Pavakka Theeyal/Kaippakkai Theeyal/ Bitter gourd curry

Another vegetarian dish from Kerala “Kaippakkai Theeyal”. Kaippakkai meaning “Bitter gourd”. You could also use vegetables like yam, pearl onion, raw mangoes, eggplant in place of bitter gourd. It’s a curry made with roasted spices,coconut and the vegetables are boiled in tamarind water.  
When we hear the name bitter gourd most of our face changes to no no mode..  But trust me, this

recipe is full of flavours. From sourness from the tamarind, sweet from coconut & jaggery, to slight bitter from the bitter gourd makes this dish delicious.
I like my theeyal with steaming hot rice and chutta papadam (Papad toasted in charcoal or fire). Give it a try and I am sure you will like it.

Servings:  2        

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Level: Moderate
Ingredients:
1)      Bitter gourd                                       100 gm
2)      Pearl onion                                        30 gm (5-6 nos)
3)      Asafoetida                                         a pinch
4)      Tamarind                                            5 gm
5)      Turmeric powder                                ¼ Tsp
6)      Jaggery                                               ¼ Tsp
7)      Coconut Oil                                            1 Tbsp
8)      Water                                                 1 ½ Cups             
For grinding:
9)      Coriander seeds                                1 Tbsp
10)   Peppercorns                                       ½ Tsp
11)   Garlic                                                 2 cloves (Optional)
12)   Dried red chilli                                   2 nos
13)   Fenugreek seeds                               ½ Tsp
14)   Coconut (Grated)                               ½ Cup/50 gm
For Tadka:
15)   Mustard seeds                                  ½ Tsp
16)   Curry leaves                                      10 nos
17)   Pearl onion                                        2 nos
Method:
Preparation:
1)      Dry roast the ingredients given under grinding except coconut and transfer to grinding jar.
2)      In the same pan dry roast the grated coconut till brown and transfer to the same grinding jar.
3)      Grind them using ½ cup of water to a paste.
4)      Chop the pearl onions coarsely.
5)      Slice the bitter gourd thinly.
6)      Soak the tamarind in ½ cup of warm water for 5 mins. And squeeze them to extract tamarind paste.
Cooking:

1)      Heat ½ Tbsp Oil in a pan.
2)      Add asafoetida and chopped onions.
3)      Fry till onions turn golden brown. Now add little turmeric powder.
4)      Add the sliced bitter gourd. Saute well to combine.
5)      Add the ground paste and salt. Stir fry for a minute till it is mixed well with the vegetables.
6)      Pour in the tamarind water, mix well and bring to boil.
7)      Once boiled, reduce the flame to low.
8)      Close the lid and cook till the bitter gourd becomes soft.
9)      Finally before turning the heat off add jaggery. Turn off the heat and transfer to serving bowl.
For Tadka
10)   Take another pan and heat oil.
11)   Add Mustard seeds. When it splutters add curry leaves and sliced onions.
12)   Fry till onion become golden brown.
13)   Pour the tadka onto the theeyal.
14)   Serve with steamed rice.

Note:

1)      Theeyal also can be made using okra, eggplant, raw mangoes, yam, pearl onions. 
2)      Adding jaggery is optional. Adding jaggery lessens the bitterness from the bitter gourd.
3)      The brown colour of the curry comes from the fried coconut and coriander seeds.
 So you need to fry them well.

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