Bitter gourd is not everyone’s favourite vegetable but I like it. Amma makes kulambu, poriyal and this simple thokku. Everything goes well with rice,idly and dosa. This thokku is an ultimate combo with curd rice. Temperatures have gone high and no one wants to spend time in the kitchen preparing elaborate meals. Also this stays in the fridge for about one week. This saves your weekday lunch plans, make some curd rice and pack it with the pavakkai thokku and thank me later! Jaggery compensates the bitterness and no it won’t be that bitter as you fear.
What you need:
- Bitter gourd – 2
- Garlic – 3 pods (optional)
- Curry leaves – few
- Sambar powder – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Jaggery – 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Tamarind juice or pulp – 3 to 4 tbsp
- Gingely oil or cooking oil
- Cut open the bitter gourd length-wise and remove the seeds. Cut into tiny pieces and keep aside.
- Heat gingely oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds. Let it splutter.
- Add bitter gourd, garlic, sambar powder, turmeric powder, curry leaves and little salt.
- Toss well until bitter gourd and garlic gets coated with the masala powders.
- When the bitter gourd is half-cooked, add little water, tamarind pulp,jaggery and little more salt.
- Cover and cook until the oil separates or the bitter guard gets completely cooked.
- Serve hot or store in an air-tight container in the fridge if using later.
The recipe reminds me of my parents’ vegetable garden. A few months back, there was a bitter gourd plant that started creeping out of the kitchen waste and it yielded more than 100 bitter gourds, no kidding! Now, the situation is totally reversed and there are no vegetable plants in the garden. Let us hope for more rains and people learn to use the available water effectively.
Have a good week!