Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Bitter Gourd Gravy / Paavakai Kara Kuzhambu

Spicy, tangy and mildly bitter South Indian Style bitter gourd gravy. Bitter gourd slices cooked in tamarind based gravy. No added coconuts. Best served with steamed rice and papadum.


  • 2 Tablespoon Sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon vendhayam / fenugreek seeds
  • 2 Dry red chillies broken
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1 Cup shallots finely chopped
  • 4 bitter gourds
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind + 1/2 cup warm water to soak tamarind
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • a big pinch of hing / asafoetida
  • 1 tablespoon jaggery
  • salt to taste

Ingredients Pic


1. Wash bitter gourds. Using a peeler, peel off the skin lightly. Slice them to thin discs and set aside
2. In a large pan, bring 2 cups of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon tamarind, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon sugar to the boiling water


3. Add chopped bitter gourd slices in the boiling water and par boil them for 3 minutes
4. Drain water completely and set aside


5. In a pan, heat sesame seed oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds
6. When mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and wait for them to get crispy
7. Add whole black pepper corns , broken dry red chillies and fry for few seconds
8. Add shallots and fry until they are soft
9. Add par boiled bitter gourd slices and fry on high flame until they are crispy                
10. Add coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, hing and fry until oil separates from the mixture. Add 1/4 cup water and cook the masala until the raw smell of coriander powder goes.
11. Meanwhile, add tamarind to 1/2 cup warm water and set aside for 10 minutes. Extract pulp out of tamarind and discard the seeds
12. Pour the tamarind extract in the bitter gourd gravy , season with salt and add 1 /2 cup water
and simmer
13. Let the gravy simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until it comes together as thick gravy and oil starts floating over
14. Add Jaggery to the gravy to cut off the bitterness from the bitter gourds
15. Cook for 5 minutes and then switch off the flame
16. Paavakai puli Kuzhambu is ready to be served. Serve with steamed rice and papadum

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