

When karela is tender, tip the onion mixture, tomatoes and half of the cilantro into the kadai/skillet and mix well and turn off the heat.

While the karela is cooking, pound the sesame seeds first using a mortar and pestle until they are crushed well; add the peanuts and crush them coarsely. Reserve a pinch or two of each for garnish.

Stir in the nuts and sesame into the karela.

Let the Karela Atho rest for at least 15 to 30 minutes to let all the flavors meld and marry; it is actually tastier the next day!

Serve hot or warm garnished with the rest of the cilantro, nuts and seeds with rice/roti and dal. 

Enjoy!!

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