Pavakkai Pitlai | Bittergourd Pitlai Gravy

Pavakkai Pitlai | Bittergourd pitlai gravy

Pavakkai pitlai , Bittergourd Gravy

Pavakkai pitlai is a delicious traditional south Indian side dish (kuzhambu) made with bitter gourd and specially ground masala paste, tamarind extract and toor dal.


Pavakkai (bitter gourd)-1 big (chopped)
Toor dhal-1/2 cup cooked and mashed
Tamarind extract-from small lemon sized tamarind
Mustard seeds-1 tsp
Curry leaves few 
Asafoetida-a pinch
Red chillies- 2 nos
Salt to taste
Oil -2 tbsps

Masala(Dry roast and grind to fine paste)-

Bengal gram dhal-1 tbsp
Urad dhal-1 tbsp
Dhaniya (coriander seeds)-2 tbsps
Grated coconut -2-3 tbsps
Red chillies-6-8 nos
Curry leaves few 
Asafoetida-a pinch


👉Dry roast the ingredients given for masala and grind it to a smooth paste and set aside.

👉Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan saute the chopped bitter gourd until they are 3/4 th done.

👉Pressure cook the dhal along with turmeric powder, asafetida ,1/2 tsp oil and required water for 5-6 whistles, mash it well set aside.

👉Soak lemon sized tamarind in 1 cup water , extract the juice and discard the pulp.

👉Heat oil in a kadai add mustard seeds,red chillies,curry leaves and allow it to crackle.

👉Pour the tamarind extract ,next add turmeric powder and allow it to boil for 5 mins until raw smell goes .

👉Next add cooked dhal mix well.

👉Add masala paste( do not add all the paste at once )and mix well without any lumps.

👉Add required salt.
👉Finally add the sauted bitter gourd and little water if the PITLAI is thick.

👉Allow it to boil for 2 mins .Adjust the consistency according to your taste preference.

👉Garnish and serve hot with  rice,idli,dosa,idiyappam,chapati,poori etc.

Preparation Time-20 mins


✍️We usually add  little extra tamarind extract and chillies to balance the bitterness .
✍️You can add a small piece of jaggery if you like.
✍️In some regions they add karuppu kondakadalai (Brown channa) to the kuzhambu.

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