Kakarakaya pesaru pappu koora is a curry with grated kakarakaya (bitter gourd) and pesaru pappu (moong dal). Bitter gourd, as the name suggests is a bitter vegetable and disliked by many. There are many ways to cook this vegetable to reduce the bitterness. One way is to marinate the vegetable with salt and then squeeze off all the juices from the vegetable. Addition of moong dal to the curry also helps in camouflaging the bitter taste to some extent.
One of my cousins makes this kakarakaya pesaru pappu koora with grated kakarakaya (bitter gourd). This bitter gourd moong dal curry is similar to grated bitter gourd curry, with addition of moong dal. It is easy to make and must try for bitter gourd fans.
I apologize for the bad pictures and those do not do justice to the curry. I was too lazy to take the pictures again and will try to replace them very soon, next time I make this curry. I always say that but never end up coming back to replace them 🙁 I hope to stick to this promise this time.. 🙂
Total Time: 1 – 1 ½ hours
Prep Time: ½ – 1 hour (to marinate bitter gourd with salt before squeezing the juices)
Cooking Time: 20 – 25 minutes
- 3 small – medium size Bitter Gourd ~ Karela ~ Kakarakaya, about 6-7” long
- ½ tsp. Salt
- Punch of Turmeric
- 2 tbsp. Moong Dal ~ Pesaru Pappu
- 2 tbsp. Oil
- ½ tsp. Cumin
- 3-5 Curry Leaves
- ½ small Onion, chopped (about ¼ cup chopped )
- 3 small Green Chilies, cut into 3 pieces
- 2 tsp. Garlic paste or crushed Garlic
- ¾ tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
- ¼ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- ¾ – 1 tsp. Coriander Powder
- Pinch of Turmeric Powder
- 1 tbsp. Roasted Sesame Seeds, powdered
- ¾ tsp. Sugar (adjust to one’s preference)
- Cilantro to garnish.
- Lightly scrape bitter gourd, wash, trim the edgges and grate using a wide grater.
- Add ½ tsp of salt and turmeric to grated bitter gourd. Mix well and keep aside for at least ½ hour. I kept it aside for 1 ½ hours and this step can be done ahead of time as well. If cooking the curry in the morning, do this step night before.
- Soak dal for at least 30 minute to one hour. I soaked the dal for 1 ½ hours.
- Before cooking the curry, squeeze the juices from bitter gourd and keep aside. Marinating bitter gourd with salt will release lot of juices, so squeeze it well. This also reduces the bitterness of the gourd.
- Heat oil in a pan. I used a stainless steel pan and for this quantity, a small 8 ½” pan will suffice.
- When oil is hot, add cumin seeds and curry leaves.
- When seeds are roasted, add onion, green chilies and saute until onions are soft.
- Add garlic and saute for few seconds.
- Add coriander powder, chili powder, salt, turmeric and give a good stir.
- Discard water, add soaked dal and stir until spices coat dal.
- Add grated bitter gourd, stir, cover and cook on low flame.
- Stir intermittently until dal and bitter gourd are cooked. If necessary sprinkle some water.
- Remove cover and saute for few more minutes.
- Add sesame seed powder, sugar, stir and continue frying. Add these in the final stages, few minutes before turning off the flame.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.
- Bitter gourd is a bitter vegetable and I feel regardless of what one does, the vegetable will taste bitter. The degree of bitterness varies depending on how it is cooked. I like the vegetable and the bitter taste of it. I add less sugar and one can add more depending on taste, to reduce the bitterness of the vegetable.
- I made a small portion and cooked in a small pan. Hence cooked on medium to low flame. Despite that, I over cooked the curry and hence it looks a bit dry in the photos. Use appropriate flame and do not over cook the curry. One might end up with crispy moong dal.