Bitter gourd (மெது பாவக்காய்) and spinach curry

If you are like me and love bitter gourd, then this is one dish you have to try. This was one of my mother’s signature dishes. The bitter gourd is tiny and is different from the medium sized and long bitter gourd that you get. She would combine this with amaranth spinach (அறைக்கீரை), soaked moong dal and grated coconut and it is so tasty you even can eat it as a snack.

It is a bit fussy as you have to de-seed the tiny bitter gourd but I guarantee the end result is worth the effort.

Tiny bitter gourd 250 gm
Spinach amaranth – 1 bunch
Yellow moong dal – 1/3 cup
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Dried red chilli – 2
Asafoetida – a pinch
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 2 tbsp

Cut in half and de-seed the bitter gourd. Add 1-2 cups water and boil them with some salt to remove some of the bitterness. Strain and set aside. Clean and cut the spinach and cook it dry with some salt. Set this aside. Soak the moong dal for  an hour. In a kadai add the oil, pop the mustard seeds and fry the urad dal and chilli till golden brown. Add the asafoetida and then the cooked bitter gourd. Add turmeric powder, salt and sugar and continue cooking till bitter gourd is somewhat crisp. Remove from the kadai and set aside. Add the remaining oil and when hot add the grated coconut and salt. After the few mins add the soaked moong dal and cook covered for a few minutes till the dal is done.  Then add the cooked spinach and mix well. When there is no water left in the kadai, add the cooked bitter gourd and stir gently to bring it all together. Serves 4.

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