As a child I hated Bittergourd or Pagarkkai. It is a nutrient rich vegetable. As a mom, I try my best to get my kids to eat it, in vain.Some preparations they outright refuse but when I make varuval or chips, they are willing to try at least a little. It is a developed taste and mostly preferred by grown ups.
My recipe # 6 for Nupur's 7 day Countdown to new year recipe marathon . I chose something that is bitter in taste as it is one of the Arusuvai( six types of taste ) as called in Tamil .The Arusuvai are Kasappu(Bitter),thuvarppu(astringent), Uraippu(pungent) ,thittippu(sweet), uppu(salty) and pulippu(sour).Dishes made all over the world have different mixes of these taste groups.This recipe is from Aval Vikatan , a tamil monthly supplement featuring Chips variety.My mom sent me the magazine from India.
Pagarkkai Varuval / Bittergourd chips:
Rice flour 1/4 cup
Besan flour/ kadal maavu 1 tsp
juice of one lemon
turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
chilli powder 1/2tsp
sugar a pinch
Oil to fry
Salt as needed
1. Cut the bittergourd into uniformly thin round slices.In a bowl combine all the other ingredients .
2. Make sure all the slices of the bittergourd is coated .Take care to mix gently as not to break the slices.
3.Let it marinate for 15 minutes.It should not be too wet just coated .If the bittergourd becomes watery add a little more flour and adjust seasoning accordingly.
4.Heat oil and deep fry slices and remove when crisp and golden.
Varuval ready.You can enjoy this with any South Indian meal. We like to eat it like a snack too. Susvaad.