Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu (Bitter Gourd in Tamarind Sauce)
I had made this recipe and clicked the pics a while ago but never managed to write it up. Was reading another post by a friend where she had mentioned how bitter gourd was one of the unpopular vegetables in many households. I then got reminded of this recipe. While I do not always get bitter gourd where I live, I can only relish the pictures for now. As the name suggests it is a bitter vegetable and full of goodness. Some may wonder why god didnotgive a better look and taste to such a bundle of goodness. I love it though. I find it a pleasant change to have something bitter and especially with this recipe, I get lot more flavours added. Bittergourd contains vitamin A, B1, B2 and C. It contains more potassium than banana and is said to purify blood tissue. It grows in hot and humid places and hence not well known in the western world.
Here is my way of making this dish. Sorry about the main picture, I could not resist eating it and got to click only the left over
2 bitter gourds, deseed and cut into small semicircular pieces
2 green chillies
1 teaspoon tamarind paste (adjust according to your taste and strength of your paste)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon channa dal
2 teaspoons sambar powder
½ teaspoon red chilly powder (optional)
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon crushed jaggery (optional)
In a pan, heat less than teaspoon cooking oil. Add mustard seeds and after it crackles, add channa dal followed by turmeric powder and asafoetida. Wait for the dal to start browning.
Add the bittergourd and the tamarind paste. Add enough water to cover the gourd and cook until the gourds are done.
Add the sambar powder, red chilly powder and top up some water if needed.
Allow it to boil for about five minutes and then add jaggery. You could dissolve the jaggery in little water and filter it and add that water as well. Add salt and boil to achieve desired consistency.
Serve hot with rice.
Usually anything naturally bitter is meant to be so. Try not to do too much about the bitterness as the bitterness actually triggers certain digestive juices essential. You could mix some salt and turmeric to the bitter gourd and leave it for 15-30 minutes before cooking. This may make it more palatable for some.