Wednesday, 4 January 2012




          Karaathya kocholu or deep fried bitter gourd bits are made and used by Konkanis to make many delicious side dishes such as karaathya sagglea version ‘A’, karaathya saggleaversion ‘B’, karaathya sagglea version ‘C’ (for those who do not take garlic and onion), karaathya kismori, karaathya koote and karaathya nonché.

          Karaathya kocholu is also loved by many to eat just by itself or with rice, porridge, cherupayar kanji or with gruel. Bitter gourd is in season now in Kerala. So whenever you see some nice bitter gourd in the market, do buy some (preferably organic if available) to make lots of karaathya kocholu and try cooking these six beautiful recipes and enjoy.

          Incidentally, if you deep-fry the bitter gourd bits in good quality oil, they will keep for up to two months when stored in dry airtight containers.


     1)    Bitter gourd – 2 kg.

     2)    Powdered salt – 4 teaspoons
     3)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil - to deep fry

To Make:

          Wash the bitter gourd. Use a sharp knife to split the bitter gourd lengthwise into two halves. Remove the seed core. Chop the bitter gourd to fine pieces of around 7 to 8 mm. in size.

          Sprinkle the salt and mix nicely with your hand. Set aside to marinate for 45 minutes. Now grab a fistful of pieces, squeeze off as much water as you can and transfer to another vessel. Once all the pieces are squeezed dry, set a wok on high heat. Pour in the cooking oil (use just enough oil to deep-fry the pieces in 3 or 4 batches, since the used oil becomes bitter and cannot be used to fry or to cook anything else except bitter gourd dishes such as karaathya podi, karaathya talaasan, karaathya sagglea or karaathya bhajjilé upkari).

          As soon as the oil is hot and just about to smoke, put in just enough pieces as will remain immersed in the oil. Stir occasionally. If the oil starts to smoke, lower the heat since all food fried in smoking oil is bad for health. As soon as you can feel the crispiness of the pieces when you stir them with the ladle, turn down the heat to minimum and lift out the fried pieces with a perforated ladle or sieve.

          Drain off all the excess oil and set aside to cool while frying the next batch. Once all the pieces are done and have cooled to room temperature, keep them in an airtight container.

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