One of my all-time favourite Kerala dishes is Theeyal. Theeyal can be made with many vegetables; brinjals, lady finger, shallots/madras onions,… I have already written about Theeyal with Lady Finger (Okra) and Madras Onions (Shallot).
This week I made Theeyal with Bitter Gourd (called Pavakka in Malayalam).
Time: 45 Minutes
- Bitter Gourd, Karela or Pavakka – 2 Large
- Madras Onion/Shallots – 12
- Grated Fresh Coconut – 2/3 Cup
- Coriander Seeds – 2 tsp
- Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
- Pepper Seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Red Chillies – 3 or 4
- Grated Jaggery – 1/2 tsp
- Thick Tamarind Pulp – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
- Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp
- Curry Leaves – 6 to 8
- Asafoetida – A Pinch
- Salt to Taste
- Dissolve 1/2 tsp salt i 1 litre of water.
- Wash and dry the bitter gourd.
- Slice the bitter gourd into thin discs.
- Add the discs to salt water and let sit for 10 minutes. This removes some bitterness from the bitter gourd.
- Drain the water from the bitter gourd pieces and pat dry.
- Peel the madras onion.
- Powder the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns.
- In a kadai, over medium heat, dry roast the grated coconut till it is golden brown.
- Add the red chillies and spice powder.
- Roast for 2 minutes.
- Grind the coconut spice mix with a little water into a smooth paste.
- In a kadai, heat the oil.
- Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
- Add the madras onions and fry till they start to turn transparent.
- Add the bitter gourd pieces and stir-fry till the bitter gourd pieces start to brown at the edges.
- Add the ground coconut paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Add turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt, and tamarind paste.
- Mix well.
- Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.
- Add the jaggery and curry leaves.
- Serve hot with steamed rice and appalam.