Thursday, May 10, 2007

From Guntur - Kakarakaaya Bellam Vepudu- RCI- Andhra Cuisine

(Bitter gourd with jaggery)
'Vepudu' on Telugu is a dry curry, vegetables or meat are cooked until the water content is evaporated. The end result is a semi-crispy vegetables or meat packed with flavor.
Bitter gourd is one vegetable that needs some skill to make a tasty dish out of it. One small mistake or neglect would result a very unappetizing preparation. The preparation of a good bitter-gourd dish starts with selecting right gourds. Choose gourds which are not too young (no flavor) or too bulky and old (hard to cook, bitterness is too harsh).
There are numerous ways that karela can be prepared; but, this one is close to my heart, as it blends most of the 6 tastes (Salt, Pungency, Bitterness, Sweet, Astringent, Sourness)

What you need to make this 'Vepudu':

6-7 medium sized bitter-gourds (karelas)
1/4 medium onion, sliced
2 green chilies, chopped
1-2 tbsp jaggery
2 tbsp turmeric powder (I'm not out of my mind :-) Please see under Prep Work)
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp red chili powder (depending on tolerance)
5 tbsp cooking oil
Salt to taste
and tadka items: 1tsp each chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, cimun seeds, two sprigs curry leaves

Prep Work:
-Quarter karelas, and slice into 1/4th inch thick pieces. Sprinkle salt and turmeric powder, rub well, keep aside for 30 minutes. As the salt and turmeric powder are absorbed, salt brings out the excess water in the karelas, turmeric powder, adds a fabulous flavor.
-Squeeze well either by hand or in a kitchen towel and then squeezing; either way, the pieces should look wilted by the end.
-Grind garlic cloves and red chili powder together.(Mortar and Pestle or a back of spoon work better than a food processor/blender)

  • Heat oil in a wide skillet or wok. Add the tadka items in the order given.
  • Add the karela pieces, mix well. Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, turning occasionally. The karela pieces should be done half-way through.
  • Add onion and green chilies. Mix well and cook for another 15 minutes or until the karela pieces are well-cooked, i.e., the pieces are soft to bite with a crispy outer layer, doesn't feel like a piece of mulch when you bite.
  • Add chili powder mixture and jaggery. Mix well and cook for another minute or two.
  • Serve with rice and mudda pappu (plain boiled toor dal/pigeon peas) with a spoon of ghee.

    • My contribution for RCI-Andhra Cuisine.


    Aruna( said...


    I like kakarakaya, will try ur way. do check out my kakarakaya theeyal!!!

    Raji said...

    kakarakaya to em chesina naku istame
    my mom does this but flowy stuff

    Vani said...

    Aruna, you have a nice blog.
    raji, in Guntur Dist, they make Kaakarakaaya Pulusu, which is soupy. That is too heavenly. Difference between that and this dish is that, no tamarind pulp is used in this recipe. In our family, everybody loves kakarakaaya.

    Suma Gandlur said...

    A nice recipe. We make kakarakaya vepudu the same way. It becomes delicious by adding jaggery, right?

    sra said...

    This is one of the nicest ways to have kaakarakaaya, I miss home now!

    Vani said...

    suma, yes. jaggery though added in a very little uantity, does lift-up the curry to a whole new level.
    sra, I miss my mom whenever I make something that I learnt from her.