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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hagalakaayi Gojju / Bitter Gourd Gojju

To this day, I strongly dislike eating bitter gourd dishes except a couple. The first one being my paternal grandmother's kakarakayi podi and the second one is this gojju. The bitter gourd is fried and cooked in a tangy, spicy and sweet sauce that one can hardly notice the bitterness of the gourd anymore.
The trio huli, saaru and gojju from the state of Karnataka, can be all loosely translated as the spicy stews and are usually served with steamed rice. Huli/saaru are that state's version of sambhar / rasam. However sometimes both terms are interchangeable for sambhar alone and rasam may be called as thili saaru. Gojjus totally are another story where one needs to balance the tangy, sweet and spicy flavors to treat your tastebuds. 
One can go with several choice of vegetables (and even a couple of fruits) to prepare a gojju, some chosen for special occasions while some prepared to just perk up a boring meal or to put together a quick one during time constraints. For instance the pineapple is usually meant for celebrations. Bitter gourd, okra, cucumber, plantain, potato are the commonly used vegetables while preparing gojjus. And of course the vegetables are used individually and not to be put together.

Gojju pudi is needed for a gojju preparation and it can be prepared in advance and stored so that you have it handy during time constraints. Gojju preparation is quite simple and don't be put off by the long list of the ingredients presented here. Some go for tadka and some for grinding. Try this if you haven't earlier and you would not be disappointed. And for an even quicker version of podi, you can try this bitter gourd gojju.

It is hard to measure the sweetness of jaggery, the sourness factor of a tamarind block or the spice level of chillies since they keep varying from batch to batch. And so just use the quantities of the ingredients mentioned below as a guideline. Taste the gojju while cooking and adjust the ingredients if needed until you are happy with the balance of flavors. 

For gojju powder:
2 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp white sesame seeds
2 - 3 tbsp dry roasted peanuts
10 - 12 red chillies (adjust according to preferred spice levels. Some can be replaced by byadagi chillies for color. )
1/4 cup grated dry coconut (copra)

Preparing gojju pudi / powder:
Toast chanadal and uraddal separately in a sauté pan till they turn reddish and remove. Add coriander seeds to the pan and saute on low flame till it turns a few shades darker. Similarly toast sesame seeds and chilies for a few seconds. Cool all the ingredients and grind into a fine powder.

Ingredients for 3 -4 servings of gojju:
2 small bitter gourds / 1/4 cup cubed bitter melon
Salt to taste
Jaggery powder to taste (I added 2 one oz packets artificial sweetener)
2- 3 tbsp tamarind juice or as needed (tamarind soaked in water and squeezed)
A pinch of turmeric powder
For tadka: 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp chana dal, 1 tsp urad dal, curry leaves, little asafoetida powder and 1 - 2 red chili broken into bits

Preparing Gojju: 
* Take a kadai or a pan. Heat the oil in it and chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds. When the dal starts to turn reddish, add the asafoetida powder, curry leaves and the red chili. Then add the bitter gourd cubes and fry on low flame, covered until they are cooked. 
* Then add the gojju powder, turmeric powder, tamarind, jaggery, salt and water as needed. The gojju powder thickens the gojju considerably and so add water as needed. The consistency should be somewhere like sambhar - not too thick or runny. Check the flavor and adjust the seasonings, if any needed. Cook till the gojju thickens and comes to a rolling boil
* Serve with rice / rotis.

1. Gojju pudi can be prepared in large batches and can be stored in an air tight container. It can be refrigerated if preferred and used whenever needed.
2. Use of peanuts is optional but definitely enhances the flavor of gojju.

Check what other marathoners are cooking during this month long marathon. 



cookingwithsapana said...

sounds delicious..

The Pumpkin Farm said...

am usually wary abt karela recipes, as i dont really enjoy it as much, but husband and now son are mad about it, so helps to have more recipes handy, thanks :)

Priya Suresh said...

Guess the flavors of this gujju,simply inviting..

Simplyfood said...

Very healthy and delicious .Love the brass pot.

Srivalli said...

I think I might never get over aversion to this vegetable..though I can surely try this for my hubby and athamma, they love bitter gourd!..The entire plate looks very nice Suma..

Unknown said...

We generally peel the skin of the bitter gourt before cooking it. However we dont throw it, it is used in the curry. Nice way of cooking the gourd. interesting

Archana said...

Suma Nau barlya? This is my favourite gojju. In fact Amma had to mak a big jar of this and Polivaghar masala for me in the hostel.

sujitha said...

simply amazing work... interesting to catch a new type of gourd recipe...

Rajani S said...

I like bitter gourd in any form, so have never understood how one cannot like it :-)))

This recipe is new for me. And the clicks look really good!

preeti garg said...

wow. lovely recipe.. never thought we can cook bitter gourd in this form too.. thanks for sharing

Pavani said...

I don't mind the bitterness in bitter gourd. I guess my palette developed as I grew older. This curry sounds different and delicious. Will try it out next.

Harini R said...

Wow! The pictures are very tempting. This is one gojju that I used to dread growing up (just the one or two occasions they were made..) but the gojju podi sounds very flavorful. shall make some gojju out of the podi.

Manju said...

Love your spice powder combinations, except myself no one will try this in my home.

veena said...

My mother would make htis often The ppic is awesome as usual...makes me drool on this gojju even though i dont llike pavakai:-)