Bittergourd in the basket
If it is my husband who does the vegetable shopping for the week, there is one thing I can assure you will surely be there in that collection. Week after week, for sure, there will be bitter gourd. It might be the deep green ones, the white ones or sometimes the mellower bittermelons. Come what may surely there be a few.
Over a period of time I have a collection of recipes that I do with a bitter gourd that my family feels I am the superwoman of the bitter gourd. Jokingly, my kids even say I may even come up with bitter gourd pizza one day. Well, you never know, but they sure do know I am capable of it!!!
Recently I realised though I have all these recipes I hardly have shared any except the Bittergourd salad that my paternal grandmother taught us.
Why are we fond of the bitter gourd?
Bittergourd is an acquired taste for sure. The bitterness of this melon is the one that attracts us and at the same time repel our tastebuds.
Bittergourd has always been in traditional medicinal in India. It has been recorded as a great low-calorie vegetable with high amounts of antioxidants. Above all, I guess the popular belief that it is useful in diabetes sticks around. Growing up in these ideas we are so attuned to this vegetable that we cannot let go and come up with interesting ways to add it to our diets.
Today’s recipe is not really one which will bring out the best of the bitter gourd, but one where it is easy to train the kids to eat it, fries. Over a period if time my kids seem to handle more and more of it. So here is the trainer recipe – Pavakkai bajji. For this recipe, I actually prefer the mellower bittermelons or the white bitter gourd. I strongly disagree if you have to add salt to the bitter gourd and wring out all that juice as that just takes out a whole heap of good antioxidants and vitamins in the juice and leaves out mostly the fibres. The addition of finger millet flour makes these fries crispy, you can just stick to the regular chickpea flour batter if you like.
Changes, Changes, Changes.
I am making a change to the way I post these recipes. So All the step y step images will now come in the post, In that way, if you choose to print these recipes, It will be far less paper that you need to use. just to facilitate these, you will find the instructions kind of repetitive. I am sorry about that but bear with me till I find another way. Do try it out and let me know how it goes for you, your feedback is really important to the improvement of this site.
Pavakkai bajji – step by step
To get the batter ready:
Into a mixing bowl add the finger millet flour ( ragi), chickpea flour ( besan) , salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder See the recipe card for exact measurements. Mix the dry flours together and add water a little at a time. Mix it to form a smooth thick, lump-free batter. Set aside until use.
Prepare the bittergourd
Thinly slice the bitter gourd. Shake the slices well to remove the seeds.
Now to the bajjis
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed kadai (wok) and set to medium heat 9 check the pointers for deep frying in the recipe notes). Dip the slices of bittergourd in batter individually and place in the hot oil. As the bitter gourd slices sizzle flip them over. When the bubbles nearly reduce, remove the crispy fries on to adsorbent paper. The fries are now ready to be served with green chutney or ketchup.
Wait, before you go here are a couple more bitter gourd recipe
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Pavakkai bajji - Bittergourd fries
for the batter
- 4 tbsp chickpea flour (heaped)
- 3 tbsp finger millet powder (ragi flour)
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- 1 cup drinking water ( use only as required to make a thick batter.
- 1 large bitter gourd ( smooth bitter melon)
to make the fries - bajji
- 1 cup cooking oil ( any neutral oil that you use for deep frying, see further in recipe notes)
For the batter
- Into a mixing bowl add the finger millet flour ( ragi), chickpea flour ( besan) , salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder.
- Mix the dry flours together and add water a little at a time. Mix it to form a smooth thick, lump free batter.
To prep the bittergourd
- Wash and pat dry the bitter gourd.
- Thinly slice the bitter gourd. Shake the slices well to remove the seeds.
- Set aside till the oil is ready.
To make the fries
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed kadai (wok) and set to medium heat.
- Dip the slices of bittergourd in batter individually and place in the hot oil.
- As the bitter gourd slices sizzle flip them over.
- When the bubbles nearly reduce, remove the crispy fries on to adsorbent paper.
- The fries are now ready to be served with green chutney or ketchup