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Friday, May 13, 2011

Kakarakayi Podi & Methi - Aloo Sukke

I could not post for blogging marathon yesterday due to blogger maintenance issues and so I am posting two recipes today.
The first recipe is kakarakaya podi or a dry bitter gourd curry from my baamma's (paternal grand mother) kitchen. Bitter gourds are obviously bitter and not a favorite of many though they are healthier. I too use to despise these gourds. The only bitter gourd preparation I used to eat was this podi until I tasted my MIL's bitter gourd curry. The Indian versions of bitter gourd preparation usually contain a sweetener like jaggery / sugar and a souring agent like tamarind to mask the bitterness.
This podi is quite different from those kind of recipes. The bitterness is considerably reduced even though no sweetener is added because of the addition of besan and the frying of gourds until crispy. M got to taste this for the first time when my mother visited us recently and I should say that he has fallen in love with this podi.
The only drawback is that this recipe requires a lot of oil and that's why I don't make it frequently. J

12 small sized tender, bitter gourds (2 cups chopped)
6 Tbsp oil (or more if needed)
About 1/2 cup besan / chickpea powder
Salt & chili powder to taste

Wash the bitter gourds and trim the edges. Chop them very fine. This step is really important since they need to be done crisply.
Combine the besan, salt and chili powder in a bowl and keep aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp of oil and add the bitter gourd pieces. Keep frying them on medium flame until they turn super crisp. Keep adding the extra oil as needed.
Then add the besan mixture to the bitter gourds and stir well to combine. The quantity of the besan added should be such that it not only coats the bitter gourd pieces but there should be some left in the cooking pan as powder in the final curry. That's why, you see the word 'podi' (powder in Telugu) in the title. Cook until the raw smell of the besan disappears.
This stays fresh for a few days, even without refrigeration. It is usually served with rice.

Methi - Aloo Sukke

During my last India trip, I got this recipe from M's aunt's handwritten cookbook, which keeps circulating in our family circles. Sukke belongs to Konkani cuisine and so, was a little surprised to notice it in that book. I know that the aunt has lived in various parts of India and so I am guessing that she might have got this recipe probably from a friend.
This is a dry version of methi-aloo and certainly the spice mixture added makes a difference. The basic aloo - methi subzi turns more flavorful and yummier. I truly enjoyed it, like the rest of the traditional recipes I have so far tried from her book.

Ingredients for 4 - 5 generous servings:
2 cups peeled & chopped potato cubes (3 medium sized potatoes)
2 cups washed & roughly chopped fenugreek greens / methi leaves
Salt to taste
For tadka: 2-3 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp chana dal, 1 tsp cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida
To dry roast and grind:
3 Tbsp uraddal, 1.5 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds, 4 - 6 red chillies, 3 Tbsp dry coconut

Note: The original recipe had about 1/2 cup fresh coconut added finally. Instead, I added some dried coconut while grinding.

* Cook the potato cubes until done but not mushy. (I cooked them in a microwave for about 6 minutes.) Drain them and keep aside.
* Heat oil in a kadai or a deep pan and add the tadka ingredients. When mustard seeds start to pop and the chana dal starts turning reddish, add the methi leaves. Sauté the leaves on low flame for a few minutes, until the raw smell of methi disappears.
* Mean while, dry roast all the ingredients mentioned under 'to roast and grind' except the coconut. The ingredients can be toasted individually if preferred. Cool them and grind fine.
* Add the cooked potato cubes, salt and the ground spice mixture (Use this mixture as needed if you prefer the subzi to be a milder version). Mix well and let it cook for a couple of minutes before turning off the stove.
Serve with rotis / rice.

This methi - aloo sukke is being linked to

And my menu for the event is going to be
Main menu: Mango-Peanut-Cilantro Chutney, Methi - Aloo Sukke, Sweet Potato Pulusu, Mango - Coconut Quinoa, Dal Tadka
Dessert: Hayagreeva, Strawberry Cake

2. Herbs & flowers in my platter - Fenugreek , started by PJ and guest hosted by Kalyani.

Check what the other marathoners in BM#5 are cooking today.

Curry in a hurry under 30 min: Cool Lassi(e), Harini, Kalyani, Priya Mahadevan 
Seven Days of Colorful Dishes Kid's Special: Priya Suresh, Veena 
Seven Days of Indian Sweets: Shylaja, Srivalli  
Seven Days of Regional Specials: Priya Yallapantula  
Under 15 mins Quick Breakfast: Aarthi, Vaishali


Unknown said...

Love both the recipes dear, love the aloo-methi more :)

Shylaja said...

Looks so delicious and yummy
South Indian Home

Vardhini said...

I love bitter gourd in any form :) and your recipe with besan sounds interesting ..

I came here from the BM group. Good to know you. Do visit my blog as time permits.

I am going to follow you to keep in touch. :)


Hari Chandana P said...

Wonderful recipes.. looks tempting !!
Indian Cuisine

vaishali sabnani said...

the bitter gourd recipe is really too good..my mouth is watering....
the aaloo methi is also quite different from what we make..will surely try....

Swati Saha said...

This looks like the south Indian version of aloo methi - my father-in-law will love it. Shall try when he is here.