Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Bitter Gourd Curry (Karela/Kakara Kaaya Kura)

Bitter gourds, true to their name, are bitter and just like any bitter, sour things, they are an acquired taste. My mother’s recipe pairs the bitter gourd with jaggery and red chilli powder; the result is a sweet and sour, lip smacking good, bitter gourd curry. She made it impossible for us kids to hate this vegetable, really, who can resist a sweet and sour combination paired with hot, hot rice and ghee. Clever woman, she is.

Indian Bitter Gourd, Karela, kaakara kaaya

4 to 6 fresh, good looking Indian variety bitter gourds (karela, kakara kaya)
( This recipe works only with karela, not good with chinese bittergourds. To know the difference, check the link)
½ to 1 cup powdered jaggery
½ tsp of red chilli powder
½ tsp of salt
A pinch or ¼ tsp of turmeric
For popu or tadka
½ tsp of mustard seeds, cumin and few curry leaves

karela pieces, jaggery and red chilli powder

Wash the bitter gourds (karela) and peel the outer rugged skin of each one. Cut into half. If you see white, kind of dried out seeds, they are good for consumption, proceed and cut them into bite sized pieces, including the seeds (They taste nutty and crunchy, add them as whole or cut them into pieces). If you see red colored seeds, the gourd is very mature and tastes impossibly bitter, so it is better to throw the whole thing away.

In a pan, heat one teaspoon of oil, splutter the mustard seeds, cumin and curry leaves. Add the cut bitter gourd pieces. Cover and cook them in their own moisture for about 5 to 8 minutes or until they are tender to touch. When you are sure that the pieces are tender, then only add the powdered jaggery, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and one tablespoon of water. (Jaggery prevents further cooking of vegetable, so make sure the pieces are tender before adding jaggery.)

Mix them up thoroughly, cover and let them cook for about another 10 to 15 minutes on medium-low heat. In between sprinkle some water, taste and adjust the seasoning, add more jaggery if you think it’s needed. Jaggery melts and coats the bitter gourd pieces and ten minutes of simmering turns the melted jaggery into a gooey, thick, brown caramel like sauce.

Serve this gold colored, sweetly bitter, delicious curry with hot rice and some ghee.

Indian Bitter Gourd (Karela, kaakara kaaya) Curry

Bitter Gourd (karela, Kaakara kaaya) Curry.

Recipe Source: Amma

You can also find different and more recipes with bitter gourd (karela) by other fabulous Indian food bloggers –Manisha and Gini.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Jaggery,Kakara Kaya(Bitter Gourd) (Thursday October 27, 2005 at 7:09 pm- permalink)
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