Thursday, August 29, 2019



In Kannada, bitter gourd is called, "Haagalakai." This vegetable is known as "Karela" in Hindi and "Kaarathe" in my mother tongue, Konkani. Elsewhere in this blog you will find recipes for dishes using bitter gourd, such as Karela Andhra Style, Besan Karela, and Karathe Puddi Sagle.

Today's recipe is for a sweet and spicy gravy called, "Haagalakai Gojju" from my home state of Karnataka. I have adapted this from " The Udupi Kitchen" by Malati Srinivasan and Geetha Rao.  If you are a foodie with an interest in trying out authentic dishes from different cuisines, you should buy this book which has a collection of recipes from the Madhava Brahmin community of Karnataka.

As per the original recipe the bitter gourd had to be scraped but I haven't done that. We enjoyed this dish with rice and also with chapatis.

  • Haagalakai, ( Bitter Gourd), 500 gms
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp (for applying to the bitter gourd) + 1 and 1/2 tsp, or to taste 
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Tamarind, torn into small pieces, 1/4 cup 
  • Jaggery, grated, 4 tbsp
  • Curry Leaves, torn, 12
  • Salt, to taste
To Be Roasted & Ground To A Coarse Paste:-
  • Oil, 1 tsp
  • Hing ( Asafoetida) Powder, 1/8 tsp
  • Urad Dal, (Split Black Gram) 1 tbsp
  • Chana Dal, (Split Bengal Gram), 1 tbsp
  • Methi Seeds ( Fenugreek Seeds), 1 tsp
  • Til, (White Sesame Seeds), 2 tbsp
  • Byadgi Red Chillies, 12
  • Copra (Dried Coconut), grated, 1/2 cup
For Seasoning :-
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Hing ( Asafoetida ) Powder, 1/8 tsp
  • Oil, 1/4 cup


Wash the bitter gourds and snip off the two ends
Slit the bitter gourds vertically, de-seed them and cut them into 1/2 " slices
With your fingers apply salt and turmeric powder to the bitter gourd pieces and keep aside
After about 30 minutes, squeeze out the juice from the bitter  gourd pieces
Transfer the marinated bitter gourd pieces to a microwave- compliant plate and microwave for 4 minutes
(This makes the bitter gourd pieces dry)
Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of warm water for 5-10 minutes and then extract the juice. Keep aside.
In a thick- bottomed kadhai, heat 1 tsp of oil and on medium heat add the asafoetida powder
Saute for a few seconds, then add the Urad Dal and Channa Dal, fenugreek seeds, sesame seeds, and the Byadgi Red Chillies and roast till the dals change colour and the chillies become crisp
To this, add the copra and roast for 2-3 minutes or till it becomes fragrant
Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate and allow it to cool
In a small mixer jar, grind the roasted ingredients, adding the required amount of water, to a coarse paste. Keep aside.
In the same kadhai, heat 1/4 cup of oil and on medium heat add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add the asafoetida powder and saute for a few seconds
To this add the bitter gourd and fry for about 5 minutes or till they turn golden brown in colour
Now add the tamarind juice extracted earlier and salt to taste
Mix well and cook for about 3 minutes
Next add the coarsely ground paste, and some hot water as required to adjust the consistency, mix well and cook for about 5 minutes
Add the grated jaggery and the torn curry leaves and allow it to simmer for about 3-4 minutes
Switch off the gas and transfer the Haagalakai Gojju to a serving bowl
Serve with rice or chapatis

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