Bittergourd/Okra gravy (Karathe/bhende sasam)

Karathe Sasam

‘Sasam’ are the Konkani dishes having uncooked coconut masala (like ambe-ananas sasam, beetroot sasam). Karathe (Bittergourd/karela) or bhende(bhindi) sasam is used as a gravy, it has crispy fried bittergourd/okra in coconut masala. (Karathe sasam is more famous compared to bhende sasam).

My dad always loved this dish, but since I hated Karela, I used to ask mom to give this sasam without karela in it. But recently when I prepared this dish (with Karela) I simply loved it. It gets its unique taste because of crispy Karela.

Though I had the picture clicked a long back, somehow this dish had slipped out of my mind. Varsha, thanks for reminding me.

Bittergourd/Bhindi (Cut into small pieces) 3/4 cup
Coconut(fresh) 3/4 cup
Green chilies 3-4
Tamarind 1/2 tea spn
Ghee 1/2 tea spn

Some people add 1/2 cup buttermilk to this before serving.

Add salt to bittergourd and leave it for 1/2 an hour. Then squeeze out the water to remove bitterness. Wash with water. (If using okra, ignore this step).
Heat ghee and fry bittergourd/okra on a low flame till they turn very crispy.
Grind coconut with green chilies, salt(be careful while adding salt, bittergourd retains some salt in the previous step) and tamarind to a smooth paste. Add sufficient water to bring it to a gravy consistency.
Just before serving, add the fried bittergourd/okra (Since this dish tastes great with crispy bittergourd/okra, store the gravy and vegetables seperately in refregerator. Bring them to room temperature before serving and then add the bittergourd/okra. Alternately, serve them seperately and while eating, mix both).

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 15mins

12 thoughts on “Bittergourd/Okra gravy (Karathe/bhende sasam)”

  1. Hi Shilpa,
    I never heard about these “sasam” before
    My mom do make this and she will add bit sugar in the gravy.We call it as “gujju koora”.I want to know whether you used raw coconut or dried .
    .thanks for sharing.

  2. Sorry for the confusion Vineela. I used fresh coconut for this.
    ‘Sasam’, ‘sukke’, ‘ambat’, ‘randayi’ etc are Konkani words for different kind of dishes, I guess that is the reason you haven’t heard of it.

  3. Babita, I am sorry, I didn’t get your comment. I have mentioned this is made with either bhindi(ladyfinger, okra) or karela(bittergourd). you can use any one of them for this dish.

  4. This is a strange type of combination of two differnt tasting vegetables recipe labeled as “Sassam’. In Konkani, Sassam means mustard seed in literal meaning. But in this type of “sassam” labelled dish,mustard is not sputterd in hot oil for flavor but the black mustard seeds are ground with coconut, red chilli and tamarind as this is served cold (even refrigerated) with any fruits such as Aambe-Avanaas(mango/pineapple) sassam during summer months. To clear my doubt I referred to American Konkani Association cookbook, in Mango-pineapple saasam(Sweet-spicy Curry) by A.K.A., she recommends making this type of masala with mustard seeds and refrigerate before serving. This recipe is usually a treat to guests during wedding as this can be an expensive dish with alphonso mangos and pineapples.

  5. You are right Shilpa, this dish is made with vegetables and not fruits as from childhood I grew up Sassam Dish memory associated with Fruits/Sweet/spicy/mustard and could not think some other dish exists with the same name.
    Since you have very busy schedule, I hope your blog continues for many years as it is very popular in seach engines and appears usually first during recipe search. 4-5 years ago, there was a very good Konkani recipe site by Sunita Pai Mizar out of Napavalley,CA on geocity website, and then it disappeared after Yahoo took over. One of her recipe by her mother “Amma’s Chicken Curry” was very delicious and I and my friends made several times. I believe she is in Boston area but do not see in Konkani Blog pages of recipes. May be I am guessing wrong.

  6. Vastevu, thanks a lot for your wishes. I do hope that I can continue this for as much as I can. when I started this site, I heard about a Konkani site which is no more now. But I don’t know any more details about it. There are few Konkani books which I have seen many people using. But I don’t have any. Initially I had started this to post recipes from my mom only. But I kept on including other recipes because people started putting requests. Its a great way of learning for me. Thanks for your support. I greately appreciate it.

  7. Leena Udhayakumar

    Hi Shilpa :

    i love Karela, can you give me some receipes for Karela esp the one prepared in south india which has a sweet and tangy flavour, not sure of the name. Thanks

  8. hi shilpa

    It is called gojju which has sweet and tangy taste.

    One can make gojju with bittergourd, tomato,egg plant, okra and fruits like oranges, pineapple etc.

    Season the vegetble with mustard, jeera , methi hing chillies and turmeric with little oil and stir fry. When it is cooked add tamarind juice and rasam powder, salt and brown sugar (all for your taste) and cook until it boils garnish with cilantro. You can eat this rice ,bread chapathi etc

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