Maharashtrian Style Bitter Gourd Fry | Maharashtrian Karela Bhaji | कारल्याची भाजी | Karlyachi Bhaji | LUNCH BOX IDEAS

Generations after generations, Indian Wives have been cooking TIFFIN or LUNCH BOX for their better halves and send it along with them to office. Generally it is a vegetable cooked as per the local or regional cuisine and with seasonal vegetables. If the curry is with gravy, it is accompanied with Chapattis or Roti only. If the vegetable is dry, it is accompanied with daal. Sometimes it is accompanied with salads and curd. Earlier, the tiffin or lunch box used to be steel containers stacked on top of each other. The modern day tiffin consists of separate boxes, generally air tight and micro-wavable . Because people generally work in AC offices these days, their lunch boxes almost gets chilled by the lunch time which their wives give them when they leave office early morning.

My father always came home to have lunch. And so did most of the Uncles from our neighbourhood. I was not very familiar with the idea of taking dabbas to office.

When I graduated and joined my first office, I liked office food very much. However, slowly I got tired of having the same taste every day. It is then I decided to start making lunch box for myself and my hubby.

The truth is in India, only Mumbai has got the privilege of Dabbawallas who pick lunch boxes from the homes just before lunch hour and deliver hot food just in the time of lunch hours. Thousands and perhaps Lakhs of Dabbas are delivered by Dabbawallas. The lunch boxes are put in color coded dabbas and stacked in wooden carts which are again coded that decide which local train they will travel . It is then delivered to offices. The work is done at an amazing efficiency and are the first company in India to achieve Six Sigma i.e. an accuracy of 99.99966% , a process improvement method started by Motorola in 1986. 

I recommend everybody to watch the NAT GEO Video who documented the above process in amazing detail. It’s simply amazing to see the dabbawallas working with so much sincerity and dedication.

However, I know it is easy to say than to prepare lunch box every day.  But as we say No Pain No Gain. We need to take that extra effort to eat home made food at office. Lets start with some simple Lunch Ideas which we can prepare in 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

Lunch Box Idea # 1


What You Need:

3 bitter gourd deseeded and chopped to small pieces
1 tbsp roasted and crushed peanuts
1 tbsp grated coconut
1 tsp garlic crushed
1 green chili roughly chopped
1  tbsp jaggery
1 tsp tsp lemon juice
Salt to Taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumind powder
1 tsp goda masala
1 tbsp oil
1 onion chopped
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds

For Goda Masala, click here

Steps To Make:

Heat water in a saucepan. Add pinch of salt and bring it to boil.
Add bitter gourd pieces and cook for 3 minutes.
Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds.Add cumin seeds.
Add green chilies and curry leaves.
Add onions and garlic. Cook till it turns brown.
Add bitter gourd, salt, jaggery, turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder and goda masala .
Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add grated coconut, crushed peanuts and lime juice.
Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Lunch Box Idea # 2


Some people like my hubby hate bitter gourd so much so that they will not consume it even if it is the last vegetable left on earth. I have to make some palak daal, (recipe here) for him along with Chickpea Beetroot Sundal.

What You Need:

1 cup chick pea
1 Beetroot chopped to small pieces
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 green chilli chopped
7-8 curry leaves
1 onion finely chopped
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
Salt  to taste
1 tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
2 tbsp grated coconut powder

Steps To Make:

Soak chick pea for 8 hours and cook in pressure with salt.
Drain chickpea.
Heat oil in a pan.
Add asafoetida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chilis and curry leaves in order
Follow by ginger garlic paste, onion and dry spices.
Add beetroot pieces and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add turmeric powder, red chili powder and cumin powder
Add cooked chickpea and coriander leaves chopped.
Serve hot with Roti

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