Paavakkai crisps | Bittergourd chips

I am getting all tangled up trying to put down what exactly I want to do in the new year. My first line is about cleaning the combs and hair-brushes regularly, my second one is about writing a book and the third one is cooking a new vegetable every week. My canvas encompasses my home, the beings in it, the dust on the windows, writing a book, losing weight, worrying about all the plastic…

Paavakkai crisps

I am mixing up things on so many levels, it makes my head spin. So I decided to take each area of interest and write down a list of resolutions for each. So I’ll start with my favourite place – the kitchen.

These are my kitchen resolutions

  1. I will cook one new/rarely cooked vegetable a week.
  2. I plan to fast once a week or go on an all-fruit diet one day a week depending on my mood that week. I have seen enough whatsapp forwards to believe that fasting is good for the body and lemons can cure cancer.
  3. I will use up my exotic ingredients before I buy more exotic ingredients. I have some un-identified millets, a pack of phool makhana, a big jar of shrimp paste among many other things.
  4. I’ll plan the weekly menu every Sunday so that I am prepared through the week and we’re not forced to order in. I don’t want to deal with all those plastic containers and plastic covers.
  5. I will be more patient while frying onions and waiting for the oil to separate from the masala. It makes a lot of difference.
  6. I’ll try to cut down the sugar in my coffee and Horlicks, but I don’t promise anything.
  7. I will try a little harder to seek out the plumpest seetapazham (sitaphal / custard apple), the sweetest sapota (chikku), the best long-grained basmati rice. Many times, the big chain stores don’t have the best produce. The paati at the market has the freshest greens. I am going to try buying produce anywhere I see them like my maamiyaar. She will stop on a highway, on a jammed road and walk into unknown farms to get her hands on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Paavakkai crisps

I’ve never bought Paavakkai before because I could not process that much of bitterness. I hadn’t devised a way to make it better. Until now. On a recent shopping trip, I thought I needed to try vegetables that I didn’t usually try. I was buying the same vegetables. I decided there in front of the heap of Paavakkai that I’d try one new/rarely cooked vegetable a week. I thought why not Paavakkai? When I picked up the Paavakkai, the image of these paavakkai crisps flashed in my mind. It was a vision. I knew I had to make paavakkai crisps. I may have scrolled through some pavakkari crhips images on Instagram the previous days. All the same, I had an idea and I did not really trust it to turn out so well. I very gingerly bit into the a paavakkai chip, bracing myself for the bitterness. It wasn’t as bitter at all. I was delighted. It was crispy, spicy and had the faintest undertone of bitterness, just enough to make these crisps stand out from other vegetable chips. In fact, the slight bitterness was what made it special. These paavakkai crisps reminded me of kothavarangai vathal. These crisps go splendidly with rice and dal or curd rice. Absolutely lip-smacking meal. Enjoy!

Paavakkai crisps
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Paavakkai crisps
These Paavakkai crisps are crispy, spicy and have the faintest undertone of bitterness, just enough to make these crisps stand out from other vegetable chips!
Paavakkai crisps
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
4 people
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
4 people
Paavakkai crisps
Instructions
  1. Slice the paavakkai/bitter gourds as thin as you can. Sprinkle salt on then sliced gourds and rest for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the liquid from the paavakkai and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the rice flour and spice powders to the bowl. You don’t have to add salt at this stage as you have already added salt in the previous step. Mix with your hands so that all the paavakkai are evenly coated. Drizzle some oil all over and mix again. Rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a heavy cast iron pan. When the pan turns hot, place the spiced paavakkai slices in a single layer on the pan. Keep the heat low. When the underside is browned (5-10 minutes), flip them over and cook the other side till that side is browned as well. The paavakkai would have turned crisp by now. Remove on to a plate. Repeat with the remaining paavakkai in batches. Serve with rice and dal. Enjoy!
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