This is a very common dish in my house. You might all be knowing the health benefits of bitter gourd (karela in hindi). It is an excellent source of vitamin B1, B2, B3, C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorous, manganese, and has high dietary fiber. It is used in treating diabetics and is also a blood purifier. Combined with brown chick peas and tur dal, it is very tasty and you will not feel the bitterness. In authentic recipe, we use only brown chick peas but you can add any bean seed of your choice. Today we will learn how to make bitter gourd pitlai/pavakkai pitlai following this easy recipe with step wise pictures.
Heat a tsp of oil, fry coriander seeds, bengal gram, red chillies and raw rice. When dal turns slightly brown, add the coconut and fry well. After it cools, grind it to a smooth paste adding little water and keep it aside. If you use decicated coconut, you can powder the masala (do not add water) and store it in the refrigerator for a week.
Soak brown channa in water overnight or for 5-6 hours and pressure cook for 3 whistles or until soft.
Cut bitter gourd into rounds. You can use the seeds if they are tender otherwise discard it.
Pressure cook tur dal for 3 whistles. Once the pressure subsides, open the cooker and mash the dal well. You can keep the brown channa (kondai kadalai) and bitter gourd in a small cup along with tur dal and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
Soak tamarind in 1 1/2 cups of warm water and extract its juice. Discard the pulp.
Now we have the pitlai paste, cooked dal, channa, bitter gourd and tamarind extract ready. Now we will proceed to the method.
Heat 2 tsp of oil, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add fenugreek seeds, red chilli, asafoetida, curry leaves. Then add tamarind extract.
Add the cooked bitter gourd and channa.
Boil on medium flame until the raw smell of the tamarind goes.
Then add cooked tur dal, ground paste along with half a cup of water.
Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium flame until everything gets blended well. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice. The consistency should be thicker than sambar.
It is a very tasty and healthy accompaniment for rice.
Tips to remove bitterness from bitter gourd - If needed, after cutting the bitter gourds, add a little salt and keep it aside for 5 minutes. Then squeeze out the water to remove the bitterness of the vegetable though it is not necessary for this recipe.
Tips to save energy- While you pressure cook tur dal, keep bitter gourd and chick peas in a small vessel along with it. In this way, you can pressure cook all the three in one go and save time and fuel.
Tur dal should be cooked to a mush. If required, you can soak tur dal in hot water for 15-20 minutes before pressure cooking. By doing this tur dal gets cooked well and we can also save fuel.
Bitter gourd Recipes
Bitter gourd Curry
Bitter gourd chips
Stuffed Bitter gourd
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