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July 15, 2022

Pavakkai Poriyal – Bitter Gourd Curry Recipe

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Bitter gourd curry

I love to try varieties of recipes with bitter gourd. Iam trying to include Pavakkai in my cooking at least once or twice in a week considering its health benefits. My daughter Raksha likes to eat bitter gourd only if its bitterness is less or it should be in deep fried form like bitter gourd chips with wheat flour. But I want to avoid making deep fried stuffs often. So I started exploring many side dishes using bitter gourd.

Recently I came across an easy pavakkai poriyal in pressure cooker in a You tube channel. As mentioned, my poriyal had a very mild bitter taste. We all loved it. The addition of sugar / jaggery made it more tasty. So Raksha too ate it without any complaints.

Actually this poriyal can be prepared by just sauting in a kadai with generous oil but I did everything in a pressure cooker with less oil and made it soft. It tastes good in either ways. Finally its our choice.

Lets see how to make Pavakkai poriyal without coconut in a pressure cooker.

Pavakkai poriyal


Pavakkai poriyal recipe / Bitter gourd curry

Pavakkai poriyal recipe / Bitter gourd curry

Pavakkai poriyal recipe / Bitter gourd curry for rice

Cuisine: Tamilnadu
Category: Side dish
Serves: Serves 3
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 30 Minutes

1 cup = 250ml
  • Pavakkai / Bitter gourd - 1 ( medium sized)
  • Big onion - 1
  • Garlic cloves – 10
  • Tamarind extract – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Sambar powder -1 tsp
  • Jaggery or sugar - 1 tsp
  • Salt & water - as needed
To temper
  • Cooking oil -2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Chana dal - 2 tsp
  • Hing / Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Curry leaves - few
  1. Wash and chop bitter gourd into thin slices. Chop onion and garlic thinly.
  2. Heat oil in a cooker. Splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal and hing.
  3. Add curry leaves, onion and crushed garlic cloves. Saute well.
  4. Add chopped bitter gourd and saute for few minutes till it shrinks in size.
  5. Lower the flame and add sambar powder, turmeric powder, jaggery and salt.
  6. Mix well and add required water. Pressure cook in low flame for one whistle.
  7. Open the cooker after the steam is released. If there is excess water, boil in high flame till water evaporates. Mix gently and transfer to a plate.
  8. Serve with sambar, rasam rice and curd rice.
  • Wash and chop Bitter gourd into thin slices. Chopping thinly helps to remove bitterness. Wash and chop onion. Crush garlic cloves. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves, crushed garlic and sliced onion. Saute till onion becomes transparent.
  • Pavakkai poriyal
  • Now add the thinly sliced bitter gourd and saute for a minute. Add turmeric powder, salt and sugar/ jaggery. Mix well. Adding turmeric powder helps to retain bright green color of bitter gourd.
  • Pavakkai poriyal
  • Add 1/4 cup of tamarind extract, sambar powder and mix well. Lastly add little water ( say 2 tbsp) and close the pressure cooker with its lid. Let the flame be high.
  • Pavakkai poriyal
  • Once the steam starts to come out, lower the flame completely and put the weight valve. Let it cook in low flame for one whistle. Switch off the flame and let the pressure release naturally.
  • Pavakkai poriyal
  • Open the cooker and add finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix gently. Boil for few minutes if there is excess water. If there is no water, you can just mix and serve with rice. Tastes good with sambar, vatha kuzhambu, kara kulambu and curd rice.


  • Slice the bitter gourd thinly to avoid bitter taste.
  • Adjust the quantity of sambar powder as per your taste.

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