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-- Latha Kishore

Bittergourd Gravy (Karela, kaakarkaya, paavakaa or Haagalkay Gojju)

Number of servings: 4

This dish is an easy and tasty dish that can be made in a jiffy. I owe thanks to my mom-in-law for teaching me how to make these kind of easy quick dishes that are a great blessing when I am pressed for time but yet craving something very Indian.  

List of ingredients:
6 in number bittergourd (kaakarkaya, paavakaa, haagalkay, karela)  
2 tbsp oil  
1/2 cup finely chopped onion  
1 tsp mustard seeds  
1 tsp curry leaves  
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)  
1 tsp salt (or to taste)  
For the Masala:
1 cup grated fresh cocunut  
1 tsp red chilli powder  
1 tsp dhaniya powder (coriander seed powder)  
1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves  
3 cloves garlic  

Cooking procedure
Method: First chop the karelas (bittergourd) lengthwise. Remove the seeds from the insides and dispose them off. You can make this dish with the seeds, however the seeds are very bitter and spoil the taste of the dish. Then chop the karelas into small cubes. Add the turmeric powder and 2 cups of water and pressure cook in a pressure cooker for 1 whistle. Cool. Meanwhile, grind all the ingredients for the masala with about1/2 to 1 cup of water into a smooth paste. In a pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. After they splutter add the curry leaves and chopped onions. Saute the onions until they are light brown. Then add the ground masala paste, salt and a pinch of turmeric. Cover with a lid and cook for about 6 minutes. Then add the boiled karela (bittergourd) and mix well. Cook for about 10 more minutes. Add half cup of water if the gravy is too thick. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves and serve hot with rice and papad.
Storage tips:
Tastes best when fresh.

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