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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chettinad Pavakkai masala (Bitter gourd or karela curry)

Since my childhood, I have an aversion towards pavakkai and my mom never cooked it. After marriage also I never turned towards this vegetable. I found this vegetable in some form or the other in the lunch box of one of my colleagues in the computer science department. One day, I asked her.” Are you a sugar patient? Why do you take pavakkai almost every day? She quietly took one spoon of rice mixed with pavakkai kuzhambu and gave it to me. I tasted it and I didn’t find much bitterness, but the taste of the rice never left my tongue .I asked her the recipe. She told me that the way we cook the curry is very important to take away the bitterness from the curry. The same evening I got bittergourd from the market and made the curry next day. Even my younger daughter liked it very much. From that day, I regularly bought bitter gourds and tried cooking in different ways. My favorite is chettinad pavakkai masala which can be mixed with rice as well. I usually add a teaspoon full of jaggery at the end to this curry. The sweetness along with bitterness doubles the taste of the curry. I almost believe that there is no other vegetable to beat the taste of pavakkai if cooked properly. When diabetic people are at home jaggery can be avoided.
Tricks to reduce the bitter taste in bitter gourd or pavakkai curries
While buying bittergourds don’t go for dark green ones. They will be very bitter. Remove some of the sharp green portions from the outer skin. Always use little bit extra oil for pavakkai masala than usual. Keeping the stove in slow fire and cook the pavakkai pieces in the oil itself. For 2 medium sized pavakkai, 2 table spoons of oil is enough

Pavakkai-2(medium sized)
Small onion-30 or big onion 2
Sambar powder-2 teaspoons
Tamarind juice-1/2 teaspoon
Coriander leaves-little
Mince the onions and tomatoes in a chopper or cut the onions and garlic into very small pieces. Rotate the tomatoes once in a mixie to crush them. Cut the pavakkai also into small pieces.
Keep the kadai in the stove. In two table spoons of oil season the curry with 1 teaspoon of mustard, 1 spoon small jeera and curry leaves. After the mustard seeds splitter, add the minced onions, garlic and sauté till they turn transparent. Now add the pavakkai pieces and keep the stove in medium flame and cook the pieces without adding water. When you feel that the pieces are almost cooked add the crushed tomatoes sambar powder and the required salt and the tamarind juice. Let this cook for 5 more minutes .Now add 2 teaspoons jaggery and keep the stove in sim. You will notice oil separating. Now switch off the stove. If desired it can be garnished with coriander leaves.


Cham said...

Wonderful curry and i love the tip to buy the bitter gourd

kousi said...

I did the same.but i fried fenugreek,garlic and littlebit of rice and tomato in oil and made it as a paste.

Anonymous said...

Aachi, I made this pavakai masala yesterday. My husband was eating it like alwa. It was very tasty.
Thanks a lot.

felicia said...

hi aunty..ur curry makes my mouth watery.excellent recipe.surprised to see that you are from neyveli.. i am from neyveli now settled in canada. parents live in neyveli.. nice seein u..

Madhumathy said...

Hi Aunty

Nice recipes, this pavakai recipe was very nice and tasty, my daughter loved it. I am happy at seven she is able to take bitter gaurd.

Solai Chidambaram said...

That sounds great madhu.A child loving bittergaurd.Very good.It will help her to be free from worms.

presilla said...

can we use the chilli powder if we dont have sambhar powder ?

can we add garam masala?


Solai Chidambaram said...

If you dont have sambar powder use 1/2 teaspoon chili powder along with 1 teaspoon coriander powder.No garam masala

Shafeer Ali said...

Wow.. It was really great.. I never realised i could make a curry so good.. I m zero in cooking.. I know only to make tea and cofee.. I tried ur receipe for my first try. I could only say 1 think, I remembered my mom and my country when i had this curry.

Solai Chidambaram said...

wow shafeer your comment makes me really happy.try some other recipes too.

Shafeer Ali said...

sure mam.. I will try other recipes one by one in each weekends.. In this country i don't find authentic south indian food often.. I have bookmarked your link. When I visit India next time, I am going to cook with my hands for my mom :-)

sugantha said...

Hi aunty, my mother-in-law is a diabetic. we always make pavakkai in the same way. i tried ur recipe and she loved it. she is very precious for us.

Solai Chidambaram said...

sugantha,happy to note your love for your mother in law.thanks for the compliments.

Skl said...

Hello aunty,
Got reminded of mom and grandma making this dish,tastes same,it's awesome with curd rice,could'nt feel the bitterness of the veggie,thanks for the tips on bitter gourd,we picked the rt bitter gourd,this veg is very healthy esp worm infestations,almost everyone in my hometown eat this regularly at least once in fifteen days,thank you,skl

Deepak Rajesh said...

Dear Aachi,

Pavakkai is my favorite dish and now i ll do it in delicious way. thanks for giving the recipe.
a kind request my son is 2and half years old. but he is not eating the food properly. always eating chocolate given by my wife. kindly tell some recipes for him. i need my son to be grown in natural way. i'm not giving him any western type dishes like pizza, kfc,etc... so kindly post some recipes for kids.

amitha philip said...

Hi aunty,
I made this today for lunch and it was yummy.. thank you for sharing this lovely recipe