Pavakkai Pitlai | Bitter gourd Pitlai

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For the second day of Regional Cuisine, I have a traditional dish from Tamil Nadu. Its called the Pitlai. Its a side dish served along with Rice and slightly thicker than Sambar. This is one of those dishes one won’t find served in restaurant. Or atleast I haven’t tasted.
I have eaten this in my friends place and have always wanted to make it myself. While this pitlai gets prepared with few traditional vegetables, Bitter gourd or Pavakkai is the most famous vegetable used. Since I was cooking for a Sunday meal, I wanted it to be something that Hubby Dear likes. He likes bitter gourd and I felt I need to introduce a new dish to him.
We all loved it and the dish is pretty quick to make as well. The meal was quite simple with this served with rice and pappad along with Valakkai podi mas. There is nothing more satisfactory than a vegetarian meal that’s full of goodness of freshly ground masala. I adapted this from Viji of Vcuisine.
If you haven’t tried this yet, I strongly recommend you do! And of course it looks like a bittergourd day for my blogs, for I shared a Pavakkai Pakoda as well!

Pavakkai Pitlai
Ingredients Needed:
Bitter gourd – 1 cup / 2 medium
Raw ground nuts – fistful 
Toor dal – 1/4 cup
Tamarind – 1 small lemon size
Curry leaves few
Hing powder a pinch
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
To fry in 1 tsp ghee/oil and grind it with minimum water
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
Channa Dal – 2 tsp
Gram dal – 1 tsp
Urad dhal 1 tsp
Red chili 4 to 5 
Black pepper – 1 tsp
Fresh coconut – 2 tbsp
Hing powder 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves few
To temper
Oil –  1 tsp
Mustard seeds and hing powder a pinch
Red chili 1
Urad dhal 1 tsp
Curry leaves few
How to make the Pitlai
Wash and slice the bittergourd into 2 inch pieces. Soak with 1/2tsp salt for 10 – 20 mins. Squeeze the pieces well to ensure all the water is removed, roast in a tsp of oil till it changes colour. Keep it aside.
Soak the ground nuts for 10 mins. 
Pressure cook the dal along with the groundnut and keep it aside. 
For the masala powder, roast all the ingredients in oil and allow to cool. Grind to a smooth paste. 
Extract juice from tamarind.
In a kadai, bring the tamarind water to boil, add turmeric powder, hing and salt. Then add the fried bitter gourd and bring to boil. Now add the masala paste and adjust the consistency by adding water. 
Finally add jaggery if adding and then temper as given.
Serve with hot steamed rice and ghee. Papads make a great add on to this.

Pitlai will be slightly thicker than sambar and other gravies. 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

Pavakkai Pitlai | Bitter gourd Pitlai

Cuisine Tamil Nadu
Dish Type Gravy Side Dishes
Author Srivalli
Tried this recipe?Mention @Cooking4all or tag #Cooking4all!

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  1. my husband's fav veggie, although I dont cook it often 🙂 we make pitlai similarly without groundnuts though.. this version looks delicious 🙂

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