Recipes Beyond Borders- sometimes Exotic, mostly Healthy, always Delicious

Ingredient: coconut oil

Goan Bitter Gourd Kokum Dal – Easy Indian Lentil and Gourd curry

Goan Bitter Gourd Kokum Dal – Easy Indian Lentil and Gourd curry

My first foray into Goan Cuisine, and it turned out so well! I found a large variety of vegetarian recipes to try out, and wanted to use ingredients specific to the Goan and Konkani cuisines. The Goan Bitter Gourd Kokum Dal that I finally came up with, tick marked all the boxes I set for the post: Tasty, nutritious, easy, authentic and it incorporated the two ingredients I had been set for this month’s Goan Theme challenge from the FB group I belong to, Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. More about this group, later on.

First, a little about some of the ingredients I used to make the Goan Bitter Gourd Kokum Dal. The recipe I finally firmed up  after browsing the internet and the few cookbooks I could find, needed kokum as well as terphal, a species related to the Himalayan Sichuan Pepper (which seems to be variously known as teppal, tefla etc). I consulted my daughter Mridula as to what the ‘tefla’ in the recipe was (I thought it was a kind of fish!)  I could have tried sourcing the kokum and terphal in one of the many Mangalorean stores dotted around Bangalore, but then opted to buy them online from amazon as I was not sure I would be able to get the terphal spice elsewhere. The rest of the ingredients were ones I already had at home. Bitter gourd or karela is a favourite on my dining table. If you hesitate to take karela because of the bitterness, then do try it in this dish – the jaggery, the kokum and the spice all go to reduce the bitterness and in fact enhance the taste of the bitter gourd. And you know it is chock full of nutrition and health benefits, right?

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Capsicum Morekuzhambu and Fried Karela Rounds

Capsicum Morekuzhambu and Fried Karela Rounds

You know how it is when since morning nothing goes right? Woke up with a headache when there was so much to do. Business appointment got cancelled for the 3rd time in as many days.I hadn’t done my weekly veggie shopping and it was too late to order online in time to prepare lunch. New driver didn’t turn up for work so I couldn’t go to the store. However Bangalore weather decided to be merciful after the oppressive humidity of the last few days, and there was a pleasant breeze blowing in from my kitchen balcony. The Chinese chimes were ringing like mad. So I decided to get rid of my ill humour and make one of my favourite meals – Capsicum Morekuzhambu.

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Green Cabbage Kootu- not quite as my grandmother made it

Green Cabbage Kootu- not quite as my grandmother made it

Memories of winter evenings at Kharagpur, with my mother making phulkas on a cowdung cake chulha, and we children sitting around with plates of salad and this delicious Cabbage Kootu, impatiently waiting for the next hot phulka to land on our plates. Cabbage can be tasty too!

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