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January 25, 2019

Bitter Gourd Thokku / Pavakkai Thokku Recipe

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Pavakkai thokku
Bitter gourd is one of my favorite vegetables. So I love to try varieties of bitter gourd recipes in my kitchen. Recently I tried this yummy bitter gourd thokku recipe for rice (pavakkai in Tamil, Karela in Hindi) from Sangeetha’s blog. Its basically an onion, tomato, bitter gourd curry very similar to our Tamil nadu style tomato thokku. As usual I tried this bitter gourd thokku in an easy way by using my pressure cooker. It came out so well with a combination of tangy, sweet and mild bitter taste. It was so easy and quick to make in a pressure cooker. It tastes great when mixed with plain rice drizzled with few drops of sesame oil. It goes well with curd rice and chapathi as well. The bitterness is not much visible in this recipe as we are adding tomato, tamarind and jaggery. Also slicing the bitter gourd thinly helps to reduce the bitterness. If you are a bitter gourd lover, you must try this recipe. You will love it for sure. This pavakkai thokku stays good for 10 days or more when refrigerated. If kept outside, it stays good for 2 days. So you can pack it for travel too. But use a clean spoon to handle it. Ok, lets see how to make this easy, yummy bitter gourd thokku recipe with step by step pictures.

Check out my bitter gourd poriyalpavakkai pitlaipavakkai puli kulambu, Andhra style Kakarakaya pulusu, Bitter gourd biryani, Bitter gourd chips and bitter gourd masala curry.

bitter gourd thokku

Bitter gourd thokku recipe / Pavakkai thokku

Bitter gourd thokku recipe / Pavakkai thokku

How to make bitter gourd thokku / pavakkai thokku easily in a pressure cooker.

Cuisine: South Indian
Category: Side dish for rice
Serves: Serves 4
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 30 Minutes

1 cup - 250ml
  • Bitter gourd - 1 no (big sized, thinly sliced)
  • Big onion - 2 nos. (finely chopped)
  • Ripe tomato - 2 nos.(finely chopped)
  • Garlic cloves - 5 (finely chopped)
  • Tamarind extract - Big gooseberry size
  • Powdered Jaggery - 1 tbsp (adjust)
  • Red chilli powder - 1.5 tsp to 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt & water - as needed
To Temper
  • Cooking oil or Gingely oil - 4 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves - Few
  • Hing / Asafetida - 1/4 tsp
  1. Wash and chop bitter gourd into small thin slices. It helps to reduce bitterness.
  2. Chop onion, garlic, tomato finely. Heat oil in a pressure cooker base.
  3. Splutter mustard , urad dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves and hing.
  4. Add finely chopped onion and garlic. Once transparent, add sliced bitter gourd.
  5. Add turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and saute for 5 minutes till its quantity reduces slightly.
  6. Now add tomato and saute till it becomes mushy. Add chilli powder and coriander powder.
  7. Mix till raw smell goes off. Lastly add 1/4 cup of tamarind extract, powdered jaggery. Mix well.
  8. Pressure cook in low flame for one whistle. Remove the lid after the steam is released.
  9. Mix and boil if thokku is watery. Once its thick, you can remove and cool down.
  10. Yummy Pavakkai thokku is ready ! Store in a clean box and refrigerate it. Enjoy with plain rice, curd rice and chapathi

  • Wash and chop bitter gourd into small, thin slices. Slicing thinly helps to remove bitterness. You can mix the chopped bitter gourd pieces  and salt. Keep it aside for 15 to 30 minutes. Squeeze and drain the water. It also helps to reduce the bitterness. But its nutritional value is lost. So I don’t do this way. I just chop the BG thinly. Similarly chop onion, garlic and tomato into very small pieces.

  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker base. Splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves.Pavakkai thokku

  • Add onion, garlic and saute till transparent. Now add thinly sliced bitter gourd, turmeric powder and salt. Saute for 5 minutes in medium flame till bitter gourd shrinks in quantity slightly.Pavakkai thokku

  • Add tomato pieces. Saute till it turns mushy. Then add chilli powder and dhania powder. Mix well till its raw smell goes off.

  • Lastly add 1/4 cup of tamarind extract, jaggery and mix well. You can add very little water if the thokku is too thick. Close the pressure cooker lid. Keep the flame high till steam comes out. Put the weight valve and simmer the flame completely. Cook in low flame for one whistle.Pavakkai thokku

  • Open the cooker lid after the steam is released. If you find there is excess water in the thokku, boil for sometime till its thick. Switch off the flame and remove in a clean bowl. Let it cool down. Store in a refrigerator. It stays good for 10 days. You can enjoy with plain rice, curd rice, chapathi, idli dosa too. Enjoy ! Pavakkai thokku
  • Note

    • Adjust the quantity of chili powder as per your taste.
    • Do not skip jaggery. It gives a mild sweet taste to this thokku.
    • Make sure there is no excess water in the thokku. It will reduce its shelf life.

    Try this easy, yummy bitter gourd thokku and enjoy !
    bitter gourd thokku recipe

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