Bitter Gourd Curry / Pavakkai Varuval – is a healthy side dish made using pavakkai / bitter gourd / Karela. Normally many hate pavakkai and really don’t want it in any form… but here in my place no one complaints, they all eat it like any other veggie…. there is no secret to it… just soak them in little butter milk for few minutes and then squeeze out the liquid and then pan fry it. The other method i use is to cut them out and shallow fry them in oil before adding the onion and then proceed with the preparation… plus include a whole lot of coriander leaves which kind of balances the bitterness.. Try this method and see it for yourself.
Ingredients – 1
- Bitter Gourd / Pavakkai – 2 cups (chopped)
- Buttermilk – 1/2 cup (very dilute, for soaking)
- Turmeric powder – a pinch (for soaking)
- Salt – a pinch (for soaking)
Ingredients – 2
- Oil – 3 tablespoons
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Split black gram – 1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Curry leaves – 5 (finely chopped)
- Onion – 1 cup (thinly sliced)
- Ginger Garlic – 2 tablespoon (crushed)
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
- Red Chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – 3/4 teaspoon (or to taste)
- Jaggery – 1/2 teaspoon
- Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup (tightly packed)
Lets see how to make this Bitter Gourd Curry…
- Wash the veggie, cut open, remove thick seeds and cut into small pieces. You may either chop into tiny pieces or cut them into thin crescent shape pieces.
- Soak these pieces in buttermilk mixed with turmeric and salt for 15 minutes, this would help to remove at least some of the bitterness. (this step is optional, for tender bitter gourd you can skip it, large matured gourd taste too bitter, and in that case you may try this soaking method) Keep them dry also works, will let you know the trick in STEP 4
- Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustard, cumin seeds, split black gram and curry leaves.
- Now at this stage you may add the gourd pieces (If using the soaking method– then squeeze all the water and add the veggie) or for direct method – fry the veggie pieces in oil along with jaggery until slightly tender. I do this to shallow fry them a bit that way they are flash cooked and turn crisp slightly and also loose the bitterness to some extend.
- Now you can add onions along with crushed ginger and garlic and saute till they brown a bit.
- Do not add any masala powder at this point, keep sauteing over medium flame until both and onion and gourd get fried well. they have to turn slightly crispy on the edges.
- Now add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt and fry till the masala cooks well.
- Fry over low medium flame for about 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes… this will brown the masala powder and also the veggie will turn dry and crisp to some extent.
- When done to right texture, switch off and garnish with coriander leaves and give a quick stir.
- Serve hot with rice & rasam!
Try this Andhra style KAKARAKAYA KURA bitter gourd fry.
- Serves 3
- Adding jaggery helps to balance the bitterness.
- Adding coriander leaves.. tends to make it very tasty…
- Choose the flash fry method which also helps to cook the veggie fast and helps to reduce the bitterness.
- Soaking in buttermilk is an optional steps… you need to fry longer if you soak as it may have more water content.
- Tender baby gourds is what i prefer but unfortunately we don’t get that here in USA, most the bitter gourds that we get are super sized and very very bitter.