Search Chitra's Food Book

June 8, 2016

Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu – Chettinad Bitter Gourd Gravy

Print Friendly and PDF
Pavakkai Puli kuzhambu
Pavakkai puli kuzhambu/ Pavakkai kara kuzhambu without coconut in Chettinad style. I try to include bitter gourd ( Pagarkai/Pavakkai in Tamil) in my lunch menu at least once in a week as it is good for diabetes and high in nutrition with lots of health benefits. I make Pavakkai Pitlai & bitter gourd curry/Poriyal very often. Then comes crispy bitter gourd fries and bitter gourd biryani.

 Recently I came across this Chettinad style Pagarkai Puli Kuzhambu recipe in Solai aachi’s blog. Its my favorite blog for Chettinad recipes. I loved the simplicity  & ease of the recipe and tried it for our lunch. Sendhil told this kuzhambu tastes better than Pavakkai Pitali ( I think he got bored of my usual pitlai).

 From then, I started making this easy, no grind, one pot bitter gourd gravy ( Pavakkai Kuzhambu in Tamil) without coconut very often in my kitchen. Its a very simple kuzhambu recipe that can be made quickly during busy week days or lazy weekends. I make this gravy for Sendhil’s lunch box. 

 My Father visited my place and stayed here for two weeks. My dad loves varieties of Kara kuzhambu recipes. My dad liked it very much. I am happy that I have got a delicious, healthy gravy with bitter gourd. Bachelors and working women can try this if you like bitter gourd. Lets see how to prepare this easy Chettinad style Pavakkai Puli kulambu recipe with step by step pictures.

Check out my other bitter gourd recipes

Bitter gourd Biryani

Bitter gourd Poriyal/stir fry

Crispy bitter gourd fry

Pavakkai Pitlai

Bitter gourd podi

Bitter gourd Rasam/ Uppu saaru

Andhra Kakrakaya Pulusu

Bitter gourd Puli kuzhambu

Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu Recipe

Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu Recipe Chettinad style tangy Bitter gourd gravy for rice.
Cuisine: South Indian
Category: Kuzhambu recipes
Serves: Serves 2-3
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 15 Minutes
Total time: 25 Minutes


  • Bitter gourd - 1 no (Medium sized)
  • Tamarind - A big gooseberry size
  • Sambar powder – 1 tbsp
  • Dhania powder – 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - as needed
  • Water - 1 cup
To temper & saute
  • Gingely oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
  • Small onion - 10 nos or big onion - 1 no
  • Garlic cloves - 10 nos
  • Tomato – 1 no
  • Curry leaves - few

  • Soak the tamarind in water for 10 minutes.In the mean time, wash and slice the bitter gourd into very thin rings by removing its seeds. Slicing thinly helps to remove its bitterness. Chop the tomato, peel the onion, garlic cloves.
Bitter gourd Puli kuzhambu
  • In a pressure cooker, heat oil and temper mustard seeds, methi seeds, urad dal, fennel seeds and chopped onion, garlic cloves, curry leaves. Saute till onion turns transparent. Add tomato pieces and saute until mushy. Add the bitter gourd slices, turmeric powder, salt and saute for few minutes till its color changes to dark green.
Bitter gourd Puli kuzhambu
  • Now add 1 cup of tamarind extract, sambar powder, dhania powder. Mix well and pressure cook the gravy for onw whistle in low flame. Open the lid after the steam is released. Mix well and boil for sometime if you feel the gravy is too watery. Sambar powder and dhania powder makes the gravy thick. So no need to add rice flour to this kuzhambu. 
Bitter gourd Puli kuzhambu
Enjoy mixing with plain rice adding a tsp of gingely oil !!

Adjust the quantity of sambar powder and dhania powder as per your taste.
You can replace bitter gourd with drumstick or brinjal. But keep the drumstick/ brinjal in a separate bowl inside the cooker because it will become mushy when directly cooked in the gravy.
Do not add more water in the cooker. Gravy will become watery & thin. To rectify this, you can either boil the gravy till thick OR dilute 1 tsp rice flour in 2 tsp water. Add to gravy and boil for 3 minutes.
Add a tsp of gingely oil or ghee while serving !

Try this easy, yummy Pavakkai Puli kuzhambu for your lunch and enjoy with any kootu/ dal or just with a papad. We had with Andhra ridge gourd dal and kai murukku 

Pavakkai puli kuzhambu recipe

Related Posts


Suja Manoj said...

Yummy curry, nice recipe.

Unknown said...

Perfect and healthy Kuzhambu

Chitra said...

Thank you Suja :)

Chitra said...

Thanks Priya. Just saw your blog. Loved the template. Very neat with lovely pics :) Keep up your great work !

Unknown said...

Thankyou for visiting my blog,you are a great inspiration to me.

Chitra said...

Thank you :)