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June 24, 2010

Bitter Gourd Pitlai / Pavakkai Pitlai - Bitter gourd Recipes

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bitter gourd pitlai
I learnt this bitter gourd pitlai ( Pavakkai pitlai in Tamil) from my MIL. I love this pitlai a lot. I make this bitter gourd kuzhambu at least once in a week. My husband hates bitter gourd pieces but he eats this gravy alone.  This gravy tastes the best when mixed with plain rice topped with ghee. It tastes more like brahmin style arachuvitta sambar with the bitterness of pavakkai. Adding jaggery, sauting bitter gourd in oil before cooking or soaking bittergourd in curd for sometime helps to reduce the bitterness.But we like to have it as such as the bitter taste is healthy for stomach. Ok, lets see how to make bitter gourd pitlai /  pavakkai pitlai recipe below. For variations you can use brinjal / Kathirikai and make the same pitlai.

Bitter gourd pitlai recipe / Pavakkai pitlai

Bitter gourd pitlai recipe< Bitter gourd pitlai recipe - Pavakkai pitlai for rice. 
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Kuzhambu
Serves: Serves 2
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 15 Minutes
Total time: 25 Minutes


  • Bitter gourd - 1 no ( medium sized)
  • Moong dal - 1.5 tbsp
  • Tamarind - A big gooseberry size
  • Sambar powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt & water – As required
  • Grated coconut –2 tbsp
  • Urad dal – 2 tsp
  • Coriander seeds –3 tsp
  • Red chilli - 1 no ( optional)
  • Hing – 2 –3 pinches
  • Jaggery – a small berry size
  • Coriander leaves – a few to garnish.
To temper
  • Cooking oil - 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - a few

    • Soak the tamarind in water for 10 mins in hot water and extract the juice.
    • To reduce the bitterness of bitter gourd, slice it thinly and saute in 1 tbsp of oil till it becomes dark green. You can also soak the bitter gourd pieces in sour curd or buttermilk for 15 minutes, squeeze it well and then add to tamarind extract for cooking.
    • In a cooker vessel, take the tamarind juice, sliced bitter gourd pieces,moong dal, Sambar powder,salt & required water. Cook till one whistle.
pitlai tile2
    • In the mean time , heat a kadai with a tsp of oil .Roast the coriander seeds , urad dal, red chilli (optional) with 2 pinches of hing. Grind the roasted items with grated coconut to make a coarse powder or paste adding water.
pitlai tile1
    • Once the Bitter gourd is cooked , add the roasted , ground pitlai paste or powder and jaggery to it.Allow it to boil for sometime. Do the tempering and add to the gravy.
    • Garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy mixing with plain rice and ghee.
pitali tile3
    Enjoy !

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Shama Nagarajan said...

i too love this pitlai...nice click

Unknown said...

Nice dish.. looks perfect..

Indian Khana said...

New recipe with BG for me and its looks gud :)...I have tried ur pepper kulambu...will post soon :) it was yum


மிகவும் அருமையாக இருக்கின்றது...எங்க அம்மாவும் இதனை இப்படி தான் செய்யவாங்க....சூப்பராக இருக்கும்....பகிர்வுக்கு நன்றி

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Excellent with hot rice...

lata raja said...

I have copied down the many benefits of the bittergourd...I will stick it up on my fridge door...and point to it whenever there is a complain about cooking bittergourd:)
The pitlai looks delicious.

Sayantani Mahapatra Mudi said...

love this recipe. the pitali looks so creamy.

Ana Powell said...

Lovely and awesome colour ♥

Vikis Kitchen said...

Never tasted pitlai, heard of it...thanks for this recipe dear. I am reading the health benefits of BG again and again to memorize:)

Priya Suresh said...

Had this bittergourd pitlai long back, urs looks great and prefect always the health benefits everytime when u post ur dishes, very informative and useful for many of us..

sathya said...

love Bitter gourd, but never made this dish before. Looking delicious !

MamaFaMi said...

Thank you for the useful information

Chitra said...

THANKS MY DEAR FRIENDS..@PRITI, thanks for trying pepper kulambu.Iam glad u liked it..@lataraja mam, Even i was saying my hubby abt the benefits of BG after posting this :) Do stick this on ur fridge :)

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Liked your creamy preparation of bittergourd. I need to show this post to my hubby who is not fond of karela for it's health benefits

Hamaree Rasoi

Rachana said...

I must admit that I dont like karelas but after seeing this I feel like trying it :-)

Parita said...

So delicious and rich curry!

PranisKitchen said...

delicious and very healthy one.. nice color the curry got

Cynthia said...

I am so glad that I like bittergourd. Those are some great health benefits.

Tangled Noodle said...

We use bittergourd/bittermelon in Filipino recipes, although it's cooked so that much of the bitterness is removed. I've tried making a dish with it once before but have to admit that the flavor was too overwhelming. However, this looks so savory, I'd love to have a taste of it!

Usha said...

The pitlai looks delicious, I loved that you used mung dhal in this !

Mythreyi Dilip said...

Oh this looks awesome and delicious dear:)

Pavithra Elangovan said...

I love the pitlai too.. MY very fav veggie is BG.. Looks sooooo yummy and tempted chitra..