Friday, July 8, 2016

Pavakkai Pitlai | North Arcot Style Pakarkkai Pitlai | Bittergourd Kuzhambu Recipe from Tamilnadu | Glutenfree and Vegan | Traditional Recipe

Pavakkai Pitlai

Hi Supermoms,

The Pavakkai Pitlai is a traditional recipe that is very frequently prepared in our home. Bitter gourd is a healthy vegetable with many medicinal properties and this pitlai recipe combines both taste and good health. This kuzhambu/gravy has the right balance of spices and is a very popular bitter gourd recipe in Tamilnadu. If you are planning to include bitter gourd in your regular diet, do try this recipe. Every family has it's own style of making this Pitlai and I feel so happy to share ours.  

Simple, healthy and delicious with hot rice and ghee.

Pavakkai Pitlai | North Arcot Style Pakarkkai Pitlai :

Preparation time : 30 minutes
Cooking time : 25 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

For marinating :

1 tablespoon lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon
4-5 bitter gourds ( seeds removed and thinly sliced)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For roasting and grinding :

1 teaspoon dhania/coriander seeds
1 teaspoon channa dal/bengal gram
1 teaspoon urad dal
4 red chillies ( I used both guntur and salem)
1/4 cup chopped coconut
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Other ingredients:

1 tomato ( chopped)
1 lemon sized tamarind( soak in 1 cup warm water and extract the juice)
1/2 cup tuvar dal/arhar dal/pigeon peas
2 teaspoons channa dal/bengal gram
1 tablespoon raw ground nuts
pinch of turmeric powder
salt to taste

For tempering :

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1 sprig curry leaves


1. Cut the bittergourd and soak it in lemon juice, turmeric powder and salt to half an hour. 
2. In the mean time, roast the spices in a pan over low heat till they turn fragrant and lightly brown.
Note : I did not roast the coconut. Added it to the spices after switching off.

3. Grind them into a paste using water and set aside.
4. Wash and boil both channa dal and tuvar dal together in a vessel along with a pinch of turmeric.
5. While placing the dals in the cooker , squeeze out the excess water in the bittergourd and  place them in another vessel/plate along with tomato and the ground nuts in the same cooker .

Chef tip : Do not add any water . You can add pinch of turmeric powder.
6. Cook both of the above for upto 4 whistles over medium flame and switch off.
7. Heat a pan/vessel with oil and temper with ingredients given.
8. Add the cooked bitter gourd, tomato and ground nuts and saute' them for 1 minute.
9. Add the tamarind juice and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.
10. Now stir in the cooked dals and the spice paste.
11. Adjust salt and allow  it to simmer for another 5 minutes and switch off.

Your delicious Pavakkai Pitlai is ready! Serve it along with hot rice and ghee.

Pavakkai Pitlai

You can also try Potato Pitlai recipe. Have you tried my Bharwa Karela recipe?

Happy Cooking !

With love,



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