Bittergourd Pitlai/Pavaikai pitlai – Weekend Lunch Thali

Pavaikai/Bitter Gourd Pitlai recipe is my Grand-mom’s favorite recipe. Whenever appa gets Baby bitter-gourd/Mithi pavaikai, she insists mom to make this, coz they give amazing taste to this recipe. I don’t get Baby bitter gourds here, so i try making them with the normal ones. Even Kuttu relishes this recipe.
Weekend Lunch Thali Menu : Kovaikai/Tindora Fry, Vendaikaai/Okra/Lady’s finger Fry, Pavaikaai/bitter Gourd Pitlai, Rasam, Ashgourd/White Pumpkin Masoor Dal Kootu, Butter Milk, Store-bought Naarthangai/unripe Citron Fruit used as pickle and Vepillai katti, a mixture of Citron leaves, Neem leaves with other masala. a must condiment for Curd Rice, that too after a heavy meal. They help in easy Digestion.  

Ashgourd/White Pumpkin Kootu with Masoor Dal, a similar recipe to Methi Kootu, instead of chana dal/Gram Dal i have used Masoor Dal. 
Tindora/Ivy gourd Fry, a simple, easy to make, Delicious Fry, recipe coming up next week. 
Ingredients for Pavaikai Pitlai/Bitter Gourd Pitlai
2 Medium Size Bitter-gourd/Pavaikai 
Tamarind a small lemon-sized
1/2 Cup Toor Dal/Tuvar Dal/Pigeon peas
2 tsp Sambhar Powder (Store bought or Home-made)
1/2 Cup of Small onions/Shallots or 2 Medium-sized onions, Chopped
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
1 tsp of grated jaggery
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp gingely oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds/Kadugu
1/4 tsp Methi seeds/Venthayam/Fenugreek seeds
2 springs of curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
hing a pinch.

To Grind
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds/Dhaniya
1 tsp Chana Dal/Bengal gram dal/Kadalai Paruppu
3-4 Small onions/shallots or 1 medium sized onion, chopped
3 nos Red Chilies
3 tbsp Freshly grated Coconut

  • Soak Tamarind in 2 cups of Warm Water and Extract the juice.
  • Pressure Cook Tuvar Dal/Toor Dal/Piegon peas in 1 cup of water for 3 -4 whistles. Churn with the back of a ladle and keep ready
  • Slit the Bittergourd lengthwise and remove the seeds and Chop them into small pieces.  If you can Baby Bitter Gourd/Pinju Pavaikai, then try and use that variety for the Pitlai, the taste would be amazing. 
  • If you are using Shallots/Small onions, then soak them in hot water for 10minutes This will ease the process of removing the skin. Peel and keep it ready.
  • Dry Roast the Coriander seeds/dhaniya and Chana Dal/Bengal Gram Dal given under To grind and grind it to a fine paste with rest of the ingredients with little water.
  • In a Kadai/Pan, Heat oil given for tempering, Splutter mustard seeds, add hing, turmeric, curry leaves and saute. 
  • Add onions/shallots and saute until translucent. Add Tomatoes and saute till oil separates.
  • Add Chopped Bitter gourd/Pavaikai and saute for 4-5 minutes in a medium flame.
  • Add Tamarind Extract, Sambhar Powder and let this cook for 10-15 minutes or till the bittergourd is done.
  • Add Salt and tuvar dal and Mix well. let this boil for 3-5 minutes. Add the ground paste to this mix well. Let this cook in a simmer flame for 5-10 minutes. add grated jaggery to this and mix well. Take it off the stove and Serve with Rice.