Haagalakai/Bitter Gourd Palya

(Bitter Gourd Fry with Tamarind, Jaggary and Coconut)

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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 25-30 mins
Serves: 4-6
Recipe Source: MIL

2 medium Bitter Gourds, sliced length wise, seeds removed and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 medium lime sized Tamarind Pulp, soaked in ½ cup of hot water and juice extracted
2-3 tbsp Jaggary/Palm Sugar
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste

For Roasted Spices & Coconut Paste:
1-1½ tbsp White Sesame Seeds
½ tbsp Urad Dal/Split black Lentils
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2-4 Dry Red Chillies, halved (Adjust acc to taste)
½ cup fresh/frozen grated Coconut

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Dried Red Chilli, broken into 1 inch pieces
A big pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
Few Curry Leaves
½ tbsp Oil
Preparing Bitter Gourd:
Take chopped bitter gourd pieces in a colander and mix well with about 1 tsp of salt. Place a bowl of water (that fits well in colander) on top of colander containing bitter gourds. Keep this aside for at least 30 mins near sink. This way some of bitter juices from bitter gourd will be released.

For Roasted Spices & Coconut Paste:
Heat a pan and add urad dal, white sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and dry red chillies on medium to low flame till nice aroma of roasted spices comes and dal turns golden red in colour, about 3 mins. Transfer these roasted spices to clean and dry plate.
In a same pan dry roast fresh or thawed frozen coconut till it turns light golden, about 1-2 mins, on medium-low flame. Transfer these contents to roasted spices and let them cool slightly.
Next transfer all these roasted spices and coconut into a food processor and grind them to smooth paste without adding any water. Keep it aside till needed.
Cooking Bitter Gourd in Microwave:
Take bitter gourd pieces along with jaggary, tamarind extract and salt to taste in a microwave safe bowl with lid. Add about ¼-½ cup of water and close the lid. Cook this in microwave for 10 mins.
Open the lid and mix all the ingredients and cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes till the bitter gourd is almost cooked.
Now add ground roasted spice and coconut paste and mix well. Cook uncovered for another 7-10 minutes till all water evaporated and the palya looks dry.

For Tadka/Tempering:
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds to it. When mustard starts to pop and splutter, add dry red chilli, hing and curry leaves. Sauté it for around 30 seconds and transfer the contents to Bitter Gourd Palya. Mix them well before serving it hot or cold along with a bowl of freshly steam cooked Rice and enjoy this bitter goodness!
Since the spices are roasted along with coconut and the bitter gourd is cooked with tamarind and jaggary, this curry can be refrigerated for over a week without any fear of it getting spoiled.
Remember to consume this curry in moderation as bitter gourd taken in overdose may result in heartburns.

Labels: Ayurveda, Bitter Gourd, Coconut, Karnataka food, Mangalore food, Palya