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Pavakkai Pitlai Recipe | Bitter Gourd Pitlai Recipe
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4.17 from 12 votes

Pavakkai Pitlai Recipe| Bitter gourd Pitlai

Pavakkai Pitlai is one of the unique kuzhambu variety with full of flavor ante taste. Though it's looks similar to Sambar, but there are few variations and the taste would be different. Usually this kuzhambu is made using Bittergourd or Brinjal. In addition to the vegetable, chick peas also added to this kuzhambu.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Kuzhambu, Main Course
Cuisine: Kerala, Palakkad, Tamil Nadu
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 260kcal
Author: Sowmya Venkatachalam


  • Mixer Grinder
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Heavy Bottomed Pan


  • 2 nos Bitter Gourd big
  • cup Toor Dal (Pigeon pea) 1 cup - 250 ml
  • ¼ Cup Black Chickpeas (white chick peas / legumes as well)
  • 1 small lemon size Tamarind (or 1 tsp Tamarind paste)
  • 1.5 tsp Salt adjust to your taste
  • 1 Pinch Turmeric Powder

For Grinding

  • ½ cup Grated Coconut
  • 8 nos Red chilies adjust to your spice level
  • 3 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp Urad Dal
  • 2 tsp Split Bengal Gram (Channa Dal / Kadalaparuppu)
  • ½ tsp Peppercorns Optional
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves

For Seasoning

  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Few Curry Leaves


Soaking Chickpeas

  • Wash and soak Black chickpeas overnight or atleast for 6-8 hours. After 8 hours, drain water and add fresh water.
  • Pressure cook chickpeas for 4 whistles. Set this cooked Chickpeas aside

Preparaing Tamarind Juice

  • Soak the tamarind in warm water for about ten minutes. After 10 mins extract the juice and set this tamarind juice aside

Chopping Bitter Gourd

  • Wash Bitter gourd thoroughly. Chop the bitter gourd into thin slices. Take out the seed from each slice of Bitter Gourd and discard the seed.

Cooking Toor dal

  • Take toor dal in a vessel. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and water. Pressure cook for about 4 whistles.
  • Mash the cooked dal and set it aside

Prepare Grinding Ingredients

  • Pour the oil in the pan and fry the red chillies, coriander seeds, urdhal, channa dal and pepper till the dals turn golden brown color. Take the fried ingredients in a mixer
  • To the pan, add grated coconut, curry leaves, Hing and fry till it turns golden color. Cool this and take it in the mixer

Grinding Process

  • Grind the above ingredients to a fine paste and keep it aside

Tempering Process

  • Heat oil the in the pan. Add mustard seeds once the oil is hot. When the mustard seeds begins to sputter, add curry leaves and fry for 2 seconds.
  • Add sliced bitter gourd to the pan. Stir- fry the bitter gourd in medium flame to avoid the bitter taste.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and cook bitter gourd till soft

Cooking Pitlai

  • Add tamarind extract, cooked chickpeas and salt and allow it to boil for 5 minutes to get rid off the raw smell of tamarind.
  • After 5 mins, add the ground paste and mashed dal to the cooked tamarind mixture.
  • Adjust the consistency by adding water. Give a good stir. Bring it to boil and swtich off the flame

Serving Time

  • Serve the delicious Pavakkai Pitlai with hot steaming rice!



  1. You can add a tablespoon of grated coconut fried in ghee for garnish. Really tastes well
  2. You can use other vegetables - Ash gourd, fried yam, etc., and try different variations of Pitlai
  3. you can also two or three sliced green chillies  (and reduce the red chili) while frying pavakkai and also add little roasted coconut in the final stage .
  4. I have seen some people adding little Jaggery at the end. This will bring all 6 tastes  in Pitlai. 


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 1.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 404mg | Potassium: 1054mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 2300IU | Vitamin C: 94.1mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 6.1mg