Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kaaraate Aambade Ghashi(Bitter Gourd Hog Plum Curry)

Kaaraate in Konkani is bitter gourd, a vegetable good for health, bitter in taste, yet a delicacy, if properly prepared. Hog Plums or aambade/amte kaayi are mostly available during the monsoon season, sour mango like fruits that develop a fibrous core when they mature. Tender ones are mostly added to pickles, and are less sour. Hog plums are complementary to the bitter gourd in most of the curries that GSBs cook. Since both the veggies are available in plenty during monsoon season, even for feasts like Gauri and Ganesh Festivals, a delicious curry is prepared as offering. That is Kaaraate Aambade Ghashi.

Long long ago, when I was a small boy, I used to attend the annual Gauri Festival at my maternal aunt Susheela Shenoy's house. There they used to make this wonderful curry. Though Bitter Gourd was hated by most of my contemporaries those days, I simply loved it! This ghashi has added jaggery which makes the curry even more tasty. The well balanced sweetness of jaggery, sour taste of hog plums, bitterness of bitter gourd and the subtle flavour of added spices and other vegetables topped with the seasoning in pure coconut oil makes this dish perfect.

Unknowingly, GSBs have developed an art of cooking different vegetables with different combination of masalas. I feel lucky to have born in a GSB household and more so, being a Mangalorean. This is my own formula after discussing with couple of knowledgeable experienced cooks about the possible ingredients that are added to the masala. I have also added couple of chopped Kantola or Teasel Gourd to this curry. 

As long as I remember, my mother never made this curry, but I still linger over the perfect Kaaraate Aambade Ghashi made by my Susheela Aunt and her daughters in law during the Gauri Festival in the Sixties and the Seventies. So, I dedicate this dish to my great aunt, Late Alevoor Susheela alias Padmavathi Shenoy, wife of Late Alevoor Srinivas Shenoy.
Bitter Gourd (Haagala Kaayi) - 300 Gms
Hog Plums (Amte Kaayi) - 4 (or a marble size ball of tamarind)
String beans (Alasande) - 150 Gms
Ridge Gourd (Heere Kaayi) - 150 Gms
Rock Salt - 1 Tsp (or table salt 2/3 Tsp)
Jaggery - 70 Gms (or 2 tbsp jaggery powder)
Grated Coconut - 2 Cups
Red Chillies - 4-5 short (Ramnadu, Parekal, Guntur or Parry) and 4 long (Byadgi)
Urad Daal - 1 Tsp
Coriander Seeds - 1 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/8 Tsp
Coconut Oil - 1 Tbsp + 1/2 Tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 Sprig (around 10-12 leaves)

Wash the vegetables thoroughly and drain.
Trim the ends of bitter gourd and cut them into four long pieces.
Remove the center core along with seeds if any, by pushing in your finger.
Chop them into 1/2 cm thick slices, apply little salt and keep aside for 15 minutes.
Shave off the sharp edges of the ridge gourd and chop them into 3/4 inch pieces.
Trim the ends of string beans, remove fiber if any and chop into 1 inch long pieces.
If the hog plums are well grown and the inside is fibrous, pound them using a stone mortar and pestle, and if tender, chop them into 4 pieces each.
Roast the chillies, urad daal and coriander seeds with 1/2 tsp oil.
Grind the dry masala ingredients into a powder first, and then add grated coconut and grind into as fine a paste as possible, adding minimum amount of water.
Boil 2 cups or half a cup extra water in a medium size vessel/pan and add the vegetables and remaining salt.
Simmer with lid on for at least 15-20 minutes, or until they are just soft.
Add jaggery and bring to a boil.
Add the ground masala paste, stir gently to mix well and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
Switch off the flame and check for salt.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil and prepare a seasoning with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Pour the seasoning over the curry, mix and serve hot with rice and rasam or daalithove.


Neena said...

super sir, I enjoy all u r recipes, thanks a lot for posting it..

Neena said...

super sir

Rajanikanth Shenoy, Kudpi said...

Welcome Neena. Thanks for your liking.

maria . K said...

quite good!

Rajanikanth Shenoy, Kudpi said...

Thank you. This is my personal favourite.


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