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Pavakkai Thokku | Bittergourd Thokku Recipe | Pagarkai Thokku
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5 from 1 vote

Pavakkai Thokku | Bittergourd Thokku Recipe | Pagarkai Thokku

Pavakkai Thokku (Bittergourd Thokku) is a spicy, tangy tamarind based chuntey which can be mixed with rice or as an accompaniment to the curd rice. Bittergourd tastes very well when cooked in certain method and this one way and it liked by most even those who doesn't like bittergourd.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Accompaniment, Pickles
Cuisine: South Indian, Tamil Brahmin, Tamil Nadu
Servings: 50 grams
Calories: 45kcal
Author: Sowmya Venkatachalam


  • Heavy Bottomed Pan


  • 2 nos Bitter Gourd
  • 1 tbsp Sambar Powder
  • 1 lemon size Tamarind
  • tsp Salt adjust to your taste
  • 1 tbsp Grated Jaggery
  • ¼ tsp Asafoetida (Asafetida / Hing)
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder

For Tempering

  • 2 tbsp Oil preferably Gingelly Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • ½ tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp Ajwain / Omam
  • few Curry



  • Saok the tamarind in water and extract the juice
  • Finely chop the bittergourd and keep it aside. 

Start with Tempering

  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds starts to sputter, add fenugreek seeds and ajwain and fry for 10 seconds.
  • Then add curry leaves and saute it for few seconds. Now, add sambar powder and fry in the oil for few seconds. Please ensure that the sambar powder is not burnt

Making of Thokku

  • Add the chopped bitter gourd and stir well to coat the sambar powder and then fry in the oil keeping the flame in medium. 
  • When the bittergourd are stir-fried in the oil nicely, then add tamarind extract.
  • Add turmeric powder and salt and allow the tamarind extract to boil till the raw smell of the tamarind extract goes off. Keep the flame low and allow the whole mixture to get thicken and becomes like a thokku.
  • When the whole bittergourd mixture becomes only 1/4th of the quantity, then add grated jaggery and mix well. Switch off the flame.
  • Allow the thokku to cool off and then store it in a air tight container. On top of the thokku add 2 teaspoon of oil and then close the container with the lid. The Top oil layer of the thokku is the preservative and it helps in preserving the thokku and extends its shelf life. When you are using, take the thokku from the bottom without using the oil. The Oil helps with the for the shelf life of the thokku.
  • The delicious bittergourd thokku is now ready to serve! 


  • Onion, Garlic  & Tomato can also be added to this thokku. 
  • Use of Gingelly Oil is recommended for this thokku. 
  • Adding Jaggery enhances the taste of this thokku. You can skip it if you don't like
  • Adjust the spice level based on your taste


Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1430mg