Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Parikkai Pitla/ Pavakkai Pitla

Parikkai/pavakkai (Bitter gourd) pitla is one of my favourite dishes.Some people might not like this due to the bitterness of parikkai. But bitter gourd is very good for health. The bitterness comes from a compund called momordicin which supposedly tones the stomach, improving its function and increasing appetite. Parikkai pitla is a wholesome, nutritious curry ... it has the bitterness of parikkai, tanginess of tamarind, sweetness of coconut and spiciness of red chilli.

Here is the recipe ...

Bitter gourd (sliced into small pieces) - 1 medium sized
Tamarind - lemon sized ball soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Toor dal - 1/2 cup
Oil (preferably coconut oil) - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 4-5

To Grind:
Fresh grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Red chilli - 2
Black pepper corns - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 2 tbsp

For seasoning:
Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 4-5

Pressure cook toor dal. Mash well and set aside.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Fry urad dal, pepper and red chillies in this. Add a pinch of asafoetida and remove the pan from heat.
Once this cools, grind it to a smooth paste along with grated coconut.
Extract the juice from tamarind.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the bitter gourd slices till you get a nice aroma from them.
Then add tamarind water, curry leaves and salt and cook till they become tender.
Now, add the mashed toor dal and boil 4-5 minutes.
Then add the ground mixture and let it boil for another 4-5 mins. You can add more water if the curry is too thick.
Heat the ghee in a seasoning wok. Add mustard seeds and when they splutter add the curry leaves. Pour this over the pitla.
Serve hot with rice, dosa or idli.

Preparation Time: 40 mins
Serves: 2 people


  1. Pavayka curry looks delicious..I want to try this one.But here its very difficult to get Pavayka.

  2. even my mom used to do one curry with bitter gourd...almost the same one...never made it myself though...but surely will try as it does look very delicious...Nice click, lovely bowl...hope u had a wonderful diwali

  3. I remember my mom and grandmom running behind me to make me eat this pitla..! This is one veggie I never wanted to eat! But your delicious-looking gravy has asked me to end my cold-war with bitter gourd. Will surely try it out soon! :D

  4. delicious pitlay and my all time favourite dish.

  5. Im not a great fan of pavakka...but this looks yummy..

  6. Ny mum makes a version of this vegetable which we call Karela with jaggery. Your version looks like a great variation! I used to not like this vegetable but I learned to love it quite recently! Definetly one I will try!

  7. i love pavakai.Never tried this method.Will surely give it a try

  8. My hubby loves pavakka in any form...pavakka curry sounds great..This one would be a good substitute for my usual ones.will try it soon.

  9. I make something similar to this with a few additions like a handful of soaked and cooked chick peas, 1/2 spoon of sambhar powder and roasted and ground coconut, jaggery..:). This looks simple and attractive..

  10. Pitla is a Maharashtrian dish right ?

  11. Wow i was thinking to post this in my blog for a very long time. Your version of making is differnt from mine and looks yummy.
    My all time favourite.Adding pepper to it sounds interesting

  12. Lovely one..we do make it often...

    Just stopping by to say Collect your award dear :)

  13. New way of cooking bittergourd for me..

  14. Thanks to all of you for your encouraging words. Its always inspiring.
    Sreelekha, you can use brinjal as a substitute ... you can directly cook the brinjal without frying.
    Haddock, I googled after seeing your comment and seems that there is a Maharashtrian dish with the same name ... but this is different. Thanks for mentioning ...planing to try it soon.

  15. Hi Lakshmi, please come and collect an award from my blog!

  16. This looks so delicious and nutritious! Such a great recipe!

  17. Dont we need Sambar powder for this recipe?


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