How to Make Bitter Gourd Chutney
An Authentic Indian Curry
I have fond memories of my mother's bitter gourd chutney. She had miraculous hands that made the most decadent foods in a cost-conscious way. She used very few ingredients; her recipes were simple yet always very delicious. This bitter gourd chutney is one of the recipes that I inherited from her.
This chutney is not at all bitter—it is like any other vegetable chutney. But . . . yes! It has the distinct flavor of bitter gourd. This chutney is a wonderful side dish with boiled rice or pancakes. Now, let me share the recipe.
An Important Tip:
This chutney needs to be more spicy, salty, and sour (balanced taste) compared to other chutneys. Use a slightly bigger quantity of chilies, tamarind, and salt. This combination comes out so well that you won't notice the slight bitterness!
- 1 1/2 cups bitter gourd, finely chopped after removing the fibrous inner part with seeds
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp white lentil, or de-husked split black lentil
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 pinches hing (asafoetida powder)
- 6-7 dry red chilies, moderate hot variety, broken
- 6 curry leaves
- 2-3 tsp oil, preferably coconut oil, or any other oil
- 2 tsp jaggery powder
- 2 cups coconut, grated
- 1 small lemon-size tamarind, soaked in very little water
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- Wash the bitter gourd and remove the fibrous inner parts (discard them). Chop the remaining portion. Put them in a bowl. Add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, mix once again. Squeeze bitter gourd pieces by tightly holding them inside your palm. This is how you remove the bitter water from them. Set the pieces aside.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add sesame seeds and white lentils. Saute them until golden brown. Throw in broken dry red chilies, curry leaves, coriander seeds, and hing powder. Saute for 30 seconds.
- Add grated coconut to the same pan. Mix together and fry over a very low fire to make the coconut a bit crispy. You should smell the very nice aroma of the fried coconut. Turn off the fire. Transfer the contents to a steel plate. Set aside cool.
- In the same pan, add remaining oil. Add bitter gourd. Saute for about 8-9 minutes or until bitter gourd shrinks, becoming dry and fried. Turn off the stove. Set aside cool.
- Take fried mix and cooked bitter gourd in a mixer or grinder. Add jaggery powder, soaked tamarind, and salt. Grind while adding water little by little to get a near-smooth, semi-solid sauce. Check for the taste. Add salt if necessary. Mix well.
- Bitter gourd chutney (hagala kayi) chutney is ready to serve! Enjoy with boiled rice or pancakes. Use it as a side dish for lunch or dinner. This chutney is tangy, sweet, and spicy all in one with a nice flavor of bitter gourd.