Paavaikai Pitlai

Bitter gourd is called Paavaikai in tamil and paavaikai pitlai is a traditional curry that is usually coupled with rice but it can be had with rotis. This curry is my predilection when it comes to bitter gourd because I do not know any other recipe that uses less oil or no jaggery/ sugar to make a bitter-less bitter gourd dish. I tried this first long back and I can say this is almost the only dish I prepare with karela/ bitter gourd these days. Bitter gourd is highly beneficial in insulin resistance conditions and hence is advised for diabetics. I will strongly recommend this for bitter gourd haters because Kundan was one earlier to eating this.
Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
1.      Bitter gourd – 2
2.    Tomato – 1
3.    Onion – 1
4.    Oil – ½ tbsp
5.     Dry chilis – 1
6.    Bengarl gram – ½ cup
7.     Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
8.    Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
9.    Asafoetida – 1 pinch
10.  Curry leaves – 1 sprig
11.   Curry/Sambar powder – 1 tsp
12. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
13. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
14.Tamarind pulp or juice as required
15. Salt to taste
16. Jaggery or sugar – 2 pinches (optional)
17.  Ground coconut – 1 tbsp (optional)
Step 1: Chop bitter gourd into semi circles, cut onion and tomato roughly.
Step 2: Blanch the bitter gourd in salted water and cook Bengal gram separately until soft but not mushy. Keep these aside.
Step 3: Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds, sprinkle asafoetida, put in the curry leaves & broken dry chili and sauté onion in it until translucent. Then sauté tomato in it and add turmeric powder to it.
Step 4: Pour a cup of water and tamarind pulp, add curry powder & coriander powder, add salt as per taste and let it boil for few minutes until raw smell goes off.
Step 5: Add the cooked channa dal, bitter gourd and ground coconut and then mix well to boil for a couple of minutes more. Adjust spices and add jaggery or sugar at this stage if necessary.
Step 6: Serve hot with rice.
*You can  roast coconut, red chilies, coriander seeds and a spoon of tur dal separately in a drop of oil and grind it into coarse powder; add this instead of curry powder. This is the traditional procedure but I do it little simple.

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