The health benefits of bitter gourd ( Karela, in Hindi and Kalara in Odia) cannot be overstated. Its green leaves are also equally useful. The leaves may be cooked as a leafy vegetable. It is anti-diabetic, antioxidant and antiviral. However upon cooking, especially when it is fried in oil, some the health benefits are partially lost. In the traditional Odia cuisine, bitter gourd leaves find occasional use. But where from do you find these leaves? It is rarely sold in the vegetable market. So you could grow bitter gourd plants in your kitchen garden to get these healthy leaves.
a dozen bitter guard leaves (kalara patra)
1/2 (half) cup raw rice (arua chaula)
1 tea spoon cumin seeds (jeera)
2 table spoon refined oil (rifaain tela)
salt to taste (luna)
Wash the bitter gourd leaves with water and cut it into pieces. Next prepare rice paste by putting the rice and cumin seeds in a grinder. It would form a semi-thick batter. Then add the batter to the bitter gourd leaves and mix well using your fingers. We have to fry these leaves mixed in batter. For the frying put the required quantity of oil on a 'tawa' or frying pan on low flame. Take a small portion (about a table spoonful) of the batter mixed with leaves and place on the 'tawa' and flatten it by using the back of a spoon. The shape of each portion should be like a small Bara/ Vada. You may put four portions of such flatted batters at a time on the 'tawa'. After a while turn the flattened portions carefully by using a spatula ('pithapatia'). This way turn the flattened portions on both the sides till they become crispy cooked from inside. Tastes great if served as a side dish with rice.
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