Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pavakai Curry

As much as most people detest this vegetable, there is something about it that I love. My husband only likes the deep-fried version but somedays I can get by with the baked version, which in my opinion tastes just as good but he begs to differ. Anyway the following preparation method is not something that I would recommend for those who do not like bittergourd... there is still some remant bitterness but I welcome it and is is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this vegetable. Of course.. when I make it, it's just for moi - am glad there's no competition because that just means more for me :)

Unfortunately, I can't remember now where I got this recipe from... but it's on one of the many printed sheets that I've carefully filed a while ago.


Pavakkai / Karela / Bittergourd -3, medium ( I choose light green ones)
Onion (preferably shallots) - about half cup, chopped
Tomato- half of medium one, chopped
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly Powder- 1 tsp
Coriander powder- 1.5 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 stalk
Salt - to taste
Oil - 4 tsp (preferably gingelly oil / nallennai)

To Grind: (to a smooth paste with a splash of water)
Coconut Shredded - 2 tbsp
Kasa Kasa (poppy seeds) - 1 tsp, soaked in little warm water
Tamarind paste - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp

1) Cut the bittergourd into small pieces (after removing the seeds). Add a bit of salt to the bittergourd and let it rest for about 30 minutes or so.

2) Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan and add the bittergourd pieces. Allow this to fry for about 5-7 minutes with frequent stirring till almost done. Remove and keep aside.

3) Return the pan to the flame, heat the remaining 2 tsp of oil and season with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add in the onions and fry till light brown.

4) Stir in the tomatoes, a bit of salt & turmeric powder and cook till mushy. Add the chilli powder, coriander powder and the ground paste & stir for a few minutes before adding about half cup or more of water.

5) Stir in the bittergourd pieces when the mixture starts to boil. Cover and allow to cook on a medium flame till the pavaka is completely cooked. I usually prefer a thicker consistency so I let it cook till it reaches that point. The curry is now ready & I typically enjoy it with rice.


  1. very nice! i love pavakka, ill eat it anyway, but I must say, deep fried pavakka chips are the bestest :)

  2. nice one .. we always make gojju out of it .. shall try this version sometime .. I dont seem to mind the bitterness in that

  3. I am one of those ppl who don't likez this veg, still the dish looks yumm,

  4. Colourful twist..unless u had mentioned, it didnt look like pavakai at all

  5. My husband loves this sauteed in oil with spices, I manage to eat a tbsp with difficulty although it tastes great! :D

    Masala sounds great, looks good too. Yummy with Rice rotti. Send this to EC's event..side dish..! :)

  6. "am glad there's no competition because that just means more for me :)"
    You sound just like me :D...

  7. I am a big fan of pavakai, It is just for moi 2 :)Delicous, I imagine with plain rice!

  8. Laavanya, other than the littlest member of the household we all love this vegetable. I cook it almost the same way without the poppy seeds and coconut.

    This looks delicious.

  9. This is a dish I could try...looks delicious.

  10. Not a big fan of pavakai..but ur curry looks yummy :)

  11. where's the pavakkai? :) If I hadn't seen the title, I would have guessed it to be a mixed veg curry.. Love the look of your curry!

    I'm not a fan of bittergourd, but my husband loves it.. May be I'll try this for him sometime..

  12. i just love pavakkai especially when it is stir-fried till it becomes crispy...with lots of spices in it!! teh curry also looks amazing!

  13. Thanks for your comment. Reposting an archived dish is needed so that your readers become aware of the event. You could post separately with a picture and link back to the original post or you could mention your participation with the picture and logo in one of your new posts.
    Looking forward to your entry.

  14. looks so colourful... would not have guessed it to be pavakai - looks like a mix vegetable curry - must have tasted great :)

  15. New recipe with Karela I always make gojju with it. Looks and sounds delicious.Will give this a try..

  16. Loved this one Lavanya..My hubby's fav veggie..So I gotto try this ..Thanks..:)

  17. I make pavakai poriyal once a week, your is a new method to me Laavanya, I like the ground spices you have used, I should definitely try this yummy recipe :)

  18. With kasakasa, it should have taste different!!

  19. looks yumm.. i love bittergourd..and keeplooking out for different recipes..this one sounds good..

  20. wow.. your pic will tempt even a hater of pavakai.. i love this veg and wud love to try this.

  21. fav dish of me and my hubby.will make it in a different way.pic looks tempting.

  22. I think this is not my dish ;) I too like little only the deep fried version!

  23. I like it stuffed with onion-jaggery and shallow-fried. No fun eating bittergourd without some bitterness.

  24. Even I like this veggie but most of the time try the deep fried version only...this one looks gud as its healthy too!

  25. That's true Veggie belly, fried is good :) I like that version too.

    Deesha, will check out your gojju sometime.

    Thanks Happy Cook - am sure you are not alone in not liking this veggie.

    EC, i know this looks deceiving so i tried to serve it to my husband w/o mentioning what it is but after one taste he knew and quick put it back on my plate :)

    Asha, that's how my husband likes it too.. you don't like even that version?

    Rajitha, oh i've always felt that way... even as a kid, i was quite happy that my brother wouldn't touch yogurt with a pole - more for me :)

    Thank you Vanamala.

    Cham, sometimes i can't believe how much i enjoy this combination.

    Thanks Indo.

    Poornima, thank you and also for the comment explaining the event rules :)

    Madhu, i know there are quite a few in your club.

    Sujatha, since they are chopped finely not too discernible in the picture but one taste and you will know exactly where the pavakkai is :) If your husband likes pavakkai in general, i have a feeling he will like this.

    Superchef.. i love how you've described your preferred method of pavakkai preparation - sounds delish.

    Thank you Indhu, madhu, Varsha & Gita - hope you get a chance to try it.

    Thank you Lavi & Sowmya.

    Mahima & Jeyashri.. thank you so much! :) - hope you get to try it.

    Thank you Divya.

    Raks :) my husband will be quite happy to see the list of those who don't like this veggie.

    Sra, wow that's unique.. the jagger must help balance the bitterness I suppose.

    Shama, thank you.

    Sharmilee - true.. most pple like that version the best.

  26. Am the one who doesnt taste this when cooked as a curry except for the chutney my grandma makes....

  27. So drolling and I am very sure it'll be taste great with tiny bite size of jaggery. I too make it same. Let u know that I subscribe ur blog.

  28. I think that's the most delicious looking karela dish I've ever seen! :)


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