Here is another traditional Kerala Thoran recipe after a long while. Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon is known as Pavakka/Kaipakka in Malayalam and Karela in Hindi. My cousin gave me home-grown Bitter Gourds and I had to do something with it. I am not a big fan of Bitter Gourd but I couldn’t ignore it’s health benefits. Here is the recipe for Pavakka Thoran.
In order to reduce the bitterness while preparing Bitter Gourd Thoran, some people rub salt on bitter gourd pieces and squeeze out water from it. This can help to some extend. Bitter Gourd is cooked when it is unripe ie; green in golor or just as it turns yellow. Once it ripens and becomes orange in color, it becomes intensely bitter.
- Green or Light Yellow Bitter Gourd (Pavakka) – 2 big
- Sliced Shallots (Kunjulli/Pearl Onions) – 1/2 cup
- Green/Red Chillies – 4 or 5 ( I used both)
- Curry Leaves – A sprig
- Grated Coconut – 1 Cup
- Crushed Garlic – 4 or 5 cloves
- Grated Cumin (Jeera) – 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
- Red Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Wash the bitter gourd and slice it open. Discard the seeds and pith. Slice the bitter gourd into small thin pieces.
- Mix together coconut, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, cumin and garlic using your hands or you can coarsely grind everything together.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non stick pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add shallots, chillies and curry leaves and saute for a few minutes.
- Add the sliced bitter gourd pieces and saute for a few minutes.
- Next add the coconut mixture along with salt to taste and mix everything together.
- Cover the pan and cook on medium-low flame, stirring occasionally. Do not add water while cooking.
- After 10-12 minutes, the bitter gourd will be cooked. Remove the lid and stir fry for another 4-5 minutes so that the water evaporates completely and the thoran is dry.