Pavakkai Fry

Pavakkai fry is a popular South Indian dish made with bitter gourd (also known as bitter melon or karela) as the main ingredient. It is a simple and flavorful dish that is usually enjoyed as a side dish with rice or roti.

If you find the bitterness of the bitter gourd too strong, you can soak the sliced bitter gourd in butter milk water for about 15-20 minutes before cooking. This helps to reduce the bitterness. Remember to rinse and drain the bitter gourd slices thoroughly before cooking.

Pavakkai Fry

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


Prep time


Cooking time



Pavakkai fry is a well-liked South Indian dish made with bitter gourd, primarily enjoyed as a side. The recipe involves coating sliced bitter gourd in a mixture of spices, flours, and lemon juice. Deep-fried until golden brown, the dish’s bitterness can be subdued by soaking in buttermilk before cooking.


  • Bitter gourd – 4

  • Ginger/garlic paste – 1 teaspoon

  • Red chilly powder – 1 teaspoon

  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon

  • Garam masala – ½ teaspoon

  • Omam (Ajwin) powder – ½ teaspoon

  • Besan flour – 4 tablespoons

  • Rice flour – 2 tablespoons

  • Corn flour – 2 teaspoons

  • Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon

  • Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Oil for frying


  • Begin by thoroughly washing the bitter gourds. Slice each one lengthwise, and if they are large, you may cut them in half before slicing. Keep the seeds intact unless they are particularly hard.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced bitter gourd with all the other ingredients except for the oil. Toss gently to ensure each piece is well-coated with the seasoning. If the mixture seems too dry, sprinkle a little water to help the coating stick to the bitter gourd. Let the seasoned bitter gourd sit for about 5 minutes to marinate.
  • Next, heat a small amount of oil in a kadai over medium flame. Once the oil is sufficiently hot, carefully place the pieces of bitter gourd into the kadai one by one, ensuring they are not crowded.
  • Fry the bitter gourd slices until they are golden brown and crispy, turning them occasionally for even cooking. Once they’re done, remove them from the kadai and drain any excess oil on paper towels.
  • Enjoy your crispy fried bitter gourd as a snack or side dish!


  1. very nice recipes.i love your recpies so so much

  2. yummy recipe from you

  3. your kolam no 78 s so so so nice and cute

  4. Keerthana Praveen

    hi kamala mam,I was looking for this recipe for so long.thanks for posting it.I have small doubt,Can i substitute frozen pavakai for this fry?Bcos i do not get the fresh one where i live.will it be crisp?and also please can u tell me some ways of getting rid of bitterness(to some extent,bcos frozen one tend to be more bitter)?

  5. Hi Keerthana Praveen,

    You can use frozen one. Wash the frozen bittergourd pieces under running water and spread it in a clean paper towel. Allow to dry under shade. Then add the masala powders as above and try.

  6. Keerthana Praveen

    thanks for the prompt reply.will try soon.Each and every recipe that i try from your site WILL be a success. My husband is from TN and he likes traditional ways of cooking it which i don't know well,But now its a different case.Thanks very much for posting very healthy and traditional recipes.Mam,a small suggestion,adding "Kids corner" to ur site will be that we can make our kids eat lots of healthy food.I have daughter(2yrs),refuses to eat lot of there anything like sathumavu or something like that ,that can be prepared at home??

  7. Sarvepalli uma

    Do we need to add water before putting into oil or will the lemon juice itself is sufficient. Today I will try this. U r so kind like my mom. Thank u kamala mam.

    • Hi Sarvepalli Uma,

      Mostly, when you wash the bittergourd and cut, the water content in the vegetable along with lemon juice is sufficient. If you feel it is too dry and not binding, then just sprinkle little water and mix it well. If you add more water, then it will not be crisp when fried.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *