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Pagarkai Pitlai

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Published under: South Indian

1/2 cup whole bengal gram
1 small lemon sized ball of tamarind
1 cup sliced bitter gourd
1.2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt to taste

Ground to a paste
3 tbsp grated fresh coconut
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
4-5 baby onions, peeled
3 dried red chillies
1/4 cup water

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp husked black gram
1 sprig curry leaves

1. Wash gram and soak in 1 cup water for 8 hours. Drain gram and rinse well. Place gram in a pressure cooker with 1 cup water. Cook under pressure for 5 minutes.
2. Soak tamarind in 1 1/2 cups water for 10 minutes. Extract juice and discard pulp.
3. Place tamarind juice, bitter gourd, turmeric powder and salt in a pan over moderate heat and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, till the raw aroma of tamarind disappears and gourd is tender.
4. Mix in cooked gram and ground paste. Simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, till well blended.
5. Heat oil for tempering in a small pan over moderate heat. Add remaining ingredients for tempering in the order given. When mustard seeds splutter, pour contents of pan into pitlai.

Serve hot with rice.

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