I love Kakarakaya (called Karela in Hindi and Bitter Gourd in English). In my home, this is mostly made as Kakarakaya Vepudu or Bitter Gourd Stir-fry. I also make Pavakka Theeyal with it. However, yesterday I was looking for something different and discovered this recipe for Kakarakaya Endu Kobbari Kharam.
I found several versions of this recipe but I made a very simple version that was quite delicious. Essentially, Kakarakaya Endu Kobbari Kharam is stir-fried Karela flavoured with a garlic, dry coconut, and red chilli powder masala. In fact, if you have the Maharashtrian Lasoon Chutney at home then all this recipe calls for is stir-frying the Kakarakaya and the adding a generous amount of the chutney powder to it.
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.