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)
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut
4 tspn coriander seeds
1/4 medium onion
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!