October 04, 2006

Pavakka Curry/ Biitergourd with Yogurt

I am hoping to entice the guests at the Weekend Herb Blogging, the event created by Kalyn's Kitchen, to go beyond the norm and try South Indian food. This week of WHB is hosted by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast.
Bitter gourds are very popular in Asia and most people either like it immensely or dislike it unreasonably. As you can see, I fall into the former category, hoarding bitter gourd recipes in every form and taste. Bitter gourd or bitter melon is highly regarded for its medicinal properties in Asia but is slow in getting recognition in the Western World.
This curry made with bitter gourd, yogurt and coconut milk tastes best with rice with a stir fried vegetable and fried fish on the side.
You will need:
Bitter gourd- 2 big ones.
Green Chilies- 5 vertically slit
Tomato- 1 small one cut into 4 pieces
Onion- 1 small one sliced
Red chili powder-3/4 tsp
Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder(Dhania)-1tsp
Coconut Milk Powder- 5 tbsp mixed with 1 cup water (or 1 cup coconut milk)
Yogurt- 1cup
Salt to taste
Oil- 2 tbsp
For seasoning:

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Cumin (Jeera)-1tsp
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Canola oil-1 tbsp

1. Scrape the outer projections on the bittegourd and slice the bitter gourd into thin rounds. Sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and 1 tbsp yogurt and let it sweat for 10 minutes. Squeeze the pieces and wash them well to remove extra salt and the bitterness. If you like the bitterness, skip this step. If you are using Chinese bittter gourd or bitter melon, which is light green and bulbous in shape, it is not as bitter so you can directly fry it.
2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil and shallow fry the bitter gourd rounds on medium heat till slightly crisp. Not very crisp. Then add the onions and green chilies and sauté for a couple of minutes.
3. Lower the heat and add the chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric and 1 tablespoon water. Fry for a while till the powders get cooked and then add the tomato and salt. Cook for a minute and add ½ cup water and 1 cup coconut milk. If the coconut milk is thin, then reduce the quantity of water. Vary the quantity of chili powder and green chilies as per taste. My recipes tend to be on the slightly spicier side, so be warned.
4. Check the salt and liquidity of the curry and add more salt and water if needed. Take it off the flame and do not let it come to a full boil. After it cools down, add 1 cup beaten yogurt.
5. Tempering: Heat the oil in a small wok/pan and as it heats up, add mustard seeds and cover till it tops sputtering.Reduce the heat and add the curry leaves and cumin. Pour the flavored oil over the curry.
Serve with hot steamed white rice.


archana said...

Loved the photo, you have catured all the goodness of this curry in it. THnak you for the recipe,i think i have everything in stock to try this one out.

gattina said...

Bittergourd is one of my favorite veg! More bitter-er, more merrier!
Shaheen, please feel free to blog about your porotta based on my scallion cake recipe. I'm glad that you tried and like it :D

Meena Kandlakuti said...

bitter gourd is good for health..but always has to escape due to its bitter taste..this recipe sounds delicious..a must try..when i will try i will let u know.Thanks for sharing

Jayashree said...

Thx for the recipe Shaheen....looks good.

indosungod said...

Shaheen, this is new recipe I have never tasted this one. Looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

i don't make pavakka much, as hubby's philosophy is 'there r so many vegs, so why do i have to eat one that is bitter?' but i lov it.
if just deep fried my kids also eat it.
do u hav the recipe for stuffed ones?
really nice that all traditional kerala recipes are being documented.

Shaheen said...

Archana: Do let me know if you like it. Thanks for the sweet compliment.:)
Gattina: I shall be blogging abt both versions soon.
Meena: I love bittergourd and any curry with it.Thanks and do try.

Shaheen said...

Jayshree: This is one of my mother in law's recipes, now part of my curries.
Indo, I didn't get any bittergourds this year. I still have ur 3 recipe post on high alert.:(

Shaheen said...

ki, Here thankfully hub loves it so I am free to experiment with it.Sure will post the filled version too.But do u mean the northie style?

Prema Sundar said...

This recipe is new to me too.I too dont make pavakka much and know only one or two ways to make it.This recipe of urs sounds interesting and is it true that adding curd to pavakka will reduce its bitterness?... thanks for the recipe.

Annita said...

I cant wait to try this one,Shaheen..Looks so good..!!Thanks

Krithika said...

This is such a great recipe Shaheen. I love pavakkai. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Lovely pic !

Foodie's Hope said...

Beautiful photo,looks yummy!! I am hungry now for some of that !!Thanks Shaheen!

karina said...

I love to make soups with coconut milk and yogurt. But I am not familiar with "bittergourd". I wonder what we might call it here in the States?

Shaheen said...

Prema: Yes adding yogurt to the pavakka reduces it bitterness.I have no reasoning, just experience from watching a friend do it that way.

Annita: Glad you feel like trying it.

Krithika:Thanks and hope u like it.

Asha: I would have sent some but no liquids allowed on flights.

Karina: Sorry for not explaining fully. I have added a photo and description of the bittermelon or bitter gourd as we call it. This may be too strong in flavors to qualify as a soup but it tastes wonderful with steamed rice.Hope you will try it.

rp said...

Pavakka is my husband's favorite. I eat it as if I am eating a medicine. This curry looks heavenly. I might try it soon.

Ruth said...

Thanks for sharing. For me in Toronto, Ontario Canada, the bittergourd is brand new. I'll have to trek to some Asian markets around town to try to find some. Then I'll let you know which camp I fit into.

Check back for the WHB roundup on Monday.

Kalyn said...

I've never tried this and I haven't seen it for sale here, but perhaps at the Asian markets. We do have a good Indian store too, but they don't have too much produce. Your photo makes it look delicious. I do wish I could taste it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shaheen,

Loved the photo and was tempted to try it. It was really superb; my husband, my dad and I enjoyed it very much. Next time, I might stir fry the Karela slices somemore to make them bit more crispy. The taste was heavenly. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.


Shaheen said...

KAlyn:thanks a lot and I do wish you had an asian grocery store there. Where in Utah are you?

Shaheen said...

Anju:Stir frying the pavakka is good. i like the slightly less crispy version, but innovate any way to suit ur tastes..Thats waht cooking is all about .Thanks a lot.

rra said...

Hi Shaheen,

Thanks for the recipe...it was awesome...we loved it...just one thing though, the pavakka still tasted bitter...maybe I put little less salt and little less curds...will try again next time...btw...wat is the authentic indian name for this? Radha

Shaheen said...

RRA: Thanks for trying.My curry does taste a bit bitter, but I don't mind it. You could try two things to reduce bitterness.. 1.like u said, more salt nad curds and squeeze it nicely and wash well.
2. fry the pavakka till crisp instead of a saute and then it tases less bitter. Hope it helps.

Anonymous said...

the pavakka curry was a super hit with all at home especially with my fussy husband. will make pavakka in future like this only.great & thanks a million.keep blogging u r super recipes & photos.

Sneha said...

Came here thru deepann, I tried your bittergourd curry, its the best BG curry I've had!!! Thanks for and awesome recipe!

Anonymous said...

Tried this curry. It's quite different. It's good. My toddler loved it too. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

hey shaheen,

a recipe for kaipakka..
mustard seeds,chopped onion,urad dal,curry leaves,dry red chilli cut ,oil,bitter gourd,turmeric powder,green chilli slit

heat oil,put in mustrad and urad dal..when mustrad splutters add curry leaves and red chilli then add chopped onion and green chilli..saute till it onion becomes translucent,then add turmeric powdersaute once again,then add the finely chopped bitter gourd..by finely chopped i mean kothi nurukkiya kaippaka and salt...keep turning over till the bitter gourd becomes brownish in colour...it tastes yumy with hot rice,and moru crry,pappadam and kanni manag achar..

at home they make kaipakka also with chakka kuru ...and also kaipakka and valiya ulli...

the above recipe can also be used for brinjal and okra upperi..the diff being the way the vegies are cut...okra is cut into rounds and brinjal into squares..both small ones..this recipe needs oil


Anonymous said...

Tried this curry & loved it. Now its once a week affair at our place. Thanks for sharing. Love the photo too!!

lushaz said...

this is a FAB recipe! i have almost becum an expert in it by now as i have made it more than 5 times ever since i set my eyes on this recipe a month back!!

only thing is i add the pavaykka after the tomato n the powders turn into a rich paste. then the steps are pretty much the same!!

thx...looking forward to more lipsmacking recipes! my husband always loves this vegetable!

Suma said...

Hi Shaheen,

Your pic is so tempting! i have made this curry umpteen times already! thumbs-up to your recipe.

Anonymous said...

superb...thnx a ton for ths recipe...