Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bittergourd Two Times

Growing up, bittergourd was one of my favorite vegetables. Hey, I never claimed to be normal in any respect! I think my mother was shocked that I would relish it, but she could never bring herself to eat it. I still adore this gourd that gets so little respect, so when Pooja announced bittergourd for this month's VOTW, I was totally excited!!

I'm sharing two recipes here. One is my Amma's recipe for bittergourd fry that she used to make all the time at home and I just adore it. It's a very simple one that even Amma will eat! The other recipe is one that sort of came about in Amma telling me about something that my Anni (brother's wife) made recently with green bananas. I tweaked things around and a new dish was born. It's a beautiful baby, if I may say so myself!

Amma's Bittergourd Fry:

One thing to keep in mind is that the bittergourd amount will reduce dramatically in cooking them. 2 medium bittergourds will feed about 2-3 people as a side dish.

This particular dish is meant to be fairly spicy with the heat coming from green chillies and black pepper. It sounds so simple, but is absolutely delightful! You can soak the bittergourd in salt and squeeze it out, if you want, but we never do.


Bittergourd - 2 medium, chopped finely
Green chillies - 5-6
Black pepper powder - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

For seasoning:

Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 4-5 leaves


Heat oil in a pan. Season with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the green chillies and fry for a few seconds. Now, add the bittergourd pieces and salt to taste. Fry on medium heat until the bittergourd is cooked and crispy. Turn off and serve as a side dish. It goes really well with sambar, rasam, even non-veg dishes and curd rice. Enjoy!

Bittergourd Tamarind Masala:

This one involves cooking of the bittergourd with tamarind and then seasoning it with masala. Onions, tamarind, and a little sugar are used to compensate for the bitterness. Like I said, it's the first time I made this and I will definitely be making this again!!

The taste was out of this world! I adored the combination of the sourness with the spice and slightly bitter taste of the gourds. Simply fabulous!!


Bittergourd - 1 medium, chopped into large dice
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Tamarind - 1 gooseberry size, soaked in water and pulp extracted
Jaggery - 1 tsp, or to taste (optional, to balance the sourness)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder - 2 tsp, or to taste
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

For seasoning:

Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 4-5, torn


1. Place bittergourd in a pan with tamarind pulp, jaggery, a pinch of salt, and just enough water to cook the gourds. Cook until done and keep aside.

2. In another pan, heat oil until hot. Season with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

3. Add onions and fry until golden brown. Then, add the masala powders (turmeric, chilly, fennel powders) and fry for a few seconds until you smell their aroma.

4. Now, add the cooked bittergourd and salt to taste. Saute on high heat until the masala has coated the bittergourds well and the flavors have come together. If it looks too dry, add a touch of water. Turn off and serve.

You can serve this as a side dish or a main dish. It is just too good mixed with rice!!

Also, vary the consistency to your liking. You can certainly make it thinner for more of a gravy consistency as well. Enjoy!!

I am sending both of these delicious dishes to dear Pooja. I hope she enjoys these as much as I do!


Archy said...

Great entry Kalai with bitter gaourd.. Lovely pics :) !!

Cham said...

Tamarind is the key ingredient to cut the bitter taste. Beautiful recipes Kalai.

indosungod said...

Both the recipes are fantastic. Yes! yes you either love bitter gourd or hate it, there is no in between.

kamala said...

I like the bittergourd tamarind masala.sure i will try.

Dhivya said...

wow!great recipes!mom recipes r always best right???

Sagari said...

nice recipes thanks for sharing kalai

Kalai said...

Archana, thank you, dear! :)

Cham, you are so right about tamarind! :)

Thanks, Indo! :)

Look forward to your feedback, Kamala! :)

So true, so true, Dhivya! :)

Thanks for the kind words, Sagari! :)

Madhavi said...

Great recipe kalai, looks very tempting, lovely entry!!!

Homecooked said...

Both dishes look great Kalai.I am like you mom....cant stand bitter gourd :)

Pravs said...

i like bittergourd too :D Both dishes look good to try.I cook a tamarind based one too.Bitterness is so low in that preparation. But then i love the bitterness :)

Rina said...

Kalai, this is absolutely...delicious...the pictures look so tempting.. and i love the first serving dish too. Puli pota Pavakai yennakku romba pidikkum. Thanks da. Bookmarked dear.

Revathi said...

Both the pavakai curries look great. Man you are not at allll normal atleast as far as I know you!!!

Puthandu nalvazthukkal..

Uma said...

mmm. two bittergourd recipes? both looks fantastic, Kalai! Perfect combination of the ingredients. I like the lovely plate too.

Kelly Mahoney said...

Great recipes, thanks for sharing!

TBC said...

I've never liked this vegetable but your version with tamarind makes me want to give this a shot.:)

Kalai said...

Madhavi, thanks!

Homecooked, you could try the bittergourd fry recipe. Nice one for die hard haters! :)

Pravs, I also love bitterness. Would love to try your version, too! :)

Rina, thanks for the sweet words! Samaithu paarthaal, sollunga. :)

Revathi, like I said, I never claim to be normal!! :)

Kalai said...

Uma, thank you, dear! :)

Kelly, welcome to my blog! Am glad you liked the recipes. :)

TBC, hope you try it and would love to hear your feedback! :)

Happy cook said...

I always dislike this vegetable. Maybe because as kids my mom used to force us kids to eat this saying they were so healthy.
So when i grew up i didn't touch it aymore, but I have been seeing all these delicious looking dish of this veggie, i think i have to try them again.
Love to taste the one with tamarind

Cynthia said...

I love both dishes. Bittergourd is one of my favourite veggies too. I will definitely try it with the tamarind, ummmmm bitter and sour: delicious!

Meera said...

Looks awesome. Both of them. The tamarind one especially is making me hungry! :-) Wonderful entry.

Sig said...

Wow two more delicious bittergourd recipes to try... It is my favorite veggie... and I hate squeezing out the bitterness too, though I have done it once for Siv... I love it in all its bitter glory :)

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Both the dishes looks YUM!..... Nice way to make people eat Bittergourd..... Love them....

Kalai said...

Happy cook, tamarind definitely helps to cut the bitterness. Hope you try it! :)

Cynthia, thanks so much. Look forward to your feedback! :)

Meera, thank you, dear! :)

Sig, you are definitely a girl after my own heart! I adore bittergourd in all its bitterness, too. :)

Sukanya, thanks for the kind words! :)

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Beutiful post & lovely ceramic...very nice indeed. There is magic in your whites Kalai!!

ANJALI J. said...

So how was the celebration? :)

Sumi said...

HI Kalai, at ur blog for the first time, great bitterguard recipes.BTW loved those ceramic ones too...:)