Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kaiypakya theeyal

This thick aromatic, curry with kaiypakya or bitter gourd reminds me of festivals at my mother's home. Onam after the monsoons and Vishu heralding the spring and new year demands this curry at the feast. So when Sujala asked for my mom's recipe, I went directly to the source for the authentic formula. So here it is, Sujala especially for you with comments from mummy. Thanks, Vaishali for passing on Sujala's request to me.

1 bitter gourd
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilly powder (add more if you like your curry hot, really also depends on how hot the chilly powder is)
tamarind pulp
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut
4 tspn coriander seeds
1/4 medium onion
curry leaves
mustard seeds.

Chop the bitter gourd into small pieces (Remove seeds if they are mature. If the gourd is too bitter, just rinse it in cold water. If you want to remove all the bitterness, wash in salted water. Try not to, however since most of the nutrients get washed off as well).
Fry the gourd in a little (very little) oil, keep aside.
Boil some water with turmeric, chilly powder, salt. Cook the gourd.
Add tamarind pulp (My comment: I added about a tablespoon but then the pulp was too sour so I added a bit of sugar to cut the sourness)

Meanwhile, roast the coconut, till it gets brown, keep aside. Then roast coriander seeds, keep aside. Then roast the onion, curry leaves. Grind well with a little water.
Add to the bitter gourd. Boil for a few minutes. Turn heat off. The curry should be nice and thick.

In a small kadai, add oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves (Wait for the mustard seeds to splutter before adding the curry leaves).  Pour this seasoning into the curry.
You can also make this curry with pearl onions in a similar fashion.

Enjoy with parboiled rice. (And other Malayali curries.) And ofcourse fried pappadams

Here is a wonderful variation by Sujala Chaudhari. She substituted Arbi (Colocasia, a form of Taro) for bitter gourd. She couldnt upload the picture so I had to put it in the body of the posting.
Here is Sujala's Arbi theeyal. Wonderful substitution, thanks for the suggestion, Sujala!


  1. I love how you add your mom's comments to the recipe. I remember her so well, and I can actually see her in my mind, talking to you as she guides/bosses you around the kitchen :). Such a lovely lady. You're lucky to have each other, Sangita.

  2. Oh, and forgot to add-- this is the recipe I'm going to make for this blog event called Blog Bites where you cook another blogger's recipe of a dish you've wanted to but never have tried before. I'll link up to your blog. Also, since Desi loves karela, it would be perfect.

  3. Oh thats great, Vaishali! Thank you!

    I'll tell my mom you remember her, she'd be thrilled!

  4. Thanks, Skay, for this recipe.

    I am a good cook 50% of the time, and bitter gourd is one of my favorite dishes. I will try your recipe at home soon. I hope my sweet wife loves my bitter dish.

    When I had cooked bitter gourd for her last time, she had sung praises for my dish for several weeks. Let us see this time. (Last time, I had simply used MTR Puliogare, of which I am a great fan.)

    (Thanks, Vaishali, for leading me to this recipe from your blog-site. Hope Lucy recovers quickly.)

    Regards, Rajendra

  5. I got here from Vaishali's site. This is such an interesting curry, it reminds me a little of a pahakai pitla we make in our home. (pahakai means bittergourd in tamil). I am surely going to try this theeyal, thanks for the recipe :-)

  6. Hi there Sangita. Finally made theeyal today. I used arbi instead of karela. I got the aroma right but, it didn't taste like the sooran theeyal I'd eaten, at this really fab Keralite restaurant. So I added more salt and chili powder and by lunch time, the flavours blended in a bit better. My picky four year old ate it - so a big pat on the back to self and a big thank you to Omana aunty. Will have to make it a few more times to earn my kaipunyam. Thank you so much. Got many more recipe requests. So will keep pestering you. Happy Cooking.

  7. Hi Sangita
    I gave it a shot today.
    I made it with arbi - I actually wanted to use sooran, but couldnt find any in the markets here.
    I got the aroma right, but the taste was only about 50% like Kerala Cuisine's (the restaurant which used to make this yummy sooran theeyal).
    My picky lil one ate it, so I can make it again.
    Will try it a few more times and hopefully it will be better each time.
    A big thank you to Omana aunty.
    Thank you so much for taking the trouble to post this one.
    Have a lot more recipe requests - avial, prawns ularthiyadu.... pls do keep posting more Malayali recipes.
    Happy Cooking!

  8. Thanks Rajendra, I hope your wife likes this dish!

  9. Hello Sangita, I landed here from your mom's peanut curry in Vaishali's..I enjoyed reading about your Mom!..Moms cook the best!..thanks for sharing such treasures with the world!


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