Heat oil in a tava. Saute shallots, garlic. Add tomato with salt and stir till tomatoes are smashed well. Now add bittergourd, mix well add pepper-cumin, chilli, turmeric powder and mix well. Add 1/2 glass of water, close the lid of tava and allow it to cook. When bittergourd is cooked add tamarind pulp with jaggery and bring it to boil. Check for salt. If not enough add enough salt and season it with mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and urad dal.
This gravy goes well with rice. The tomatoes, tamarind pulp, jaggery lessen the bitterness of bittergourd. 50 ml of coconut milk can be added further to reduce the bitterness if required.
“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” ― Laurie Colwin