Bitter Gourd stir fry (Paavakkai Thoran)

If you happen to have any Kerala friends or happen to visit Kerala, this dish will be a part of any keralate family. Yes its Paavakai Thoran. My aunty is very good in cooking kerala dishes. During my college days, especially in weekends,I will go to my aunty's house in Trichy. Yummm !! I can always admire to taste a flavour of Kerala style  dishes especially Chakka pradaman, Neypathiri, olan curry and Kalan kootu. This recipe Paavakai Thoran is one of her signature recipes. I found this recipe from my little hand book which I scribbled before marraige. I never expect bitter gourd (Paavakai) will taste such yummy.(Usually I avoid cooking paavakai because of its bitter taste). From Yesterday (after trying this recipe & came out yummy), I decided to make Bitter gourd in part of my cooking journey. 

Most importantly Bitter gourd helps to increase appetite. Bitter gourd juice helps to maintain sugar levels in our body and its a good immune booster.As well it cleanses blood from toxins & cleanse the liver. It has excellent source of VItamin B1, B2, B3 and C, Manganese, folate and high dietary fiber. Try this excellent recipe at home and your comments are always welcome. 

Ingredients :

Bitter gourd (Paavakai) - 1 big
Onion - 1 or Shallots - 6
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Garlic pods - 2 (Optional)
Tamarind juice - 2 tbsp 
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Red chilli - 1 or 2 (Depends on taste)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Hing /Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 spring
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method :

Cut the bitter gourd into fine pieces. I prefer to use fleshy, green coloured paavakai instead of dark coloured ones. Remove the seeds & white skin from the center. In a pan add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of tamarind extract. Now add the chopped bitter gourd into it and let it soak for 15- 30 mins. This helps to reduce the bitterness of paavakai (Bitter gourd). (Instead soaking you can also boil it in salt + tamarind mixture for 5 mins). Once done, drain the water completely, wash & keep it aside.

Now dry roast the following things. In a pan, add cumin seeds, red chilli, Garlic pods,Ginger and curry leaves. Saute it till it become slight brown. Finally add the grated coconut and mix it well. Allow it to cool and once done, make it as a fine paste with 2 tbsp of water. Now the ground masala is ready.

In the pan, add oil, splutter mustard seeds,urad dhal. Saute shallots till golden brown. You can replace shallots with Onions incase if you dint get. Now add washed bitter gourd and turmeric powder. Add 1 cup of water and allow it to cook. Once it become soft, add the ground masala and 1/2 cup of water. Adjust the salt and add a pinch of hing. Let it cook till the masala gets evenly coated in the vegetable and make sure the water is getting absorbed & dried. Sprinkle some water if necessary to avoid it sticking in the bottom. The final consistency must be dry (Not too watery). Finally Garnish with curry leaves and serve hot with rice.

Enjoy the weekend with Yummy kerala recipe. Happy cooking !!


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