BITTER GOURD (KARELA) CURRY / HAGALAKAYI GOJJU (MENASKAI)
Here i m today with one of the most hated Veggie - Bitter Gourd. The bitter gourd haters may feel shocked to know I infact love this gourd in any avatar .Before bitter gourd haters run away seeing today's post , i tell you today's recipe is worth a try. " Bitter Gourd Curry " can be made in N number of ways , out of which today i have for you all the Authentic Karnataka way of making " Bitter Gourd Curry / Hagalkai Gojju ". In coastal Karnataka its known as " Hagalkayi Menaskai " .It has a special taste, a combination of sweet, tangy, spicy and a light touch of bitterness.
My granny was a diabetic and as all are aware Bitter Gourd is very good for diabetes. So bitter gourd was cooked often at home and as far as i remember i didn't have fuss eating them then too.I actually feel surprised when people say they just hate bittergourd. I think that's purely because they either don't know how to cook bitter gourd or have a misconception that since the veggie has been named so, it has to be bitter . You can see health benefits of Bitter gourd here , so that all those self confessed bitter gourd hater out there would be inspired to give this veggie a try . The dish i am sharing today is one of the classic dishes from Bitter gourd. Bitter, sweet,sour and spice blends together to make this dish very appetizing . A perfect side dish be it with rice,chapathi,dosa ,idly etc.It is also one of the common dishes that you can find in Karnataka brahmins function. The method of making this is same as pineapple curry i had shared before.
Here goes the recipe..
BITTER GOURD CURRY
For Grinding (Masala)
For Tempering :
- Wash the bitter gourd, cut it lengthwise and remove all seeds. Chop it to small pieces.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to bitter gourd slices and mix well. Keep it aside for 30 to 40 mins. Bitter Gourd would have left some water. Discard it. Again sprinkle little water , mix and squeeze the bitter gourd slices with your hand. This helps to reduce the bitterness of bitter gourd.Soak tamarind in warm water.
- In a pan or vessel , add little oil.When its hot add turmeric and bittergourd pcs.Saute it for 4-5 mins. This step enhances the flavors from the veggie.
- Next to the sauteed bitter gourd pcs, add water ,salt,tamarind and jaggery.Close a lid and cook .
- Meanwhile in a small pan add few drops of oil.Add all the ingredients mentioned under masala except coconut and sesame.Roast them in medium low flame till red chillies becomes crisp and dal turns golden color.Add coconut to that and just saute it , may be for 1 min.Transfer all the ingredients to a mixer jar.
- Next,dry roast sesame seeds in the same pan till it turns golden. Add it to the mixer jar containing other roasted masala ingredients. Once its little cooled , add little water and make a very smooth paste.
- Add this ground paste to cooked bitter gourd and mix well.Cook this in a medium flame till the gravy starts boiling.
- Reduce the flame to sim, add a *tbsb of raw coconut oil and allow it to boil for another 8-10 mins. Stir in between.Let the gravy thicken. *REFER NOTESSeason with mustard,hing and curry leaves.Switch off .Serve Bitter gourd gojju hot / warm with plain Rice / roti / dosa / Idli .
- * The tip of adding raw coconut oil while boiling , i got it from a cook who is a regular in my home for all functions. He was right ,It takes it to a new level.Actually ,he adds more than a tbsp but atleast to go near to that taste i add just a tbsp. If you want you can increase the qty or omit it completely.
- *Another tip , the cook gave me was to boil this gravy well in a low flame. The more you boil the more tasty it becomes .The consistency also thickens. Boiling it well also increases its shelf life. It does not spoil for a week if refrigerated and stays good without fridge for 2 days.this also enhances the taste.
- You have to roast sesame seeds very well. if its raw this dish will turn flop.
- Basically this dish (menaskai) will be tangy ,sweet n spicy. So to get the authentic taste add more jaggery ,tamarind n chilli. But you can vary it depending on your pref.
- You can substitute bitter gourd with raw mango / pineapple /Hog plum/ dry raisins/ ladies finger/ Capsicum / orange peels.
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