Korola Bhaja

Korola Bhaja is a simple stir fried dish popular in Bengali Cuisine. Korola is Bitter Gourd and Bhaja refers to deep fried or stir fried. We serve Korola Bhaja in the beginning of the meal, and we eat it with plain steamed white rice.

Korola Bhaja is yet another simple side dish that we serve at the beginning of the meal. We sometime also refer to it as ucche bhaja. Bitter is referred to as “teto” in Bengali, and it plays a very important part in Bengali everyday meal.

Bengali meal is a feast every day, and it often starts with something bitter. Especially during peak summer months. Bitter is known to cleanse our body and keep infection away.

Bitter gourds

WATCH THE VIDEO

So during these hot summer months, Ma would prepare Korola Bhaja quite frequently. Some days, she would skip Korola Bhaja and instead would prepare Tetor Daal (Bitter Gourd Yellow Mung Stew).

Growing up, I absolutely disliked this veggie, and I was never happy to see it in the menu. I would just gulp it down with water because there was no way she would allow us to ignore the bitter gourd.

Bitter gourd is still not my favorite vegetable, but occasionally I love it with steamed white rice and ghee drizzled on top.

Korola Bhaja - Bengali recipe

Ingredients you need for this Bengali Style Bitter Gourd Stir fried

Bitter gourd – Always pick tender dark green color bitter gourd. If the color is faded to pale green or yellowish, then the texture will turn out mushy. In US, the bitter gourds we find are bigger than compared to what I grew up eating back in India. The smaller ones are definitely much bitter.

Nigella seeds (Kalo Jeere/ Kalongi) – Nigela seeds are very commonly used in Bengali cooking and in most veggie stir fried dish. If you cannot find Nigella seeds, you can use cumin seeds too.

Salt and turmeric – A very tiny amount of turmeric powder is added for color and salt for seasoning.

Mustard Oil – We love making the bhaja in mustard oil, but you can surely use vegetable oil too.

Sliced Bitter Gourd

How to prepare Korola Bhaja

You slice the bitter gourd into thin slices. If the seeds look too big, then discard. Then sprinkle some salt and turmeric and leave it aside for 15 to 20 minutes. This will soften the veggie and that way it will cook faster.

Once you are ready to fry, take a heavy bottom skillet and pour the oil followed by nigella seeds. Let it sizzle for a while, then scatter the bitter gourd. Let it sizzle for a few minutes, then toss it around and let it sizzle again for a few minutes. Continue doing this until the bitter gourd is golden brown.

Depending on your choice, you may want to cook it further to crispy or even leave it a little soft. The more crispy you fry the bitter gourd, the less bitter it tastes.

Korola Bhaja - Bengali recipe

My husband like this bitter gourd stir fried a lot, and he can eat it with roti/paratha or any variety of daal with rice. But for me, I enjoy it with only plain white rice, drizzle with ghee, sprinkle of salt and fresh green chili on the side.

It’s a comfort food that my taste bud enjoyed only at an adult age. Avyan still doesn’t like it but just like my Ma, I too make it a mandate that he should eat just a few slices.

Korola Bhaja

Korola Bhaja

Yield: serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Korola Bhaja is a simple stir fried dish popular in Bengali Cuisine. Korola is Bitter Gourd and Bhaja refers to deep fried or stir fried. We serve Korola Bhaja in the beginning of the meal, and we eat it with plain steamed white rice.

Ingredients

  • 5 bitter gourds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds

Instructions

  1. Trim the edges of the bitter gourd and discard.
  2. Slice the bitter gourd into thin slices.
  3. Place it in a bowl and sprinkle salt plus turmeric. Mix it a massage and then place the marinated bitter gourd in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. When you are ready to fry, place a heavy bottom skillet on medium heat and drizzle the oil. Then scatter the nigella seeds and let it sizzle for a few seconds.
  5. Scatter and level the sliced bitter gourd and let it sizzle for a few minutes. Then toss it around and let it sizzle for a few more minutes. Continue doing this until the bitter gourds are cooked through and turns crispy.
  6. Enjoy the korola bhaja right way, warm and crispy.

Notes

When you are picking bitter gourd, make sure it's bright green and tender.

Always fry bitter gourd, low and slow. If you fry in high heat, it will get burnt easy even before softening.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 93Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 538mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 3gSugar 3gProtein 1g

All nutrition information presented are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Korola Bhaja - Bengali recipe
Did you enjoy this Korola Bhaja? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

No Comments

    Skip to Recipe