Nepali cuisine consists of several spicy sides dishes which are eaten with rice and lentils (dal). These are called “achars’ or chutneys and are made with a variety of vegetables. One can use the base recipe for the achar and just vary the vegetable that is used.
Here is a wonderful recipe that Manju makes which comprises of bitter gourd (karela) and is topped with ground roasted flax seeds.
Manju’s Bitter Gourd and Flax Seed Achar (Karela)
2 Bitter Gourds (Karela), sliced
3 tbsp. mustard oil (sarson ka tel)
½ tsp. red chili powder
2 tbs. whole flax seeds
1 tsp. panch phorun seeds
1-2 whole green chilies, slit lengthwise
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
· In a small pan, roast flax seeds over medium heat for 3-4 minutes and grind.
· Set aside.
· In a small wok or frying pan, add 1 tsp. mustard oil.
· Allow the oil to heat to smoking point.
· Add the sliced bitter gourd.
· Sauté for about 10 minutes.
· Add chili powder.
· Cook for 5-7 minutes until the bitter gourd browns.
· Set aside.
· In a wok or kadai, heat 2 tbsp. mustard oil to smoking point.
· Add 1 tsp. panch phorun seeds.
· Add the green chilies.
· Add chopped tomatoes and salt to taste.
· Cook covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
· Add cilantro and remove from heat.
· Add the cooked bitter gourd to this tomato mixture and add ground flax seeds on tops.
· Mix everything very well, adjust seasonings and serve hot or cold.