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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
Recipe rating: N/A
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!
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