For Day 4 of BM# 5, I made this mixed vegetable Bengali curry which interestingly includes bittergourd along with other veggies. Again recipe courtesy Sandeepa's Bong cookbook. In Andhra bitter gourd or kakarakaya is usually used mostly by itself and as far as I know is rarely cooked with other vegetables. So when I saw this recipe I thought it was very unique (at least to me since I've never tried this combination of veggies before) and wanted to give it a try. The veggies are cooked with mustard and poppy seed paste which gives the curry a totally different dimension. The dish turned out delicious in a very interesting and different way.
I followed the recipe to the T, except that I didn't have green beans on hand, so didn't use any. Also I added 2 dry red chilies to the blender when grinding the mustard and poppy seeds to add some heat to the curry.
Bitter gourd (Karela) - 1 medium, diced
Ridge gourd (Beerakaya) - 1 medium, chopped into half moons
Plantain (Raw banana) - 1 small, chopped into half moons
Potato - 1 medium, chopped into half moons
Japanese Eggplant - 1 medium, chopped into half moons
Ginger - 1" grated
Moong vadi - 1/2 cup, fried until golden brown
Milk - 1/3 cup
Salt - to taste
Methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds) - 1/2 tsp
Bay leaves - 2
Hing (Asafoetida) - 1/4tsp
For the paste:
Mustard seeds - 2tbsp
Poppy seeds - 1tbsp
Dry red chilies - 2
- Soak mustard seeds and poppy seeds in water for at least half an hour. Then drain the water and grind to a paste. Since the amount was so little, my blender blade didn't make a very smooth paste. I tried my best and gave up at the end.
- Sauté each veggie separately until lightly roasted about 3-4 minutes per veggie. Remove and set aside. Sauté bittergourd last.
- Add 2tbsp oil in the same pan; add methi seeds, bay leaves and hing and once the seeds turn reddish and hing starts to smell fragrant, add all the sautéed veggies. Add the ground mustard paste and grated ginger. Mix well.
- Next add milk, salt and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook till the veggies are tender and the water is all absorbed.
Add the fried moong vadi before serving. Serve hot with steamed rice at the beginning of the meal to cleanse the palette and get your digestive juices flowing.
Let's check out what my fellow marathoners have been cooking up today:
Curry in a hurry under 30 min: Priya Suresh, Srivalli, Usha
Seven Days of Colorful Dishes Kid's Special: Vardhini,
Seven Days of Indian Sweets: Harini, Suma, Veena
Seven Days of Regional Specials: Aarthi, Kalyani, Pavani, Shylaja
Summer Coolers: PJ, Vaishali
Under 15 mins Quick Breakfast: Sushma Pinjala