Pavakkai Pitlai is a tangy, mildly spiced tamarind gravy, served with rice. The ground masala added to the Pitlai makes it very delicious when served with steamed rice and ghee.
Pitlai is much similar to the Arachuvita Sambar with a slight difference in the ingredients added. You can serve Pitlai in different ways. When you serve it thick as kootu, you have something else added to the plate. Or as kuzhambu it is thin and is the main dish with Rice and eaten. You can read about my previous version of Pavakkai Pitlai that was served to be mixed with rice.
Today’s recipe is slightly different than my previous recipe and can be served as kootu to your main dish. As Pitlai is mostly prepared with Bitter gourd, I went ahead with it as Hubby Dear likes it a lot.
How is Pitlai different from Arachuvita Sambar?
Both Pitlai and Arachuvita Sambar has similar spices and lentils roasted and ground. Arachuvita means made with the ground masala. There are some slight differences between these two dishes. While sambar is thinner though, with the ground masala, the sambar does end up being very thick, it uses more tamarind than Pitali.
The vegetables used in Pitali are Bittergourd, Ash Gourd, and Brinjal. Another difference is the use of lentils like Kabuli chana, black chana, and groundnuts that are not added to a Sambar. We do not add it to Sambar. Of course, these differences can differ from home to home. I have learned to make these from my friend’s moms and they make it like this.
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Some of the different names for Pavakkai Pitlai is Pavakai Pitlay / Bitter Gourd Pitlai / Pavakkai Kadalai Pitlai / Pakarkaai Pitlai.
Ingredients Used to make this Pavakkai Pitlai
Pitlai is a tangy thick kuzhambu. For the vegetable, you can use different vegetables like Bitter Gourd, Ash Gourd, or Brinjal.
For lentil, you can use Kabuli Chana or Black Chana. If you forget to soak the chickpea overnight, you can use Chana Dal as well.
Or you can use peanuts or mochai too.
This thick gravy uses freshly ground spice masala and it thickens the dish that you can eat as a side dish without mixing it in rice.
This is a No Onion No Garlic gravy that works out best on occasions you want to observe.
Serve Pitlai as a side dish for Rice. Both as a thick dish or a little more watery that it can be mixed in rice. Traditionally you serve with a serving of ghee topped over rice and enjoy.
To make it Vegan, you can skip the ghee.