Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal

Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal is a famous kuzhambu in Kerala and some parts of kanyakumari district. The procedure is same as traditional ulli (Baby onion) theeyal with only addition of bitter gourd. The fried coconut gravy cooked with tamarind and other spices along with bittergourd and baby onion make this kuzhambu very rich in taste !

Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal
Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal

Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time 45 mins

Ingredients :
Bitter gourd2
Baby Onion1/2 Cup
Curry LeavesFew
Tamarind1 gooseberry(nellikaai) size
SaltTo Taste

For Grinding:

Grated Coconut1/2 Cup
Red Chillies8
Coriander Seeds3 Teaspoons
Urdal2 Teaspoon
Pepper1/4 Teaspoon
Oil2 Teaspoon

Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal
Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal

  1. Peel the skin of baby onion and keep it aside. Chop the bittergourd vertically and remove the seeds and slice it into thin slices. Take all the grinding ingredients and keep it ready. Pour the oil in the pan and fry the red chillies, coriander seeds, urdhal, and pepper. 

  2. Along with the fried ingredients, add grated coconut and fry till it turns golden red color. Remove from flame and allow the fried items to cool off. Meanwhile heat the pan with oil and add chopped bitter gourd along with a pinch of turmeric and keep the flame in low to fry the bittergourd

  3. Take all fried and cooled ingredients to a mixer and grind these ingredients to a nice paste

  4. Deep fry the bitter gourd to avoid the bitter taste. Take this aside in a plate. Pour the oil the in the pan and add mustard seeds once the oil is hot. 

  5. When the mustard seeds begins to sputter, add curry leaves and then add the onions and fry till the onion changes it color.To this add the fried bitter gourd pieces.Now add the tamarind extract and salt and let the mixture boils for atleast 5 minutes till the raw smell of the tamarind goes off.

  6. Finally add the ground paste and when the Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal starts boiling switch off the flame.

  7. The delicious Bittergourd Theeyal is ready to serve hot with plain rice
  8. Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal
    Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal

Post a Comment

I tried Bittergourd(Paavakaai) Theeyal and came out good. But I did not get this brown colour. Should I fry the coconut also?

Hi Indira

My apologies. The coconut should be fried into golden brown color for theeyal which i missed in my instruction. Now i included the same. You should try one more time and let me know.

Thank you, I tried today, fried the coconut but still I did not get this colour. Don't know why :( Anways, I love your site, as I could see lot of Kerala brahmin recipes. I am basically from Thanjavur side family and your site is really helping me to cook these wonderful recipes. Thank you again.

Hi Indira

The colour comes from Fried coconut & the red chilli. Please make sure that your fried the coconut to the golden brown colour. And also the colour of the red chilli might vary from places to places.. no worries.. if you like the taste, that should be fine.


Very appealing.. If u could pls tell us what side dish goes best with this?? :))

Hi Shanku, any fried curries like Potato fry, taro root fry or even Bindi fry also be apt for this delicious Theeyal

Good narration. I always like cabbage thoran/fry along with theeyal.



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