Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pavakkai curry / Pavakkai kuzhambu

Whenever hubby gets vegetables for the week, he picks bitter gourd, which is my least favorite. i either fry or  prepare Pavakkai pitlai with it. This all changed after my sis introduced me this pavakkai kuzhambu. i referred a cook book and modified the recipe & this kuzhambu came out so good. No wonder we wiped out the bowl clean. so if you are fed up with usual bitter gourd recipes, give this curry a try!! you will love it.

This Bitter gourd curry is a fusion of all tastes, as it is bitter,spicy, sweet and tangy. also this curry becomes thicker with the roasted and grinded raw rice along with chillies and chana dal. i am going to try this part in all my thin kuzhambu to make them thicker!

                                                        Pavakkai Kuzhambu

serves - 2
preparation time - 30 minutes


  • Bitter Gourd - 1
  • Onion - 1
  • Tomatoes - 2
  • Garlic - 4 cloves
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Chilly powder - 1 tbsp
  • Dhaniya powder - 2 tbsp
  • Tamarind - a small lemon sized one
  • Jaggery - 1 tsp
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 1 sprig

To roast and grind

  • Raw rice - 1 tbsp
  • Chana dal / kadala paruppu - 1 tbsp
  • Dry red chillies - 3
  • Curry leaves - 1 sprig

  1. Have a warm 1/4 cup of water and soak the tamarind in it. let them soak for about 10-15 minutes. once soaked, squeeze the pulp out and separate the tamarind extract and set aside. 
  2. Cut the bitter gourd into half vertically. hold it tight and chop into small pieces by cutting side-wise. heat a tbsp of oil in a pan, add the chopped bitter gourd and fry in medium flame for about 4 minutes. sprinkle few drops of water, when it tends to stick to the pan. frying the pavakkai for about 4-5 minutes will reduce the bitterness.
  3. At the same time, heat a pan and dry roast the raw rice, chana dal, dry red chillies and curry leaves one after another and let them cool. once cooled, grind them in your chutney jar into a fine powder.
  4. Chop the onions and tomatoes finely.
  5. In a Pan, add the rest of oil and heat it, then add mustard and let it splutter. then add the curry leaves and garlic. fry the garlic, till they turn soft. next add the chopped onions and saute it till they turn translucent.
  6. Next add the chopped tomatoes and mix with the onions. add salt to taste, turmeric powder, chilly powder and dhaniya powder. give all a good mix.
  7. Add the fried pavakkai / bitter gourd to the pan and mix well with the masala's. then add the tamarind extract and let them boil. add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. once the mix starts to boil, add jaggery and mix well. let the curry boil in medium flame for about 2 minutes.
  8. Finally add the grounded rice, chana dal mix to the curry and mix well. now the curry becomes thicker, so add water as per the consistency you require your curry to be and let the curry boil. then switch off the flame.
Serve with Rice or dosai.


Do not add jaggery and tamarind too much than told in the recipe, as it may over dominate the taste of each other. every taste should be in a balanced level in this curry.


  1. Ah, I am always on the lookout for good pavakai recipes. Sure will try this one, sounds quite different! :)

    1. even i was searching for other pvakkai recipe and got this! try this, sure you will like!

  2. awesome and delicious pavakai kuzhambu.

  3. Looks yummy...r u sure tis won't taste bitter...I want to try out tis...

    1. Divya, bitter reduces as we fry before adding to the curry and the other ingredients like jaggery and tamarind balance with the bitternes! do give it a try!!

  4. Looks yummy...r u sure tis won't taste bitter...I want to try out tis...

  5. Yummy version of pavakkai kuzhambhu.Never tried adding onions and tomatoes.

  6. Looks yummilicious. I am a big fan of it. will try for sure. bookmarked !

  7. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I've always been a fan of South Indian Cuisine, and I have been meaning to make pavakai kuzhambu for some time now, but I didn't know the exact recipe. Thanks again.


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