The health benefits of karela (bitter-gourd) are greater than those of many vegetables. Karela's bitter taste is generally attributed to the quinine it contains. Cooked bitter gourd stimulates the appetite, cleanses the liver, purifies the blood, and provides many other benefits.
Grown in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Asia, Africa, and South America, karela (aka bitter-melon, kaakarakaya) is unsavory yet very nutritious and healthy. Karela comes in many different varieties and is similar in shape to a cucumber. In the Indian grocery stores in the US, you'll find the the Indian, dark green, spiky variety, while in the Asian stores, you'll find the lighter-green bitter-melons that are larger with a bumpy peel.
A really delicious type of karela is kantola or kakrol (aa-kaakarakaya). These are small, round or oval with tiny, prickly spikes, and are not bitter at all or only slightly bitter. These taste great sliced into thin chips and either stir-fried or deep-fried. Fresh kantola are a rare sight in the US but are widely available frozen.
In South India, karela and kantola, are soaked overnight in brine or buttermilk and sundried, and then deep-fried as needed, and like pappadums, served as crunchy accompaniments or added to soups and stews. These vadiyams or vadams are available in Indian grocery stores.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||79 kJ (19 kcal)|
|- Sugars||1.95 g|
|- Dietary fiber||2.0 g|
|- saturated||0.014 g|
|- monounsaturated||0.033 g|
|- polyunsaturated||0.078 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||6 μg (1%)|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.051 mg (4%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.053 mg (4%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.280 mg (2%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.041 mg (3%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||51 μg (13%)|
|Vitamin B12||0 μg (0%)|
|Vitamin C||33.0 mg (40%)|
|Vitamin E||0.14 mg (1%)|
|Vitamin K||4.8 μg (5%)|
|Calcium||9 mg (1%)|
|Iron||0.38 mg (3%)|
|Magnesium||16 mg (5%)|
|Phosphorus||36 mg (5%)|
|Potassium||319 mg (7%)|
|Sodium||6 mg (0%)|
|Zinc||0.77 mg (8%)|
The health benefits of karela (bitter-gourd) are greater than those of many vegetables. Karela's bitter taste is generally attributed to the quinine it contains. Cooked bitter gourd stimulates the appetite, cleanses the liver,
Tell Us What You Are Looking For?