Pavakka( bitter gourd) is definitely not one of the most popular vegetables especially among kids. I was also one of them but have grown to like its bitter taste keeping in mind its health benefits. The bitter gourd is a powerhouse of nutrients, being an excellent source of several vitamins, iron, folic acid, phosphorus and dietary fiber. More details can be found here.
2 medium pavakka (bitter gourd)
1/2 heaping cup toor dal (yellow lentils)
1/4tsp turmeric powder
6tbs fresh grated coconut
1 1/2tbs coriander seeds
6-8 dry red chillies or to taste
a small ball of tamarind
salt to taste
1sprig curry leaves
For the tempering:
1/2tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies
Wash the dal in several changes of water. Add double water, turmeric powder and some salt to the dal and pressure cook or cook in an open pan till soft and mushy.
Soak the tamarind in some warm water and extract all the pulp.
Slit the pavakkas into two and deseed them. Wash and slice thinly. Place the pavakka pieces in a pan, add salt, cover and cook till all the water that is released has evaporated.
Add the oil and fry till brown and crisp. Keep aside.
Grind together the coconut, coriander seeds, peppercorns and red chillies with some water to a smooth paste.
Mix together the dal, coconut paste, tamarind water, curry leaves and salt to taste. Add sufficient water to adjust the consistency. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8-10mins stirring frequently.
For the tempering, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they splutter add the red chillies. When browned pour over the pitla.
Stir in the fried pavakka just before serving with rice.