Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hagalkayi Palya (Bittermelon stirfry)


 I am starting the new year with a bitter dish to balance out the cakes/pastries ate during new year and Christmas celebrations :) . BTW, I always try Chinese bitter gourd or bitter melon as they are comparatively less bitter than Indian ones ;)

For coarse spice powder:
Grated coconut: 3 tbsp
Rasam powder: 1 tbsp

For stir-fry
Bittergourd: 2 cups (deseeded & finely chopped)
Turmeric: 2 big pinches
Oil: 1.5 tbsp
Tamarind powder or very thick tamarind paste: 1 tbsp
Jaggery/Brown Sugar: 1 tbsp
Curry leaves: a sting
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Urad dal: 1 tsp (optional)
Asafetida: a pinch
Broken red chilli: 1
Salt: According to taste
Cilantro: 2 tbsp

  • Mix a tsp of salt & turmeric to the bitter gourd pieces & allow it to leave water for 20-30mins. 
  • Squeeze the water from th bittergourd &discard the water. This procedure is said to reduce the bitterness in the gourd.
  • Heat a broad pan, add oil. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds crackle, add curry leaves, asafetida, urad dal, broken red chilli & saute for 10secs. 
  • Add the bitter gourd & mix well. Allow the bitter gourd to get cooked for 5mins. 

  • Meantime, make a coarse powder of the coconut & the rasam powder(Do not add water).
  • Once the bitter gourd is half cooked, add the tamarind powder, salt (note salt is added before too), jaggery, the prepared coarse powder & mix well. Cook for another 5-7mins.
  • Turn off the flame, garnesh with coriander leaves/cilantro & serve with rice or roti.

  1. Chinese bittermelon oozes out a lot of water while cooking. Hence, there is no need to add water while cooking. However, Indian bittergourd might need few teaspoons of water.
  2. The palya is supposed to be dry. So, donot make the tamarind paste or spice paste/powder watery.