Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bitter Gourd Pitlai

          When I mention the vegetable bitter gourd (pavakkai, karela), I know there are quite a few people out there, like my husband and daughter who are going to turn off. As for me, I love this vegetable, especially the way my mom makes it (will do a post later ), but the only way the family will take it is in the form of a fry (where the vegetable is killed off it's valuable nutrients ) or this pitlai, I prefer the latter for known reasons. Adding tamarind and other spices brings down the bitterness, and it tastes delicious with rice and adding a little ghee makes it even more tastier, I know many of you will have your own versions, this is mine..

Need To Have
  •  Bitter Gourd - sliced 2 cups
  • Tuvar Dal - 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind - small lemon size
  • Tomato Puree - 5 tablespoons
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sambar Powder - 2 teaspoons
  • Jaggery - 2 teaspoons
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Grated Coconut - 1 + 1/2 tablespoons
  • Curry Leaves - 10 
Roast And Grind
  • Dried Red Chillies - 3
  • Coriander Seeds - 1 tablespoon
  • Black Peppercorns - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Chana Dal - 1 teaspoon
  • Urad Dal - 1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida - 1/2 teaspoon

          Pressure cook the tuvar dal with half of the turmeric powder and extract the juice from the tamarind. For the bitter gourd, remove the spike-like things off the skin ( slightly brush it with a peeler, do not remove the skin entirely ), deseed them and then slice them. Cook the bitter gourd pieces with the tamarind extract, sambar powder, remaining turmeric powder and salt. Roast all the ingredients under roast-and-grind and make a paste with the coconut. Once the vegetable is almost cooked, add the tomato puree and jaggery, cook for a couple of mins, then add the cooked dal and ground paste and cook it for 5 more mins. Finally heat some oil, add the mustard seeds, once it stops spluttering, add the curry leaves and pour this over the prepared pitlai. Serve warm with rice, some vegetable curry and pappads for a complete meal.

Sending it to Roshan's Cucina who is hosting the Kerala Kitchen event this month,
                to Spicy Treats for the Show Me Your Hits - Healthy Delights event and
                to Wit, Wok And Wisdom for the Love For Lentils event.

The red chillies I have are very hot, use yours wisely.
Can replace the tomato puree with whole tomatoes, but cook it along with the bitter gourd.
Can double the amount of coconut and do the seasoning with ghee, but I prefer to keep it this way.

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  1. Even i like this pavakai only in pitlae form. Nice one with vathal.

  2. I love pitlai too! Husband just doenst like it..but this time i have got them, telling him he has to taste pitlai & will love it :D..i love arise madam too.. hema, samba lunch :)

  3. love pavakkai pitlai, yours looks so yummy n tempting...nice prepration dear!
    Thanks for this wonderful entry..
    Spicy Treats
    OnGoing Event:Show Me Your HITS~Healthy Delights

  4. I love bitter gourds in any form,This looks very tempting!!

    Erivum Puliyum

  5. Nice pitlai..I am not a big fan of paavakkai, but can have it once in a while!;)

    Thanks for dropping by in my Tamil blog..will come n explore Ur recipes later.

  6. very flavourful and delicious curry..healthy too..i am not a big fan of bitter gourds, this sounds interesting though :)

    Join me for the Just "4" Fun event :)

  7. very tempting preperation with bbittergourd....

  8. hv never tried pitlai despite my mil makes it so good.. i love this version ..bookmarked

  9. Even we too make this and i am a big fan of pitlai. Nice recipe

  10. Thanks for visiting my blog and for ur lovely comments..u too have a very nice blog here....the bitter ground curry looks mouth watering.....we prepare this curry in different method..this is new to me....must try...

  11. wonderful recipe !!. bitter gourd curry looks yummy

  12. Hello Hema!!! This is a fantastic an inviting dish!!! Thx for dropping by my space & letting me know of your awesome blog..Happy to follow u too & will be a regular visitor from now on :) Keep rocking!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  13. We love bitter gourd:-) I cant wait to try this yummy recipe!Looks soo inviting!

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Happy to give you the Liebster Award Hema :). do drop by my space to collect it! Here's the link
    Liebster Blog Award

  16. i belong to the group who LOVES bittergourd :) this looks yummy

  17. Healthy dish..sum times v should cook this kind of dishes..