Bittergourd, known for its bitter taste is beneficial for health in many ways. I am not a great fan of bittergourd. But, some time back, I had surplus bittergourds and tried making this thokku / pickle. Usually bittergourd pieces are sauteed or cooked covered while making thokku. I tried in a different way of deep frying it. To be honest, after making and tasting this thokku, I really became a fan of this, as it did not taste bitter at all. Now, I buy bittergourds during seasons and make this thokku in bulk and store it for few months. Coming to the recipe,
Bittergourd - 4 cups(chopped)
Tamarind - Key lime sized ball
Dry roasted fenugreek seeds powder - 1/4 tsp.
Crushed jaggery - 1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 + 1/4 tsp.
Chilli powder - 1 tsp.
Sambar powder - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 ladle
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp.
Curry leaves - few
Asafoetida- 1/2 tsp.
Wash and chop bittergourd into thin 1" lengthy pieces. Discard the seeds. Add salt and 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder, mix well and marinate for half an hour. Squeeze well and discard the squeezed water. Doing like this prevents thokku becoming bitter.
Soak tamarind in warm water and extract juice.
Heat oil in a kadai and deep fry squeezed bittergourd in batches until they become golden brown. Keep aside.
Heat oil in heavy bottomed kadai, add mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves. Add the deep fried bittergourds, chilli powder, sambar powder, little salt and tamarind extract. (Be careful in adding salt as the bittergourds are already marinated with salt). Cook on medium flame until it is thick, Now add jaggery powder, mix well and cook for a while. When it becomes saucy, and oil leaves the sides, add roasted fenugreek seeds powder, mix well and immediately switch off the stove. When cool, store in an airtight bottle. This goes well with curd rice and even with chappathis and pooris. It can also be mixed with cooked rice. This stays fresh for more than 2 to 3 months.