Bittergourd in sweet-spicy coconut(Karathe kaDamb/dhoddak)

These days I am developing a kind of love for bitter gourd. Though I still can’t tolerate too much bitter taste, I am making sure to buy these gourds at least once in a month(if not more frequent). When aayi was here, she prepared this dish, which tastes just amazing. She used to prepare this very frequently when we were kids, but I used to run away from it because of bitter gourd. But this time, I absolutely loved the taste of it.

KaDamb or dhoddak is a special kind of dry dish with a coconut base. For these dishes, few turmeric leaves are lined up in the bottom of the pan and a thick coconut paste with vegetables is poured on the leaves. Then another layer of turmeric leaves are lined on top. Then it is cooked on a medium heat. So the entire dish gets a very good aroma of the leaves. The final product is usually very dry and very tasty. We were not having the leaves when we cooked this, so we made this without the leaves. It was still very very yummy.

On the similar lines, you can make mackerel(bangade) dhoddak or vegetable dhoddak.

1 cup chopped bitter gourd pieces
1 cup fresh/frozen coconut
4-5 red chilies
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract or 1 small piece tamarind
1 tea spn jaggery(optional)
4-5 teppal (sichuan pepper)
7-8 turmeric leaves(optional)

Apply salt to bitter gourd pieces and leave it for about 30mins. Squeeze the juices off the pieces (this step is mainly done to remove bitterness. If you like the bitter taste, skip this step).
Grind together coconut, tamarind, red chilies to a smooth paste.
Heat a little oil and fry the bitter gourd for 1-2mins (do not fry till crispy. They just need to cook a bit).
Line up a thick bottomed pan with turmeric leaves.
Mix the ground paste, jaggery and teppal(slightly crushed in 2 tea spn water). Add salt, be careful while adding salt, the bitter gourd retains some salt from the first step. Pour this mixture on the leaves.
Cover with another layer of leaves.Cook on a medium flame till the paste becomes dry and the pieces are cooked.
Serve as a side dish with rice. (While serving, discard the leaves).

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 25mins

I am sending this to RCI Karnataka hosted by Asha. Few other entries that I am sending are, masala puri, Udupi style bele saru, ashgourd fritters(kuvaLe vadi), amla pickle. I chose these since they are very unusual but quite popular in few regions of Karnataka.

19 thoughts on “Bittergourd in sweet-spicy coconut(Karathe kaDamb/dhoddak)”

  1. Shilpa, this is a very unusual and new recipe! Sounds interesting, wd surely give it a try.I can relate to your ‘running away from karate as kid’ as I too developed taste for karate only 4 years back! May be I can conclude our taste buds are now accepting the best amchi food which v alws despised as kids! Tks for posting this interesting recipe. I shall revert with feedback.

  2. Ooooh! This looks really good with the sweet-sour touch, and the use of teppal makes me quite curious to try this.

    It’s strange how our tastes change when we get older; I disliked beets as a child, but not now. But I’ve liked bitter gourds from the first time! 😀

  3. Shilpa, good to see you back after the maintainance.
    Thank you so much for your entries.Hagalkai looks yum,I will make this way for Arvind. Other entries are great too, I will be proud to add!:))

  4. This is a new recipe to me. Ate ghassi, randayi etc with ambado, kirlu, never ate karathe with teppal. Though i have seen doddak made with fish.(thats what is called in NK i guess) Will definitely try this, but as of now without the turmeric leaves. I guess tamarind can be replaced with kokum too in this dish. Thanks Shilpa for an unusual one.

  5. Very special karate recipe, very new to me. Does this like come out like sanna koTTo? My turmeric plant has 2 leaves!! and my hubby loves karate. Will try this soon.
    Is there any substitute for teppal or can I skip it?

    Shilpa: Manjula, once cooked, this becomes like real dry coconut masala without any water in it. It does not hold shape like sanna khotto. If you have turmeric, then you can skip teppal, because it will still have a nice aroma of leaves. It tastes at its best when both are used.

  6. Shilpa
    My hubby is a big bittergourd fan. Eats it just boiled. Most of our cooking tries to keep the bitterness as it is.
    Shall adapt this for my type of karela next

  7. Hi Shilpa,
    I stumbled on your web site sometime last week. It’s really awesome. I am amazed at how well you show the methods to preparing the food and also the pictures you include.

    I have my blog at and want to include a link to your web page. Is it OK?

    Cooking is my hobby, and I was planning on creating a web site, but once I saw yours, I was quite sure there need not be any other at all.

    Once again, wonderful site. Love it.

    Shilpa: Thanks for your kind words Meera. Yes you can include link.

  8. I love bitter gourd. I always buy Chinese bitter gourd which are less bitter,more tasty and larger in size. Some stores have them but you will certainly find these in Oriental/Chinese markets.I got your site when I was looking for Chattambode recipe. Thank you. You have a lot of useful information.

  9. Your recipes are great I just accidently clicked on your site,looking for ginger recipes, as I have a pile of cooked sweet ginger to use

    thank you

  10. Hi Shilpa,

    Great site. I need a clarification on one of the ingredients that are used in this recipe.

    4-5 teppal (sichuan pepper) – Not able to identify what it is . Do you know the name of it in Telugu ? Where can I get this and by what name should I ask for it . I live in CA.

    Shilpa: Its a very Konkani specific spice and I don’t think it is used anywhere else. I don’t think it is available in CA. So you can leave that out and make the recipe.

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