Saturday, 14 January 2012




          Karaathya podi is a Konkani deep-fried bitter gourd side dish. Konkanis are usually great lovers of bitter gourd and make numerous dishes to serve with rice, gruel or with porridge. Some make thick soft podis with fresh bitter gourd which are relished while still hot and fresh with soft rice gruel or with rice and dalitoye (see my recipe). Others make thin round bitter gourd coins which are crispy and have hard brittle seeds in the middle to munch on. These coins keep for 2 to 3 days. Still others make crispy juliennes which can be stored in airtight containers for a week or two. In this recipe, I give you all these three forms. Do fry and enjoy.


     1)    Bitter gourd (to fry in any one form of your choice) – 1 kg.

     2)    Powdered salt – 2 teaspoons
     3)    Hot red chili powder – 2½ teaspoons
     4)    Roasted rice powder – 1 tablespoon
     5)    Asafoetida powder – ¼ teaspoon
     6)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
     7)    Cooking oil – to deep fry

To Make:

          You can cut your bitter gourd in any one of the forms shown in the photo. If you are simply slicing into coin like pieces, there is no need to remove the seeds. However, if you intend to cut into juliennes or into thicker arch pieces, you have to remove the seed core.

          Once cut, transfer to a bowl and sprinkle all the salt. Mix well with your fingers and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. At the end of the half hour, take a fistful of the pieces and squeeze hard to get rid of as much of the bitter juice as possible.

          Transfer to a mixing bowl and continue till all the pieces are squeezed dry. Sprinkle the turmeric powder, the chili powder and the asafoetida powder and mix well with a gloved hand. Now sprinkle the rice powder and mix again rubbing with your hand to make the rice powder stick quite nicely to the pieces.

          Set a wok or a deep pan on high heat. Pour in the cooking oil (see note no. 2). As soon as the oil is hot, put in enough bitter gourd pieces as will go comfortably into the wok without overcrowding. Stir gently for frying uniformly. When fried, lift out and drain off the excess oil. The thick arch pieces are generally taken out while still soft. The juliennes and the coins need to crisp up nicely before they are lifted out.

          Even convalescents who have lost their appetite for food will find their mouths watering when they take a bite of Karaathya Podi with rice.



     1)    Some of the rice powder will dislodge from the chips and settle at the bottom of the wok. Use a fine metal sieve to lift out the powder before it burns. Drain and set aside. Some people love to mix up this powder with soft rice and gulp it down with gusto.

     2)    Do not use too much oil to deep-fry, since the oil becomes bitter and useless for reuse. It is better to use less oil (150 ml. or so) and deep-fry in several batches rather than waste a litre or two of good oil.

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