Bitter Gourd curry / Pavakka Pitlai (A Tambrahm Recipe)

Bitter Gourd as the name suggests is a vegetable bitter in taste and is usually the most hated vegetable by most people. However, since it has some amazing health benefits we must include them as a part of our diets as often as possible.  It’s loaded with nutrients, reduces our blood sugar level, contains anti-cancer properties, reduces cholesterol, aids in Weightloss and definitely delicious when cooked the right way. 
The following recipe is a very popular in all tamil brahmin (tambrahm in short) household. It tastes amazing & eaten with hot steaming rice, dosa or Idly.


• Bitter Gourd 2 medium sized cut in circle or semi circle and remove the seeds from the center
• Kabul Chenna or chicken peas 1 cup- soak for 8 hours and pressure cooked for 4 whistles.
• Toor  dal 1 cup, nicely cooked and mashed.
• Tamarind -1 lemon sized squeezed with one cup of water.
• Mustard 1 tspn
• Oil 2 tsp
• Curry leaves a sprig
• Turmeric Powder ½tspn.
• Jaggery 2 tbspn
• Salt as needed
• Coconut ground masala- 1 cup

Ingredients  and method for Coconut ground masala.

• Grated coconut 4 to 5 tbspn
• Corriander seeds 3 tsp
• Chenna dal 2 tsp
• Urud dal 2 tsp
• Fenugreek seeds ¼tsp
• Pepper corn ½tspn
• Dry Red Chilli 8 to 10 (mix of Kashmiri & regular)
• Oil 1tspn
• Curry leaves one sprig
• Asafoetida /hing one pinch
• Water ½ cup for grinding.
• In a pan, add oil once heated, sauté all the above ingredients except coconut and curry leaves. Keep them aside.
• Sauté the grated coconut and curry leaves separately. Once all the ingredients cools down to room temperature, grind with ½ cup Water. Your masala is ready.

Method to prepare the Curry or Pitlai

• Take a wok and add 2 tsp Oil. Once it heats add mustard. Allow it to splutter and add curry leaves and the chopped bitter gourd.
• Sauté for 2 min. Now add Turmeric powder, salt and ½cup Water. Cover and cook until the bitter gourd is nicely done.
• Once the bitter gourd is cooked, add the tamarind water, cooked chickpeas and bring this to a boil.
• Next, add the ground Coconut masala and the toor dal. Stir well and let this boil fir about 5 minutes.
• Lastly, add about 2 tbspn of jaggery powder turn off the stove.
• Serve hot with rice, dosa or Idly. Tastes best with hot rice and papad.
• Enjoy this yummilicious healthy and tasty recipe.


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