Pavakaai (Bitter gourd) Puzhi Kuzhambu


  • Tiny bittergourds (Mithi Pavakai) – 1 cup
  • Sambar Onion – 15 to 20 Nos
  • Garlic flakes – 10 to 15 Nos
  • Tomato – 1
  • Tamarind – a small lemon size
  • Sambar Powder – 1 tablespoon (heaped)
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • For seasoning:
  • Gingelly Oil – 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Mustard – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Bengal gram dal – 1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek (Vendayam) – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida Powder – a pinch
  • Curry Leaves – few
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon or as per taste


  1. For this Kuzhambu, the tiny size pavakaai (chinna pavakai) also known as “mithi pavakkai” tastes good. If you do not get this, then you can use regular bittergourd also.
  2. Cut both the ends from the tiny pavakai. Put in boiling water and allow to boil for few minutes and remove. (If you add little jaggery in the boiling water, it will reduce the bitterness from the bittergourd).
  3. Soak tamarind in water and squeeze out the juice by adding 2 cups of water little by little.
  4. Peel sambar onion and keep it as a whole – no need to cut it. Peel garlic flakes also. Chop tomato into small pieces.
  5. In a Kadai put the oil and when it is hot, add mustard. When it starts pop up add bengal gram dal and fry till it turn light brown. Add asafoetida and fenugreek (vendayam) and fry just for a second. Add whole onions and fry for few seconds. Add garlic flakes and fry again for few more seconds. Add curry leaves and chopped tomatos and fry till tomato mashed well. Add turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. Mix everything well. Add pavakkai, tamarind water and stir it well. Close with a lid and allow to boil. When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and keep it on stove for few minutes and remove.

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