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Sep 20, 2013

Amma's Pavakai Pitlai / Bitter Gourd & Toor Dal Curry / Karela Curry

Can you believe that this is the first bitter gourd recipe in this blog. I am getting so many request from my viewers to post bitter gourd recipe. So here i am sharing my mom's special recipe. Bitter gourd is one of the vegetable which retain its bitterness even after it is cooked. But this doesn't even have a little bitterness in it. I dont know how it happened, may be it is because of cooking it in a pressure cooker or because of the jaggery and tamarind. But you have to trust me in this. So here you go to the recipe..

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 40 to 45 mins
Serves - 5 to 6


Onion - 1 large sliced
Bitter Gourd / Pavakai - 1 large cut in half and sliced
Toor Dal / Tuvaram Paruppu - 1/2 cup
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind Pulp - 3 tblspn or to taste (Click here for recipe)
Jaggery / Sarkarai - 3 tblspn or to taste
Chilli powder - 1 tblspn or to taste
Coriander powder / Malli podi - 2 tblspn
Turmeric powder / Manjal podi - 1 tsp

For Seasoning:
Oil - 1 tblspn
Mustard Seeds / Kaduku - 1 tsp
Urad dal / Ulundu Paruppu -1  tsp
Curry leaves a spring
Coconut - 3 tblspn grated


Heat 1 tsp of oil in a kadai. Add in onions and bitter gourd and saute for 5 mins or so till it turn translucent.

Now take toor dal in a pressure cooker and add the sauted veggies in it. Cover with water and pressure cook it for 3 whistle. Simmer the cooker for 5 mins. Turn off the heat and let the steam go all by itself. Open the pressure cooker and mash the veggies and dal slightly.

Transfer this entire mixture into a kadai. Add in salt, tamarind pulp, jaggery, chilli pdr, coriander pdr, turmeric pdr and mix well.

Bring everything to a boil. Simmer the flame and let it cook for 15 mins.

Now make the seasoning. Heat oil and crackle mustard, urad dal, curry leaves and coconut. Fry it till golden.

Pour this over the curry and mix well.

Serve this with rice.

Saute onions and bittergourd in a tsp of oil

saute till onions turn translucent

Take some toor dal

Add to pressure cooker and add water

Add the sauted veggies

put over fire

Pressure cook
Now everything is cooked

Mash everything lightly

Pour it into a kadai

Add some tamarind juice

Season with salt

Add in jaggery

Chilli powder

coriander powder

turmeric powder

mix well..Let it simmer

Now make seasoning...Crackle mustard

add urad dal

curry leaves


fry it in oil

till golden
now the curry is done simmering
pour the seasoning
mix well


  1. I never touch or make this veggie urs makes me rethink lovely and flavorful recipe

  2. Healthy and comforting bitter gourd dal. Wonderfully prepared.

  3. Wow, amma's version sounds quick and very delicious than the usual pitlai.

  4. man,
    it's just unfair being in a different landscape. you should be getting helluva deal from PUBLISHERS if the dishes are western or something..

    we Indians never BUY any BOOKS (including yours humble myself)..

    let me also confess i will never SHARE anything to PUBLIC(because of laziness) like you do. it takes a hell lot of kindness to share it for free..

    you dishes are worth a million bucks! you are the best!!

    why? it works like a charm

    have a long life dear!

  5. Super aarthi....u r doing great job....god bless u and ur family...

  6. Good recipe. Something different from the usual varient we make with bitter gourd.. tnx :) Ammu Bhadra


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