Pavakkai pitla is one of the curries my father loves a lot. Grandma used to make it often whenever she got some pavakkai or bitter gourd. This is a part of traditional Tamil Brahmin cuisine. While growing up I hated bitter gourd, as it name suggests they are bitter to taste. As a grown up however I became a fan of bitter gourd, when I ever see them in the market, I will buy them. There are two varieties of bitter gourd, one is Indian one and other is Chinese one. I don’t like the Chinese one. I love the Indian one. You can make chips, juice or a tasty curry with them. Read more about Bitter gourd/ from here.
Pavakka/ Bitter gourd has immense health benefits; it help to cure toxemia, it contain a hypoglycemic compound which helpful in lowering sugar levels in blood and urine in diabetes mellitus. Due to its high beta carotene content it helps in improving eyesight and eye problems etc read more from here.
My hubby loves bitter gourd chips when it is baked with chili powder and salt. Grandma was one of the great cook I have seen in my life. Even if she made just a curry with raw onion and red chili and salt with little bit coconut oil, it tasted great and you could eat a bowl full of rice with that or even a dozen dosa( pancake) . Appa always used to tell my mom that you have to learn cooking from my mother, poor mom she tried to cooks grandma’s recipes, and even though it was good she got complaints that it was not as great as grandma’s. Grandma makes even bitter gourd a delectable dish. However I was not able to learn from her, but I learnt this recipe from Raji Akka when I visited India last time. She is a good cook and taught me this curry by cooking it for me. It contains toor dal, tamarind and bit of jaggery for slight sweetness. Here is the recipe.
Toor dal : 1/3 cup
Tamarind: small ping pong ball sized
Salt: ½ teaspoon or to taste
Turmeric: ¼ teaspoon
Oil: 1 ½ tablespoon
Mustard seeds: ¼ teaspoon
Asafetoida: ¼ teaspoon
Oil : 2 teaspoon
Curry leaves: 1 sprig( about 10 no)
Oil : 1 teaspoon
Grated coconut: 4 tablespoon
Red chili : 3 no
Pepper cons: ¼ teaspoon
Chana dal: 2 teaspoon
Urad dal: 1 teaspoon
Coriander: 2 teaspoon
Rice: ¼ teaspoon
How I made
Soak the toor dal for 30 minutes. Wash and pressure cook the dal with 1 ½ cup water for 3 visiles. Set aside.
In sauce pan heat 1 ½ tablespoon of oil and fry the pavakka or bitter gourd pieces for 5 minutes.To this add ½ cup of water , salt and turmeric. Let it cook for another 10 minutes.
In the mean time in a small skillet heat one teaspoon of oil and roast chana dal, coriander seeds, urad dal, pepper corns , Red chili until raw smell is removed and nice aroma is released this takes about 2 minutes and set aside. I prefer to roast them one by one. In the same pan add coconut and fry until they turn slight brown in color. Keep aside. Once everything is cooled grind everything into a coarse fine paste. And set aside.
Heat tamarind with ½ of cup of water in microwave at high for 15 seconds and extract juice and set aside.
Once the bitter gourd pieces are cooked then add tamarind juice and jaggery bring it to a boil. To this add ground paste and mashed cooked toor dal and again boil for 2 minutes or until spices are distributed uniformly.
In mean time heat a small skillet and add oil and mustard, asafetodia, curry leaves and when mustard seeds start spluttering remove from the heat and add it to bitter gourd curry.
Enjoy with hot rice.
Enjoy with hot rice.
Yield: 4 serving
Will you make it again: Yes I will