KARELLA (The Bitter Cucumber)

 You sometimes see them in the store and wonder what are those things! In fact, they are a very important part of the diet throughout Asia and the Caribbean.

They are commonly eaten when very young, but are extremely bitter and do not appeal to the Western palate.
In India and Ceylon they are popular when added to curries.

Additionally, they are of medicinal value as they contain a substance similiar in effect to insulin.

The diabetic rate in South Asia is very low - ask any Filipino.

The young shoots are also eaten especially, according to Dr. Herklots in the Philippines.

The fruits are very colourful when ripe - bright orange yellow - and when the valves are open the crimson-red seeds are exposed.

Bitter Melon KarellaBitter Melon Karella
The plant is a slender annual, climbing to 3-4m, with simple tendrils arising from the leaf axils. The leaves are long-stalked, cordate, witrh five to nine deep, rounded lobes.

Male and female flowers are separate, long-stalked yellow, with five nearly separate petals, and are vanilla sented in the morning. The fruits are pendant, and vary in length from 10 to 25cm, acording to variety.

The long variety is preferred by the Chinese the short by the Indians.
The seeds are brown or white, covered in a scarlet aril. The pulp is sweet when ripe.

Two related species are also cultivated. Momordica cochinchinensis {Lour} Spreng, the spiny bitter cucumber, has three or five-lobed leaves and strraw-yellow male flowers, the inner three petals with a blackish-purple spot at the base.

(Source: The Random House Book of Vegetables - by: Roger Phillips & Martyn Rix)

Although bitter, it is excellent with scrambled eggs for breakfast, in curries, or simply added to salads or meat gravies.

Egg Omelete with Karella

People who understand the medicinal benefits of Karella do not object to its bitter taste.

Buy fresh when available.

Spyros Peter Goudas



Dear Peter:

I met you not very long time ago but I heard about your kindness to humanity and your passion for business long time before.
I am from Pakistan and was sent very early in my life soon after my basic education to Germany and then I moved to London,

I came to Canada and I saw Mr. Goudas cans of beans and chick peas and rice and hundreds of many more items everyday in the shops in Ontario.

Finally I met you  in reality, one day and I saw Mr. Goudas not printed on cans or on bag of rice but just in front of me sitting close to me. I shook a powerful hand with you and saw in your eyes the shine, the light  and energy.

Right as I entered the building I saw your collection of books and recipes. I picked up a dozen and read every night before go to sleep.

You are a wonderful person,very kind,full of humor, a writer, a cook, a friend, animal lover and on top a very good human being.God Bless you....

To day I read two recipes from your collection The Bolani,  and Vegetable soup, and I found the vegetable soup very nourishing and full of necessary vitamins and erengy you need these days after the pressure of work and society.

In appreciation of your work toeard humanity I am going to pass you the recipe of Karela or the bitter lemround ginger, fresh garlic puree,on my mother who was from Allahabad a province in India used to make it for us.

Here it goes:

It is called filled Karela Qeema ( Ground Beef)

You need fresh ground beef one lb with no fat. (animal fat is not good and Mr. Gouda does not like it)

You need Indian style bitter Melons or karelas 3/4 sliced in round after peeling and the peel you save separately.

Salt, cumin seed,,turmeric, garlic fresh and fresh ginger puree,sharp green peppers,onions fresh, butter or substitute, Anar Dana powder (dried pomegranates seeds powdered), fresh lemons, garam masala (mix of all indian spices), Anissed or Sounf.

Slice onions and saute in butter until golden brown add to it salt,one spoon cumin seed,1/2 spoon turmeric, one spoon ginger puree, one spoon garlic puree, 1 spoon garam masala, and then let it cook for few minutes stirring it all the time until it seeps the butter and oil and separate with all the mixture.

Now you add ground beef to it and stir it thoroughly for 15 minutes.

Add  1/2 spoon of  (Aniseed) sounf in it and also two spoon of anardana in it.

Stir it again.

Now remove it from the stove. let it cool.

Take the bitter melons and make a cut in it length wise just the tummy of karela so just to remove all the seeds from there and make them hollow.

Now fill the karela with the ground beef mixture you just made and tie a thread on it so mixture do not fall out.

Sprinkle lemon on the whole karela.

Light coat it with oil by a brush.

Heat the over at 450 degrees

Put all the karelas on a paper and into the oven until brown.

When you see these are golden brown take them out and serve it.

Excellent dish.

I hope you like it.

Mr. Goudas I love your passion please keep it up.

Long Live Mr. Goudas.

Aslam Shaharyar