Paavakkai Puli Kootu

One of our family favourite is bitter-gourd / Pavakkai. We usually make the paavakai fries which goes well with all rice varieties. This semi gravy can be served along with any variety rice or roti. The bitterness is balanced with spice and sour flavours of red chilli powder and tamarind.

Ingredients (Serves 2 to 3)

Preparation time – 10 mins
Cooking time – 20 mins
  • Bitter gourd – 3, sliced
  • Onion – 1 big, sliced thin
  • Sambar powder / Red chilli powder – 1.5 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp
  • Tamarind – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – as needed
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Mustard – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chillies – 2, broken
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig


  • Slice the bitter gourd and remove the seeds. Add salt and set it aside for 10 to 15 mins.
  • Place in a colander as it leaves out water.
  • Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup water.
  • In a pan. Add oil, mustard, red chillies and curry leaves. Add onion and sauté till brown.
  • Squeeze water from the bitter gourd. Add the bitter gourd to the pan and mix well.
  • Add sambar or red chilli powder and salt.
  • Mix well to coat all the pieces with the masala.
  • Add tamarind water and allow it to boil.
  • Boil till the bitter gourd is cooked. The water reduces and it forms a semi gravy.
  • Serve as a side dish with any variety rice or chapati. We had with coconut rice.

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