Bitter Gourd in a palate clearing sweet and spicy tamarind gravy - mom's recipe
Black sesame seeds usually come with a lot of tiny stones. Pick before using.
Saaru Podi can be substituted with homemade or store bought rasam powder or just red chilli powder if you have none of those at hand.
Brown sugar may be used as a substitute for Jaggery, but cannot replace the taste of Jaggery. When made correctly, the result will be a perfect combination of sweet, salty, hot, sour and bitter without a single trace of bitterness overpowering.
If after tasting the next day, if you feel the need for adjusting the taste, place it back in the kadai on heat, adjust seasonings and cook for a few mins on low to fix it.
Stores well up to 3 days at room temperature and up to a week in the refrigerator, it never lasts that long in our house though.
This recipe works equally well with Citron / Naarthangai / Heralekai, another classic bitter fruit.
Bitter Gourd Buying Tips:
Buy smaller light colored bitter gourds that look fresh, shiny and are firm and crisp to the touch with no spikes damaged or bruised. Darker ones are more bitter. Avoid gourds that are tending toward yellow.