Pavakkai bajji – Bittergourd fries

pavakkai bajji - bittergourd fries

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.

bittergourd fries with millets

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

Click here for – Bittergourd salad. 

Click here for – Porichakozhambu

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pavakkai bajji - bittergourd fries

Pavakkai bajji - Bittergourd fries

gluten-free, trainer recipe with bittergourd.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Snacks
Cuisine Autumn, diabetic friendly, Fusion, gluten free, Indian, South indian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

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.

the bittergourd

  • 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)

Instructions
 

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

Notes

Some pointers while deep frying

It is best not to reuse the oil that has been used for deep frying. To reduce the quantity of oil used in one-time frying I place about half-inch oil in a small heavy-bottomed pan. The oil is just enough to allow the bajji to float while deep frying. When this oil gets used up you can add another small quantity to continue frying.
Maintaining the temperature helps the bajjis not to absorb a whole amount of oil. This is where the heavy-bottomed pan comes handy. It maintains the heat achieved with medium constant heat.
To test if the oil is ready, drop a small bit of the batter into the hot oil (not smoking hot). If it sizzles instantly and floats the oil is ready.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Archana
9 months ago

I love bitter gourd much to my family’s dislike. Then I do try adding them to our meals . This bhajiya will be a great idea. Thanks liked the use of ragi flour with besan.

Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
9 months ago

I am somehow not a fan of pavakka, but umma makes a mulakittathu, which I can have a few pieces. The bhajji sounds like a very interesting idea, that may make me try this vegetable…

Lata Lala
9 months ago

Nit a karela fan but making Bittergourd fries sounds good. Use of ragi flour along with besan is a wow idea too.

hem lata srivastava
hem lata srivastava
9 months ago

No one loves bitter guard in my family but this is good idea for serving the most healthy veggie. It looks absolutely delicious.
Thanks

Bless my food by Payal
9 months ago

Not only your kids, but now I am also looking forward to bitter gourd pizza from a bitter gourd super woman. Lol.
Till then relishing the bajji. Really looks yum.

Mayuri Patel
9 months ago

First of all, had no idea that there is a white variety of karela. I know of only two varieties the long one and the baby ones. I’m not a huge fan of bitter gourd but hubby loves it. In fact during our stay in Bangalore he always buys some karela bajji for himself from the Hot Chip Shop. I can surprise him with the bajji here in Mombasa by following your recipe.

Padma Veeranki
9 months ago

We love bitter gourd and I make it quite often in many forms but never tried making bajji…I’m sure it must have tasted great…Also liked the addition od ragi flour…Will definitely try sometime!!

Hayley
9 months ago

Can you believe me we have not tried a karela bhajiya yet? always made a sabji with it. I would like to try once, as this sounds delicious!

Sandhya Ramakrishnan
Sandhya Ramakrishnan
9 months ago

Why did I not try making this before. We love Bitter gourd and we grow a tons of it. Love this recipe for pavakkai bajji. My new found favorite to make with pavakkai.

Sapana
Sapana
8 months ago

They look so crispy and delicious 😋 I love bitter gourd so will def try this recipe😍

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