Pavakkai Sadam – Spiced Bittergourd Rice

There are few standard bittergourd recipes that we enjoy year round. Pitlai is a family favourite, followed by oven baked chips. This time G asked for something different. ‘Why don’t you just do a sauté or a simple curry?’, he asked. Very well. The recipe he was mentioning was an old one that my mom makes often. The gourd is cooked and lightly seasoned with mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal.

When I set to prepare the curry, I thought why not make this into a mixed rice. I haven’t seen bittergourd rice around, so why not extend this curry idea into rice? So I concocted a little spice mixture and prepared this curry. We Loved it (yes, with a capital L). This is definitely a keeper.

One technique that I adopted from the curry is to cook the bittergourd in tamarind water to tame its bitterness. Also, 6 red chillies may sound hot, but it is needed to compensate for the bitterness, along with tamarind and jaggery. Enjoy this slightly bitter and lightly spiced rice with cool raita.

Pavakkai Sadam – Spiced Bittergourd Rice
(serves 2)

Rice – 1 cup
Bittergourd – 8, about 6 inches long
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp, divided
Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp, divided
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – a few
Jaggery – 1 to 2 tsp
Salt
Oil

Spice Mixture

Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Bengal gram – 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies – 6 to 8
Cardamom – 1
Clove – 1
Cinnamon – ½ inch piece

Method

Cook rice with 3 cups of water and ¼ tsp of turmeric powder. Adding turmeric powder gives a golden hue to the finished recipe, which may otherwise be a dull brown. The rice grains should be separate after cooking. Fluff and cool. Cut the bittergourd into half moon rings. If the seeds are very tough and mature, scrape and discard. Otherwise retain the seeds; they add a mild crunch to the rice.

In a wide, deep skillet, roast the ingredients for the spice mixture in a tsp of oil. Cool and grind to a fine powder. In the same skillet, boil bittergourd in 2 cups of water along with salt, turmeric powder and ½ tbsp of tamarind paste. When the gourd has turned soft (but not mushy), drain and discard the liquid.

Return the skillet back to heat. In a tbsp of oil, splutter mustard seeds and roast curry leaves. Add the cooked bittergourd, along with ½ tsp of turmeric powder, jaggery and rest of the tamarind paste. On a medium fire, gently roast the gourd. When they start to caramelize, add the spice powder, rice and salt. Mix thoroughly and heat through. If the rice seem very dry, drizzle a tsp of oil. Check for seasoning and serve hot with raita and chips.

Pavakkai sadam with cucumber+tomato+cilantro raita

35 comments:

jayasree said...

wow.. bittergourd rice. Sounds interesting. I will try this soon.

Nirmala said...

Looks exotic. Amma makes a milder version of this sans the spices. The way the bittergourd pieces get cooked in simply pan roasting they turn to be an absolute delight in the mildly tangy rice. I have it in my blog. This looks like a bolder sister of the same which I would love to try. The pics with contrasting colors are catchy enough to inspire :)

Ramya Kiran said...

This is one vegetable i hate but your rice is making me drool.

RAKS KITCHEN said...

Dont know any recipes other than pitlai and fries,thaks for this awesome recipe!

Prathibha said...

Hey what a coincidence..I too posted a bitter gourd recipe today..Do chk my blog when u get time...
Thats a lovely idea of converting into rice.

Shyam said...

One recipe definitely bookmarked to try, you betcha. Gorgeous as usual photos, Suganya! :)

Chitra said...

Looks superb!! awesome pics!!
Have bookmarked!!

Priya said...

you are making me say yummm for pavakkai Sug! Only after I came here did I start eating pavakkai, never went anywhere close to it as a kid. I enjoy it as chips now, since its hardly bitter then, and anything crispy is gooood :) This might be the next step for me (and a giant leap for my tastebuds...? :D blame NPR)

Soma said...

I have never ever heard of bitter gourd rice! I love bittergourd (tho only one in the family) .. should make this treat for myself.

arundati said...

the pics as always are beautiful... i love bittergourd.. i can eat any preparation of it. i must try this one.

veda murthy said...

very interesting! i will give this a try!

Suparna said...

hi,
The spiced karela rice seems very interesting, I've never had bittergourd this way ever :) The recipe has the itching to try out effect ;)so shall try this one the next time I pick up karelas :)
The click is brilliant!
Keep rocking!
Thanks

Nina Timm said...

I don't know bitter gourd at all....herb or veg???The rice looks fragrant and delicious!!!!

My comfort food network said...

Looks good. Although I eat bittergourd, I am not a big fan of it. But this bittergourd recipe might taste better with rice then as it is.

Cilantro said...

I made the masala pavakkai curry that Amma makes and mixed it with the left over rice. It was for my quick fix lunch I made for myself.
Should try it for my family next time.

Poornima Nair said...

This is a new n interesting dish. Am gonna try it soon.

veggie belly said...

This is unique! I usually make chips with pavakkai - soak it in butter milk, then toss it with rice flour, turmeric and chili powder and either bake or fry the chips. This is such a great way to change up the routine bittergourd recipes!

Dee said...

I dont know if it will be too many flavors added , but i'd like to give it a try with kalonji and saunf with the cinnamon . Its my favorite veggie !

Kitchen Flavours said...

Never tried this combo...looks yummylicious.....

Jhanani said...

I have never made bittergourd rice. This one is must to try in my list, now. Thanks for sharing.

Priti said...

Now this is cool...very interesting indeed...wonderful recipe...a sure try for me

Parita said...

Looks gorgeous but I somehow cant tolerate bitter gourd, have tried many times, its just too bitter for me :(

archana said...

Who knew ! Defanitely makes me want to try it. Photos are beautiful.

Aparna said...

I love pavakkai (and I'm the only one here) but never heard of pavakkai saadam before. Shall make this on those days when I have to cook only for myself. :)

Pavithra Kodical said...

I am not familiar with much recipe using bittergourd. This rice looks delicious, will try and surprise my FIL.

Joan Wainscott said...

I have bought my first bitter gourd from local Indian restaurant here in Brookfield, WI and am ready to try this interesting recipe this weekend. But I do not know which kind of rice to use...would brown basmati be good? Or white basmati or jasmine or.....??? I dabble in wonderful Indian recipes but my husband is not a fan, so I too cook Indian for myself! What fun I have with this..I come from a Polish/Lithuanian family background. Thank you for your easy to follow recipes and GREAT pics!

Jayashree Arun said...

Hey Suganya,
Thanks for the good idea.. I tried at home and it came out good. Got a welcome from my hubby too for this dish. But it was a little too much heat coming from the red chillies which my stomach couldn't bear. For people who are not that ardent fan of hot and spicy food, my suggestion would be to put 4-5 chillies. This dish worth trying.

Vaishali said...

Wouldn't have dreamed of making bitter gourd rice-- sounds just wonderful, though. Desi loves bitter gourd so gotta try this the next time.

Suganya said...

Veggie Belly, soaking gourd in buttermilk sounds great. I will try that :).

Joan, I have used Basmati rice here. But you can use any long grain rice.

Jayashree Arun, Thanks for trying the recipe. I am sorry it was spicy for you. I guess its the red chillies. The ones I use are milder.

kitchen queen said...

wow ur pavakkai sadam is vey interesting and sounds tasty. I have made lot of other dishes with pavakkai but not rice. I am going to makeit. You can visit my bog and view my recipes and give ur comments

Nithya said...

I am not sure if I am too late here.. but I am absolutely happy that I am here finally. :) You have a mind blowing blog and I have totally fallen for it. :) Absolutely phenomenal photography. Super cool presentation. you really rock. keep it going. I would be here very often in fact. :)

Do take a peep into my blogs sometime.

Sunshinemom said...

I love the way you make food come alive in your pictures! Pavakkai in rice is totally new. A must try!

Miri said...

I love pavakkai in any form, the more bitter the better - this looks like such a nice fuss free recipe

Weekend Carnivore said...

Thanks for that..I have seen those in the supermarket but didn't really know what to do with them.

jayasri said...

This is my first time in your blog, you have a really really lovely blog.., with so many beautiful recipes, never made a pavakka rice, thanks for the idea, lovely clicks too..,

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