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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Pitlai is a great recipe from South India with freshly ground spices, and the consistency will be slightly thicker than sambhar / kozhambhu and slightly thinner than kootu. It has a little more vegetable than in sambhar.This is mixed with hot rice and ghee in a South Indian thali. Often this is done with pavakkai (bittergourd).


Pavakkai (Bittergourd) - 100 gm (1 big)
Tamarind - half the size of a lemon
Toor dhal - 1/4 cup
Gram dhal (kadalai paruppu) - 1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Salt - as per taste

To fry in oil and grind to a paste:
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
Gram dhal - 1 teaspoon
Dry red chillies - 2 or 3
Coconut scraped - 2 tablespoons
Hing - a pinch

To temper :
Oil - 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Dry red chilly - 1
Curry leaves - a sprig


Chop bittergourd. Boil in water alongwith salt and turmeric powder. When cooked, drain the water completely and keep aside.

Pressure cook toor dhal and gram dhal separately alongwith turmeric powder.

Soak tamarind in water and extract juice from it. Keep aside.

Fry the items(except coconut) given in "To fry in oil and grind to a paste". Grind alongwith scraped coconut to a paste.

Heat a kadai, pour in the tamarind extract and allow it to boil for a while. Now add in the cooked bittergourd, ground paste and pressure cooked dhal. Allow it to boil till thick. Temper with the given ingredients.

Pavakkai pitlai is ready to be served with hot rice and ghee.


  1. Nice recipe! My mom makes a bit similar way as well :)

  2. This is the best recipe to eat pavakkai. The bitterness is tempered with the cooking of the vegetable in the tamarind extract. I will add a bit of jaggery to it.

  3. My Uncle alwayz insist me to try this :)

  4. We do make almost the same way,wonderful recipe....

  5. Nice healthy recipe,love this veggie..will surely try

  6. I like bitter gourd but never tasted bitter gourd pitla. Couple of days ago, came across another recipe for this pitla. Will try it sometime

  7. Lovely recipe. this version is new to me. We do a stuffing in pavakka and deep fry it and thats what we call as pitlai. This version sounds interesting too :)

  8. You have a very nice blog here..happy to follow you!

  9. such a nice flavorful and authentic dish.

  10. One of my favourite.Its a long time since I had this.
    Looks delicious

  11. Never tried making this. Nice recipe will try it soon !!

  12. learned a new recipe..delicious and different..Loved your wonderful blog..

  13. I had this at the Kanchi matt meal. It was amazing.

  14. karela recipes are always welcome, thanks for a traditonal recipe shanthiji

  15. It has been a long time since i made this. Delicious pitlai

  16. Was one my amma's stellar preparations - brings back fond memories - I too make it, but good pavakai is hard to come by!

  17. Looks very yummy!!

    Do link in your best recipes in "COLLECTION OF BEST RECIPES"

    Thanks for stopping by mine

  18. Pitlai sounds too delicious..Never tried this version,even though we luv bitter gourds at home...Sure,i will try.

  19. wow..that looks tasty & inviting..;)
    Tasty Appetite


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