Cooking any bitter gourd recipe and feeding it to my husband is quite a challenge. Like most people my family is also not so found of “Karela”. so that’s how my journey begin to try a recipe which would change everyone preconceived notions about bittergourd. This version of bittergourd is a south indian style spicy, tangy and sweet curry made with coconut and toor dal, which i found on a blog long time ago but i have no clue about the real name of this recipe.
So here goes the recipe.
2 small – medium Bitter Gourds
1/4 cup mung dal or Toor dal (pigeon peas) or a mix of both
1/4 ts turmeric
half a small lime sized tamarind (seeds removed)
1-1/2 tbsp crushed jaggery
To roast and grind into a powder
1 tbsp split black gram / urad dal (I used urad dal)
4 whole dried red chillies
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 stalk or 10 curry leaves
a big pinch of hing/asafoetida
2-3 tbsp grated coconut
a few drops of ghee for roasting pepper
Mix water while grinding to make a paste
Wash mung dal / toor dal or the dal mixture well. Wash and soak tamarind in warm water for 10-15 mins. Pressure cook dal for 3-4 whistles or until well cooked.
Wash the bitter gourds. Slice the ends about 1/2 cm, slit them in half and scoop out the seeds. Then slice them into thin half moons about 1/2 cm thick. In a medium-sized heavy bottom pot covered with lid, cook bitter gourd slices in just enough water, until soft but not mushy. Squish soaked tamarind to pulp and pour into the pot. Season with salt.
Preparation for roasted masala
Dry roast While it simmers, get the masala for the gravy ready. Place a kadai over medium heat for dry roasting the spices. When the kadai is hot enough, add few drops of ghee, drop in the black peppercorns and roast until they just begin to splutter. Remove onto a plate. Add urad dal, red chillies, curry leaves and roast on low to medium heat until urad dal turns golden brown and curry leaves are crisp. Switch off, add hing and grated coconut and sauté until coconut is light brown and smells toasty.
In a blender, grind the roasted ingredients along with some water to a smooth paste. Pour this paste into the simmering pot of tamarind and bittergourd and stir to mix well.
Whisk turmeric into the cooked dal, stir to mash well and pour into the pot with cooked bitter gourd.