Friday, June 4, 2010

Pavakkai Curry(Bittermelon Curry)


Bitter Melon, also known as Balsam pear is a truly unique and bitter ingredient that is not yet well known in the United States. It is used widely in Indian cuisine, lot of people peel the upper portion to reduce the bitterness. But this bitterness is so good for health and recent researches have shown it stimulates the production of insulin and recommends a regular intake of this vegetable.

The following recipe is slightly bitter and i haven’t added any sugar or jaggery to reduce the bitterness. You cook a bitter vegetable and what do you expect sweet taste? So enjoy this slightly bitter dish.

Preparation Time – 5 Minutes

Cooking Time – 25 Minutes

Serves – 4


Bitter Melon/Karela/Pavakkai – 3 big ones

Salt – 1 Tsp or to taste

Tamarind – Gooseberry sized ball

Turmeric powder – 1/2 Tsp

Asafoetida powder – pinch


Oil – 2 Tsp

Red chili – 1 or 2 as per your taste

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Split Urad Dal – 1 Tsp

Curry leaves – few

Grated Coconut – 2 Tbsp


1) Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of warm water

2) Wash, rinse and cut the karela into 1/2 inch circles, if the seeds are very matured remove it and then cut it otherwise if they are tender no need to discard it.

3) Add salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida powder to the chopped karela pieces.Squeeze out the tamarind pulp from the soaked tamarind. Add this tamarind water to the karela and boil it till the karela becomes tender and also all the water evaporates.

If the vegetable has become tender, and water is still left out filter out all the water and please do not discard it. May be like a medicine gulp it down to get its wonderful health benefit.

4) Make sure not to overcook the vegetable otherwise you will get a paste when sauteing.

5) Heat a pan, add a tsp of oil and then add mustard seeds. Once the seeds top spluttering add urad dal and curry leaves. After the urad dal slightly browns, add the cooked karela and saute for a few minutes and add the grated coconut and saute for a few seconds and switch off.

6) Enjoy!!


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