Ashgourd cooked in a spicy, sweet and tangy sauce/Puli koddel

This is a quintessential konkani recipe. It is a very popular dish prepared during special occasions as it doesn't have onions or garlic in it. Also no function or ceremony would be complete without this dish. Growing up, I was never really fond of this dish, but of course, now, I love it.

This dish has very unique flavors from the roasted coconut, varieties of spices roasted in oil, and the sweetness from jaggery and sourness from tamarind, and the toasted sesame seeds complements all the flavors making it an unique dish.

Typically, this dish is prepared using Winter Melon or Ash gourd. However, you can also prepare this using pumpkin, zucchini or cucumber, and it tastes equally great.

Ingredients:

Ashgourd/Winter melon peeled and cut into cubes about 2 cups

For seasoning:

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Curry leaves 1 sprig/5 to 6 leaves

Cooking oil about 4 tsp

Salt to taste

Tamarind 1 medium sized lump

1/2 tbsp jaggery

Salt to taste

Coconut gratings about 1/2 cup

Fry the below items in 2 tsp oil:

Coriander seeds 1 tbsp

Red chillies 6, or more if you want to make it spicy

Bengal gram dal/Chana dal 1 tsp

Fenugreek seeds or methi 1/4 tsp

Turmeric powder/haldi 1/4 tsp

Asafoetida a pinch

Raw rice washed 1 tsp

Black sesame seeds/til 3 tsp

Method:

1) Cook Ashgourd with little turmeric and jaggery/brown sugar.

2) Meanwhile, in a saute pan, toast/roast the coconut gratings until light brown. Be careful not to burn.

3) Fry ingredients from Coriander seeds to raw rice in little oil, and keep aside.

4) Wash the sesame seeds and drain the water and and roast till dry.

5) In a blender, add the roasted coconut, fried ingredients along with sesame seeds and tamarind and blend to a paste using little water - the masala need not be very fine.

6) Add the masala/paste to the cooked ash gourd, add water, salt and water to make a thick gravy and bring it to good rolling boil.

7) Heat oil in a small pan. When heated through, add mustard seeds; when it starts sputtering, follow with curry leaves and add this over the curry.

Serve hot with rice.

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