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.
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.