Bitter gourd (Pavakaai) Curry

Pavakkai curry, also known as bitter gourd curry, is a popular South Indian dish made with bitter gourd, onions, tomatoes, and a blend of spices. The bitter gourd is first sliced and then cooked with the onions, tomatoes, and spices until it is soft and well-flavored. It is typically served with rice or roti and is known for its unique flavor and health benefits.

Bitter gourd (Pavakaai) Curry

Recipe by S Kamala
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: Poriyal, SidesCuisine: Indian, TamilDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Pavakkai curry, a traditional South Indian dish made with bitter gourd, onions, tomatoes, and aromatic spices.


  • Bitter Gourd (Pavakkai) – 4 to 5

  • Onion – 1

  • Tomato – 1

  • Sambar Powder – 2 teaspoons

  • Turmeric Powder – 1/4 teaspoon

  • Tamarind – a small gooseberry size

  • Jaggery powdered – 1 teaspoon

  • For Seasoning:
  • Oil – 3-4 teaspoons

  • Mustard Seeds – ½ teaspoon

  • Urad dhal – 1 teaspoon

  • Jeera – 1 teaspoon

  • Asafoetida Powder – a pinch

  • Curry Leaves – few

  • Salt – 1 teaspoon or as per taste


  • Wash and cut the pavakkai into medium size pieces or thin slices. Chop the onion and tomato.
  • Boil two to three glasses of water and when it is boiling put the pavakkai pieces. Allow to cook for five minutes. Do not overcook. Just blanch it. Remove from stove and drain excess water.
  • In a kadai put the oil and when it is hot, add mustard. When it pops up add urad dhal, jeera, asafetida and curry leaves.
  • Then add chopped onion and fry till it turns transparent.
  • Add tomato pieces along with a pinch salt and fry till it mashed well. Add sambar powder, turmeric powder and salt.
  • Mix well and add cooked pavakkai pieces.
  • Stir well and add tamarind juice along with jaggery powder. Close with a lid and cook it in low flame for few minutes.

Recipe Video


  1. Hi,
    I tried the above recipe. really good and healthy.
    but draining the boiled water is ok?
    because that water have all nutritions of bitter gourd ?
    can we use that water for any other purpose?
    or still after draining that boiled water , we get the whole nutrition of bitter gourd?

    • Hi Anussha,

      To remove the bitterness to some extent, we are draining the water. Nutrition loss may be very less only. Still you want to use it for health reasons, you can add bittergourd straight to the curries. But using the drained water in any other dish will make it bitter.

  2. Also what is curry powder,how should jaggery be added by diluting and straining or as powder form

    • Curry powder is a mix of red chillies, coriander seeds and dal. Check for recipe in the “Masala Powder” section on this site. Jaggery can be added as powder form.

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