I remember waiting eagerly for Vinayaka Chaturthi (Chovathi in Konkani) to come, to run to my paternal uncle’s place. The eldest member of our family, my uncle would celebrate Vinayaka Chaturthi every year, seeking the blessings of Lord Ganapathi (Ganesha), for the health, happiness and prosperity of all the members of our family. The celebrations would last for 5 to 7 days with feast after feast, culminating in pooja (worship) and a send off to the idol of the Lord.
Nearly a hundred members of the family from all over the country and a good number of close friends would come together to make it a gala occasion for all of us. One of the favored pickles served at the feast was karathya nonche or bitter gourd pickle. Hot, spicy and savory, with the natural bitterness of deep-fried bitter gourd, this instant pickle was a synonym for goodness in the itinerary of the gourmet guests.
Yesterday, when my husband went to the village to pick up his newspaper, he found a farmer squatting with a heap of organic tender bitter gourds. On his return, he put a little bundle in my hands, and I was delighted to have locally grown, fresh, green bitter gourds so late in the season. Then and there, I made some karathya nonche. It tasted so good that I just had to share the recipe with you! Enjoy this delicious bitter gourd pickle with any rice dish, or with idlis, appos, dosas or surnalis.
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