Bittergourd Pitlai/Pavaikai pitlai - Weekend Lunch Thali

By Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen - Sunday, April 22, 2012

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.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like


  1. Pitlai makes me hungry, wat a fabulous platter Priya..

  2. lovely recipes...i liked the shape of your serving allows you to feed freely

  3. We only make pitla with potato. Bitter gourd pitla is new to me and we use gram flour instead of making the powder with chana dal. Bitter gourd pitla looks delicious!

  4. All your dishes look fantastic. Tindora is my favourite curry!

  5. Wonderful spread..i cant stop drool with kootu and pitlai...Very nice platter..

  6. Lovely spread and I have got pavakai (bitter gourd) to make pitlai too...what a coincidence!!!

  7. very inviting platter, Priya. I am yet to appreciate other forms of bitter gourd. I think I it is high time I tested out other varieties with bitter gourd..this one sounds very easy and delicious too!

  8. Sounds interesting yummy platter...

  9. i love pitlai & my husband can't stand it.. so i miss making this at home !

    Ongoing Event : WTML

  10. Looks absolutely amazing :)

  11. Look Awesome.....perfectly made....too yumm!!!!


Thanks a Lot for taking your time out and Visiting my Kitchen!!!!! Your Valuable Comments keep me going!!! Feel free to ask your doubts , i will definitely try reply you back. Good Day!!!