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July 30, 2018

Bitter gourd Masala Curry For Rice / Pavakkai Masala Poriyal Without Coconut

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Bitter gourd masala curry

South Indian, Tamilnadu style Bitter gourd masala curry for rice / Pavakkai masala poriyal without coconut was my recent try using bitter gourd. Usually I make pavakkai pitlai or pavakkai poriyal with coconut in my MIL’s style. For a change, I tried this bitter gourd masala curry adding spice powders and garam masala powders. I made it easily using my pressure cooker. It came out very well and finger licking good with its own slight bitter taste. Sendhil who is not a big fan of this veggie liked this bitter gourd curry and had it without any complaints. If you are a fan of bitter gourd like me, you must try this Pavakkai masala poriyal. You will love it for sure. It is a good side dish for sambar and curd rice. If you want to make bitter gourd curry without bitterness, you should thinly slice the bitter gourd, remove the seeds. Soak in sour curd or buttermilk, salt for 20 minutes and squeeze it before cooking like I did in my bitter gourd biryani recipe. But I won’t recommend this step for this poriyal as the nutrition of this vegetable will be lost. So what I do is, I slice the bitter gourd thinly. I add more tamarind and jaggery to reduce the bitterness. It works well. Friends, lets see how to make this Tamilnadu style Pavakkai masala poriyal with step by step pictures.

Check out my other bitter gourd recipes too !

Bitter gourd biryani

Crispy Bitter gourd chips

Bitter gourd Puli kuzhambu - Chettinad 

Kakarakaya Pulusu - Andhra style bitter gourd gravy for rice

Bitter gourd pitlai 

Bitter gourd poriyal with coconut 

Pavakkai masala

Bitter gourd curry recipe - Tamil nadu style

Bitter gourd curry recipe - Tamil nadu style

Tamil nadu style bitter gourd curry recipe for rice

Cuisine: South Indian
Category: Poriyal recipes
Serves: Serves 4
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 30 Minutes


  • Bitter gourd – 1 (Medium sized)
  • Big onion – 1
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Tamarind – medium gooseberry size
  • Red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Dhania powder / coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Jaggery – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – as needed
  • water for tamarind extract – 1/2 cup

To Temper
  • Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/ 2 tsp
  • Chana dal – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - Few
  1. Wash and slice bitter gourd into thin slices.
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker base. Temper the ingredients.
  3. Saute onion, gg paste. Add thinly sliced bitter gourd, turmeric powder and salt.
  4. Saute for a minute. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder.
  5. Mix well. Lastly add tamarind extract, salt, jaggery.
  6. Pressure cook in very low flame for one whistle.
  7. Boil if there is excess water. Serve with rice !
  • Wash and slice the bitter gourd thinly. Remove the seeds and discard it. Do not slice it too thinly because it will become mushy after pressure cooking.  Chop the onion and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker base. Splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, curry leaves. Add onion, ginger garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes off.
    bitter gourd masala curry
  • Add thinly sliced bitter gourd, turmeric powder and salt. Saute till bitter gourd becomes dark green in color. It takes 2 minutes.
    bitter gourd masala curry
  • Add red chilli powder, coriander seeds powder, garam masala powder and saute for a minute in medium flame.

  • Lastly add 1/2 cup of tamarind extract, jaggery and mix well. Do not add more water. Pressure cook in very low flame for one whistle. Open the cooker after steam is released. Mix gently and boil if there is excess water in the cooker. Boil in high flame for few minutes to evaporate the excess water.Check for taste, add more chilli powder or jaggery if needed. If you feel tanginess is less, you can add lemon juice after switching off the flame. Garnish with coriander leaves.
    bitter gourd masala curry
    Serve and enjoy with sambar, curd rice !


  • Slice the bitter gourd thinly to reduce the bitterness. But do not slice it too thin. It will become mushy after pressure cooking.
  • Tamarind and jaggery also helps to reduce the bitter taste.
  • For variations, you can make this curry in a kadai instead of pressure cooker but it takes more time to cook.
  • You can also pressure cook the bitter gourd separately and add to the masala.
Try this healthy, yummy bitter gourd masala curry for rice and enjoy !
Pavakkai masala

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