When I got some absolutely farm-fresh bitter gourd, one of the dishes I made with them was this traditional Andhra Bitter Gourd Pickle that we call Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi.

Andhra Bitter Gourd Pickle | Kakarakaya Avakaya | Karela Achar
Andhra Bitter Gourd Pickle | Kakarakaya Avakaya | Karela Achar

I was inspired to make this pickle after I posted the recipe for Dondakaya Avakaya (Andhra Ivy Gourd Pickle) that is a great hit with my family and friends. Since then I have caught this mania of pickling every possible vegetable.

Nilava Pachadi means a chutney (pachadi) that has a long shelf-life and often it is similar to pickle as in this case. I don’t know why this dish is not called Kakaraya Avakaya as its recipe is almost the same as The Famous Andhra Avakai (Avakaya). Anyway, a rose by any name and all that…. 🙂

I made this Bitter Gourd Pickle without peeling the skin and so it has a level of bitterness. This bitterness is set-off to some extent by the tamarind that is used. This Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi tastes simply awesome with Curd Rice or then Pesara Kattu (Andhra Moong Dal) mixed with rice.

Andhra Karela Achar | Bitter Gourd Pickle
Andhra Karela Achar | Bitter Gourd Pickle

How to Make Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  1. Bitter Gourd, Kakarakaya, Karela – 250 gms
  2. Spices
    1. Chilli Powder – 3 tbsp
    2. Turmeric – 1 tsp
    3. Sea Salt/Rock Salt – 2 tsp
    4. Mustard Seeds, Avalu, Rai – 2 tbsp
    5. Fenugreek Seeds, Menthulu, Methi Dana – 1 tsp
    6. Tamarind – 1 small lemon-sized ball
  3. Other Ingredients
    1. Oil – 1/4 Cup
    2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
    3. Curry Leaves – 8 to 10

Method to Make Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi

  1. Getting the Bitter Gourd Ready
    1. Ensure that the bitter gourd is dry. If needed, place it on a cotton cloth and let it dry for an hour or so. 
    2. Cut each bitter gourd vertically in half. And then cut each half into slices. You can slice the bitter gourd whole as roundels as well. If you don’t like the bitter taste, lightly scrape the skin off before slicing.
    3. Set aside.
  2. Getting the Spices Ready
    1. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds till they start to change colour.
    2. Transfer to a plate and let them cool.
    3. Grind the roasted fenugreek and mustard seeds to a coarse powder.
    4. If the tamarind is too wet, over low flame, dry roast till it is a bit dry.
    5. Grind the tamarind and sea salt together.
  3. Getting the Tempering Ready
    1. Set aside 3 tbsp of oil.
    2. Heat the rest of the oil.
    3. Add mustard seeds and wait till they crackle.
    4. Turn off the heat.
    5. Add curry leaves to the hot oil.
    6. Let the tempered oil cool to room temperature.
  4. Making the Bitter Gourd Pickle
    1. In a wide pan, heat 3 tbsp oil.
    2. Add the bitter gourd and stir-fry till they start to brown.
    3. To the tempered oil, add salt-tamarind powder, mustard-fenugreek powder, chilli powder, and turmeric.
    4. Mix well.
    5. Now add the fried bitter gourd pieces and mix well.
    6. Transfer to an air-tight container and let it pickle for 2-3 days. You can serve this Nilava Pachadi immediately, but it does taste much better after it has pickled for 2 or 3 days.
  5. Serve the pickle as a side to dal chawal or curd rice.
Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi | Bitter Gourd Pickle
Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi | Andhra Bitter Gourd Pickle

Recipe for Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi | Andhra Bitter Gourd Pickle | Karela Achar | Kakarakaya Avakaya

Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi | Bitter Gourd Pickle from Andhra Pradesh

Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi | Andhra Bitter Gourd Pickle

Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi is a traditional pickle made in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with Bitter Gourd or Karela. This has a long shelf-life and is served as a side to dal-chawal or curd rice.
Course Accompaniment, Chutney, Pickle
Cuisine Andhra Pradesh, Telangana

Ingredients
  

  • 250 gms Bitter Gourd, Kakarakaya, Karela

Spices

  • 3 tbsp Chilli Powder (~15 gms)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt/Rock Salt (~15 gms)
  • 2 tbsp Mustard Seeds, Avalu, Rai (~20 gms)
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek Seeds, Menthulu, Methi Dana (~3 gms)
  • 1 Small Lemon-sized ball Tamarind (~10 gms)

Other Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 8 to 10 Curry Leaves

Instructions
 

Getting the Bitter Gourd Ready

  • Ensure that the bitter gourd is dry. If needed, wipe it dry and then let it air-dry for an hour or so.
  • If you don't like the bitter taste, lightly scrape the skin off before slicing. I did not take the skin off.
  • Cut each bitter gourd vertically in half, and then cut each half into slices. You can slice into roundels as well.

Getting the Spices Ready

  • Dry roast the fenugreek seeds till they start to change colour.
  • Transfer to a plate and let them cool.
  • Grind the roasted fenugreek and mustard seeds to a coarse powder.
  • If the tamarind is damp or sticky, over low flame, dry roast on a pan till it is a bit dry.
  • Grind the tamarind and sea salt together.

Getting the Tempering Ready

  • Set aside 3 tbsp of oil.
  • Heat the rest of the oil.
  • Add mustard seeds and wait till they crackle.
  • Turn off the heat and add curry leaves to the hot oil.
  • Let the tempered oil cool completely to room temperature.

Making the Bitter Gourd Pickle

  • In a wide pan, heat 3 tbsp oil.
  • Add the bitter gourd and stir-fry till they start to brown.
  • Transfer the pieces to a plate and let them cool completely.
  • Mix together the cooled tempered oil, salt-tamarind powder, mustard-fenugreek powder, chilli powder, and turmeric.
  • Now add the fried and cooled bitter gourd pieces and mix well.
  • Transfer to an air-tight bottle and let it pickle for 2-3 days. You can also serve this Nilava Pachadi immediately, but I like it better after it has pickled for 2 or 3 days.
  • Serve the pickle as a side to dal chawal or curd rice.
Keyword Bitter Gourd Pickle, Kakarakaya Nilava Pachadi, Kakarakaya Pachadi, Karela Achar

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