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Sorakaya Pulusu ~ Bottle Gourd in Tamarind Sauce

Cooking Time: 30 minutes 
Serves: 5-8
  • ¼ cup Oil
  • ½ medium Onion or ½ cup chopped Onion
  • 4-6 Curry Leaves
  • ½ tsp Fenugreek Powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin (I did not use)
  • 2-3 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 medium size or 400 gm (approx.) Bottle Gourd cut into 3” pieces or desired size
  • 1 ½ tbsp Onion Paste
  • 2-3 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder (adjust according to your palate)
  • ½ Turmeric Powder
  • Salt to Taste
  • 30 gm or 1/3 cup loosely packed Tamarind soaked in ½ cup of water
  • 1 - 1 ½ tbsp Sesame Seeds powder (dry roasted Sesame seeds)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
Onion Paste:
  • 1-2 tsp Oil
  • ½ medium Onion chopped or ½ cup chopped Onion
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Fenugreek Powder
  • ½ medium Tomato chopped (normally use vine ripe but today I used Roma)
  • Prepare the onion paste by roasting onion, cumin and fenugreek powder in oil until onions are translucent and light golden color. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and roast until tomatoes are soft and mushy. Cool the mixture and grind to fine paste. If required, add some water. I have a small wet grinder, which is perfect for grinding pastes and grinding chutneys in small quantities.
  • Heat oil in a 3 qt pan and fry onions, curry leaves and fenugreek powder. I used 1/4 cup of oil but can use 1/3 cup oil too. Athammma would have added 1/3 - ½ cup of oil.
  • Once the onions are translucent, add bottle gourd pieces and ginger garlic paste and fry until bottle gourd are lightly fried, about 2-3 minutes. I covered the pan and fried the vegetable. Some people either deep fry or shallow fry the vegetables but I skip that step and fry my veggies when making the gravy.
  • Add coriander powder, chili powder, 1 tsp of salt, turmeric and the onion paste and stir well. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes on medium high heat. Make sure the vegetables don't burn or add little water to prevent the masala and vegetables fro burning.
  • Meantime, extract juice/pulp from the soaked tamarind. Keep the pup aside and add more water to the tamarind and squeeze the tamarind to extract as much pulp as possible. I did this twice to extract all the pulp and used about 1 cup of water to extract the pulp, which excludes the ½ cup water I soaked the tamarind in.
  • Add the tamarind pulp or juice to the cooking vegetables and salt to taste. Remember we already added 1 tsp of salt to the mixture. Check the consistency of the pulusu and add additional 1 - 1½ cups of water to get the required consistency. At this point, the gravy should be a little water as we would be adding sesame powder later on, which would thicken the gravy and also boiling the gravy would make it thicker.
  • Cover the pan and it and bring the gravy to a boil. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Mix well, cover and boil it for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Add sesame seed powder and sugar.  Ssshhh, it is a secret! don't mention it to U. He doesn't like sugar in his food. Boil it for another 3-5 minutes or until the gourd is cooked.
  • Please don't go by cooking time when preparing my recipes. My friends and family who have cooked in my cooking range commented that my burners are big and food cooks faster on my stove! Please use your discretion and use the cooking time as a guideline when preparing food.
  • Just as the spice level of chili powder depends on how fiery the chili is, level of sourness of a tamarind varies from tree to tree. Tamarind from some trees are very sour and tamarind from certain trees is very sweet. Please use the tamarind depending on the level of sourness of your tamarind. My tamarind is sour.