Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bitter Gourd Pickle (Coated With Spice Powders)/ Kaarate Kudko

Bitter Gourd is one of my favorite vegetable (as weird as it sounds). My octogenarian Ammama makes the best Bitter Gourd Pickle which I will save for another post. When hale-o-hearty, she regularly sent a jar full of Bitter Gourd Pickle and other goodies for me. Last time when I visited my Ammama, she told me about this recipe of another version of Bitter Gourd pickle which her MIL used to made - Kaarate Kudko. She said she remembered it had a powdery coating of spices. She asked me to research more about it.

Few years later, I was invited for lunch at one of my dear Aunt's place. Since she knew I love Bitter Gourd, she had saved her latest batch of pickle for me. I was thrilled and delighted when she gifted me the tiny jar. I quickly grabbed a spoon and tasted a piece and indeed it was heavenly! I asked her the recipe and she informed me its called Kaarate Kudko. My quest ended there with the discovery. I quickly got the recipe and dabbled around with it till I got it right. Aunty perpetually has a jar of this pickle and her kids relish the flavourful pieces to the last bite. I make a small batch and refrigerate them in a glass jar since Bitter Gourds are prone to quick spoilage. The name essentially comes from Kudko which implies pieces and Kaarate implies Bitter Gourd in GSB Konkani, hence the name Kaarate Kudko. This recipe has an old world charm and a certain element of originality which fascinates me. I know very few families who pickle the gourds at home in this fashion. If you detest eating Bitter Gourd, you can pass off this post.

There are many versions of this pickle in practice, some where the spices are toasted and ground and some where the powders are directly added. Take your pick as per choice.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Bitter Gourd (chopped) - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon + 1/3 teaspoon
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida - Just a pinch

Wash the Bitter Gourd and trim off the ends. Chop them into 1/2" pieces, boil them in water which is salted with turmeric powder (1/2 tsp). Once the pieces are par-boiled, turn off the flame and drain the water off. Transfer to a kitchen paper and allow to cool thereby absorbing the moisture.
In a separate deep pan, heat few spoons of ghee and add all the spice powders. Reduce the flame to low. Add the boiled Bitter Gourd pieces and saute to get an even coating of spice powders all over the gourd. Adjust salt as per taste. The pieces would be crisp, bit fried by now. Turn off the flame and allow to cool. Transfer to a clean, sterilised glass jar and refrigerate after use. Goes well as a pickled serving with white rice or Paej.

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