Pavakai Pachadi (Bittergourd Salad, Karela Raita)

Bittergourd may not be everyone’s favourite vegetable. It, however, comes packed with numerous health benefits. It is its sharp, bitter taste that most people dislike. Several recipes try various techniques to lighten or remove the bitter taste. But many of the recipes that I prepare does not taste bitter at all – with no extra effort to remove the bitter taste. One such is parikka pitla (recipe provided in this blog). A salad using this much disliked vegetable is an innovative idea. It tastes wonderful with the bitter taste masked by the yogurt base. Do give it a try!

1 cup vegan curd
2 small bittergourd (karela, pavakai), chopped
Salt to taste
To Grind
2 tbsp grated coconut
1″ piece ginger, roughly chopped
2 small green chilles
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
For The Seasoning
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies, broken into two
1 sprig curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
Add all the ingredients mentioned under “To Grind” to a blender
Add very little water and grind to a paste, neither too smooth nor too coarse
Beat the yogurt
Add the ground paste to the beaten yogurt and mix well
Set aside
Air fry the bittergourd till it is crisp and golden brown
Add to the yogurt
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the other ingredients
Roast for about 30 seconds
Add this too to the beaten yogurt
Mix well
Serve with red/brown rice and sambar or rasam
Or just consume it as it is

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