Wednesday 24 December 2014

Pakkoda Curry (பக்கோடா கறி)

Traditionally bottle gourd (சுரைக்காய்) is not used in Tamil Brahmin cuisine. However, bottle gourd being similar to pumpkins can be used to make curry, kootu or gravy. This vegetable is rich in vitamin C, iron and zinc. In native medicine, bottle gourd is used to treat indigestion, heart burn, constipation and jaundice. Because of low calorie content, it is widely used in weight loss diet. In this recipe, pakkodas made with bottle gourd are cooked in spicy gravy. Pakkoda curry is popular in my home and it goes very well with chapatti or roti.

For the pakkodas:
Bottle gourd – medium sized, 1 no
Green chilli paste – 1 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
Bengal gram flour – 1 small hollow ladle or 50 ml measure
Rice flour – 1 tablespoon
Salt – to taste
Oil – for deep frying

For the gravy:
Tomatoes – 5 no
Onions – 4 no
Ginger garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
Green chilli paste – 1 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
Coconut – grated, 2 tablespoons
Poppy seeds – 1 teaspoon
Cashew nuts – 1 tablespoon (optional)
Garam masala powder – ½ teaspoon
Bay leaves – 1 no
Cinnamon – 1” piece
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tablespoon
Coriander leaves – chopped, 1 tablespoon

Method: Peel the bottle gourd, cut into halves, remove the seeds and grate the flesh. Add salt to the gratings, mix well and keep aside for 20-30 minutes. Later squeeze the liquid from the grated gourd. Save this liquid in a bowl. Now add green chilli paste, Bengal gram flour and rice flour to the grated gourd. Mix well and shape into balls. Keep aside.

Pakkodas ready for frying
Heat oil in a kadai; once the oil is ready, drop 2-3 balls gently into the oil and fry till they turn golden brown on all sides. Place the fried pakkodas on tissue paper for the excess oil to drain.

Deep fried pakkodas
Cut onions and tomatoes into cubes. Grind onions and tomatoes into a fine paste. Heat oil in another kadai, add cinnamon and bay leaves, and sauté for a minute. Now add the ground paste and mix well. Cover and cook on medium flame till oil separates. Now add in ginger-garlic paste, green chilli paste, salt, garam masala and liquid squeezed from the vegetable; sauté for a minute.

Grind coconut, poppy seeds and cashew nuts into a very fine paste. Dissolve it in ½ teacups (100ml) of water and add to the kadai. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pakkodas, mix well and simmer for 3 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and switch off the stove. Let the curry settle for 5-10 minutes. You may now serve pakkoda curry with roti, pulka, paratha or chapatti.

Pakkoda Curry (பக்கோடா கறி)
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