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

Beerakaya Gasala Kura

Ridge Gourd in Poppy Seed Sauce:

Poppy Seeds (Gasa Gasalu, Khus Khus)

The tiny, cream colored poppy seeds are a must have thing in many Indian kitchens. In Andhra, in addition to sesame and peanuts, poppy seeds are also used extensively both in sweets and in savory preparations. When added to sweets like payasam, bhakshalu and to laddus etc, they offer a nice, nutty texture and crunchy contrast.

When it comes to savory – poppy seeds are lightly toasted first and ground to prepare creamy sauces for curries. Nut like, with a subtle, soothing flavor and rich taste, it’s impossible not to like poppy seed sauce. Plus it’s low calorie when compared to nut based sauces.

Both vegetables and meat are cooked in spice flavored poppy seed sauce. The most popular being, ridge gourd (beerakaya), green brinjal (Poluru Vankaya) , potato and chicken. My mother prepares a terrific ridge gourd curry in poppy seed sauce called “Beerakaya Gasala Kura”. Here is my mother’s recipe.

………..Poppy Seed Powder Shaped to Round Ball ………………….Ridge Gourd……………..


2 fresh, firm looking ridge gourds
Peel the outer ridges and the skin lightly. Wash, and remove both ends. Cut ridge gourd to small, bite sized pieces. – about 5 cups.

For Poppy Seed Paste:
¼ cup poppy seeds – in a hot skillet, toast them lightly. Remove to a spice grinder. Grind to smooth without adding water. (It takes at least 5 minutes to grind poppy seeds to fine consistency like shown in the above photo.)

4 green chillies, one garlic clove and one teaspoon of grated ginger – Grind them to smooth in a mortar or in a blender.
¼ tsp each – salt and turmeric
¼ tsp each – cumin, mustard seeds and few curry leaves.

In a wide skillet, heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add ridge gourd pieces. Stir in the poppy seed powder along with green chilli-garlic-ginger paste, salt and turmeric. Add about quarter cup of water. Mix thoroughly. Cover the pot and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring in-between. Ridge gourd cooks fast and when the sauce starts to thicken, turns off the heat. Serve warm with sorghum roti or with chapati.

Apply same method, but replace ridge gourd with banana pepper/ brinjal /potato/chicken to cook terrific tasting poppy seed based curries.

Beerakaya Gasala Kura with Ragi Roti ~ Our Meal Today and My Entry to RCI~Andhra Event

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd),Poppy Seeds (Tuesday May 22, 2007 at 7:38 pm- permalink)
Comments (29)

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29 comments for Beerakaya Gasala Kura »

  1. Hi Indira,

    I have been visiting your blog for quiet a long time but never posted any comment eventhough . I really love the way you present the recipes. I never heard of Beerakaya with gasa gasalu, sounds like an interesting combination I will definetly give it a try. Keep up the good work.


    Comment by Vandana — May 22, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

  2. Hey Indira, poppy seeds are my favourite , I havent heard this though. Will give it a try cos i love beerakaya and sorakaya

    Comment by Deepika Saripalli — May 22, 2007 @ 9:13 pm

  3. hmm yum tasty curry.i have never used this amount of poppy seeds…

    Comment by Roopa — May 23, 2007 @ 12:48 am

  4. Indira, that is a lot of Poppy seeds. The curry looks fantastic.
    Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine will fail her drug test – all because of a Poppy seed Muffin.
    Were you intoxicated the whole day? Just kidding… But kidding aside does it make you drowsy?

    Comment by indosungod — May 23, 2007 @ 4:11 am

  5. That looks really delicious Indira!

    Comment by Latha — May 23, 2007 @ 6:38 am

  6. Is this good? I mean can we have this much poppy seeds?

    Comment by InjiPennu — May 23, 2007 @ 8:05 am

  7. InjiPennu:

    According to this calorie site — — there are about 140 fat calories in 1/4 cup of poppy seeds.

    That’s approximately the calorie count of a single tablespoon of vegetable oil.

    So, enjoy. 🙂

    Comment by Joe Grossberg — May 23, 2007 @ 8:15 am

  8. indira:

    Sorry about the double-comment; your spam filter is acting strangely.

    When I tried the first one, it took a while to load and then prompted me with a broken captcha image. 🙁

    I removed the link in the second one, thinking it would help (it did, except with the speed issue).

    Indira replies:
    Hi Joe, outside links in comments usually make spam karma go crazy. Sorry about that. I retrieved your first comment and published it.

    Comment by Joe Grossberg — May 23, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  9. Hi Indira, that is a unique way to make beerakaya kura. I made your banana pepper in poppy seed curry and my husband and I loved it. I’m sure we are going to like this combo too. Will definitely try and let you know. Thanks for sharing and great entry to RCI-Andhra.

    Comment by Pavani — May 23, 2007 @ 9:07 am

  10. Thanks Joe. No, It is not about calories 🙂 . I thot you were not supposed to have this much poppy seeds?

    Comment by InjiPennu — May 23, 2007 @ 10:45 am

  11. great website –
    was wondering what camera you use for such beautiful pics!

    Comment by richa — May 23, 2007 @ 12:01 pm

  12. nice pics ….great entry for RCI -Andhra ….

    Comment by Deepa — May 23, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

  13. I love my poppy seeds on my Gujju Churma Ladoos! 🙂

    I did try a curry made with a poppy seed base at a Bengali friend’s home, it was “Alu-Poshto”, I think….and that nutty flavor is what makes it a delight…this one looks great with one of my favorites- Turias.

    Comment by Trupti — May 23, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

  14. Hello Indira,

    I was wondering if you could please post recipe for the Ragi Roti that you made. I am sure this kura tastes great with it. Thanks

    Comment by Sapna — May 23, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

  15. hello Indira, great looking food. I was wondering if some other veggies work in this recipe, I cannot find ridge gourd always, here in Canada. yes, I want the recipe for raagi roti too. Thanx

    Comment by Bindu — May 23, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

  16. HI indira..very nice recipe.I add poppy seeds in aloo kurma. It taste great.Your looks intresting.Thanks for sharing

    Comment by meena kandlakuti — May 23, 2007 @ 4:32 pm

  17. Spectacular photography!

    I love the harmony and that innate calm radiance in your photos.

    Beautiful work Indira.

    Comment by Beth — May 23, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

  18. In Hyderabad there is a popular recipe with a little variation. After the poppy seed are ground into smooth paste you add fresh grated coconut and raw chopped onions and grind but not so smooth. This forms the gravy and suits well for beera kaia, potla kai(snake gourd) and bell pepper.

    Comment by Suren — May 23, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

  19. Hi Indira,I just finished eating a bobatlu,it was so so delicious.I called my mum home and told her that i made too:)coz i was so happy it came out well.I have always shied away from making it,thinking that I may get the channa mixture wrong!Its my first time making and the whole process went on so smooth,thanks to your clear cut instructions.

    Comment by sumitha — May 24, 2007 @ 7:01 am

  20. This looks lovely Indira! Khus khus is so magical. As for Joe’s question…isnt a little drowsy/dopey good? We live in a crazy world, anything to make it more livable 😉 😛

    Also- thought you’d like to know that when one clicks on the strawberry-mango link on the top right corner and goes to the strawberry -mango recipes page (and after drooling over and dreaming about all the wonderful stuff there), when one clicks back on your most recent posts that are still visible in the side bar (gasala koora, guggulu etc), one gets a “Sorry, no posts matched your enquiry” message.
    I dont mean to always be the bringer of blog worries …

    Comment by AA — May 24, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

  21. Indira,
    Is narcotic poppy different? I was searching the internet and it says khas khas is the same poppy. There is no harm in consuming, but eating 4 bagels sprinkled with poppy it says can give you a poisitive drug test?
    I am totally confused now. Is our India poppy different from the poppy sprinkled in breads etc?

    Comment by InjiPennu — May 24, 2007 @ 2:10 pm

  22. “Eating poppy seeds will result in positive drug test.” This is one of the myths floating around in corporate America and on sitcoms like “Seinfeld”. The truth is the poppy seeds we use in our cooking won’t cause any such effects.

    Comment by Madhavi — May 24, 2007 @ 4:47 pm

  23. Vandana, thanks for your kind words about Mahanandi. I appreciate it.
    If you try this recipe, please let me know how you like it. THnaks.

    Poppy seeds taste great with beerakaya, Deepika.

    Hi ISG: The quantiy of poppy seeds that I mentioned for this recipe was quarter cup = 4 tablespoons. The quantity is for 5 cups of ridge gourd pieces. The curry came about 4 servings for us. That means 1 tablespoon per one serving. How is that “a lot”?
    About drowsiness – no, I wasn’t intoxicated nor drowsy. I was able to write and publish this post. Also able to feel emotion when I saw your comment. So there you go.

    Thanks Latha.

    Inji: The amount that I used in this recipe falls under normal. No side effects, nothing. Really. we regularly use them in cooking in Andhra. Like in this recipe or in combination of coconut and tomatoes for gravies both vegetables and chicken.
    If cooking type poppy seeds are really like narcotic poppy, then we won’t be able to buy them in Indian grocery shops. The owners would be behind bars and poppy seeds would be underground high-priced commodity.
    About drug test- I am sure there are lot of substances, which produce false opium like results. Anyway, why should we worry about that?

    Hi Joe: Thanks for the link.

    Pavani: I remember your first comment on Banana pepper curry. How time flies by.:)

    Richa: Thanks and I use Nikon D70s.

    Thanks Deepa.

    Churma laddus. Yum.:)
    I remember reading about “aloo poshto” at Bong Mom’s Cookbook, Trupti.

    I will, one of these days. Thanks Sapna.

    Me too, Meena. Potatoes in poppyseeds gravy, is a great combination.

    Thanks Beth!

    Hi Suren, thanks for sharing Hyderabad version.

    Sumitha: Wow! Congratulations on preparing this classic sweet. Now you’ve made me crave for bobbatlu. 🙂

    Recently we upgraded the WordPress theme and that created some issues. I have to look for the code to change it to back. God, where is that drowsiness causing poppy? 🙂

    Comment by Indira — May 24, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  24. Hello Indira,
    I like the taste of poppy seeds and sure they make a great difference when added to a kurma or a payasam.This idea of making a curry using poppy sauce is quite interesting.I have never tasted a ridge gourd before.I am gonna try ur recipe for sure.

    Comment by hema — May 24, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

  25. Hi Indira, This is so similar to a authentic bengali dish that I couldn’t help but be amazed. I have grown up eating the Jhinge-Poshto (dish with poppy seeds and ridge gourds, onion, potato) or alu-poshto, or piyaz-poshto almost twice every week. It was my favorite dish! I absolutely have to try this version. Thanks!

    Comment by Spee — May 24, 2007 @ 9:19 pm

  26. I’m sorry…my comment was in response to Indisungod’s comment…not Joe’s…I was drowsy!! 😀

    Comment by AA — May 24, 2007 @ 11:14 pm

  27. Indira,
    I tried this recipe last week. Its really excellent. Its a great hit at our home. I served it with rice and mango avakai pickle. My mouth was watering just at the thought of it. Thanks a lot for the great recipe!

    Comment by Nirmala — June 12, 2007 @ 3:44 am

  28. Dear Indira,

    A paste with poppy seeds – something I always like in special curries and rice dishes. I enjoy adding it as a paste and also as a powder. Never tried it with ridgegourd though – sounds so interesting. As always you have given a great recipe with clear instructions. The peanut oil would give this a special taste.

    Comment by pritya — June 28, 2007 @ 2:32 am

  29. Hi Indira,
    I love your recipes and ur photos are awesome. I wanted to try this curry from a long time and finally did it last week. It came out very well.
    Thanks for posting all the wonderful recipes.

    Comment by Mythrayee — November 14, 2009 @ 12:21 am

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