Bitter Gourd Tamarind Curry | Pavakka Puli Kuzhambu | Bitter Gourd/ Karela/ Pavakka Recipe

Pavakka Puli Kuzhambhu is one of the first recipe that I tried using Pavakka, if you had seen my earlier recipe on Pavakka Stir Fry you would know this. Since I was new to cooking this veg I had great difficulty to find the perfect recipe and when I saw my friend Saranya post this recipe I immediately set all doubts aside and went ahead with it. Thanks Saranya for sharing this wonderful recipe which is one of my favorite now. 

Pavakka Puli Kozhambhu is a tangy curry which is mild in spice and is a great accompaniment with white rice and any veg side. Its a perfect satisfying curry for those days when we wish to go vegan. It does take a while to make this so don't do it when you are in a hurry, to be honest it tastes great the next day ;-). The bitter gourd does not taste bitter but very mild in bitterness hence if you are someone who hates this veg go ahead try it and you will love it for sure.

Verdict ~ A favorite recipe @ home and we have it every fort-night

Recipe Source ~ Sarani's Kitchen
Serves ~ 4
Prep time ~ 15 mins
Cooking time ~ 20 mins

Bitter Gourd/ Pavakka - 2

Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
Tamarind - 1 medium gooseberry size
Dry Red chilli - 4
Hing (Asafoetida) - 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

Curry Leaves - 1 spring
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Sambar/ pulikulambu powder - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil as required

To Grind~
Coconut - 2 tbsp
Fennel Seed - 1 tsp


  1. Wash and cut pavakkai horizontally into discs. Soak in salt water for about 10 minutes. Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of warm water set aside.
  2. Drain the excess water from the bitter gourd and spread it on kitchen towel to absorb all traces of water.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the bitter gourd to brown color. Take care not to burn them and using a slotted spoon drain them and spread over kitchen towel
  4. In the same oil, add the mustard seeds once they splutter then add fennel seeds and chopped onion fry til onion becomes light brown. Now add chopped tomatoes followed by turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and sambar powder (or pulikulambu powder) and salt. Add half cup water and let it cook until oil separates. 
  5. Add the fried bitter gourd and mix well followed by tamarind juice. Let this mixture come to a boil. Grind the coconut with fennel seeds and mix the paste with it.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium cover and let it cook for about 10-15 mins, till the curry becomes thick
Serve hot with white rice and your favorite veg porriyal

Cooks Wisdom 

- Soaking pavakka in salt water reduces bitterness and also frying them
- If using tamarind paste use 3 tbsp along with 1.5 cups water
- The curry can be diluted as per preference


  1. lovely delicious and it wont taste so bitter.nice clicks

  2. delicious pavakka curry..i love that last pic :)

  3. Yummy curry. Mine is same...

  4. Pavakkai kuzhambu looks so tempting..
    And Priya I tried your pavakkai stir fry last week for lunch, it was delicious. We both just loved it..

    1. wow Divya :) thanks for trying dear and so happy you loved it

  5. Love bitter gourd and this sounds a super yum curry,tempting.

  6. very delicious kuzhambu.. i love bitter gourd in kara kuzhambu..

  7. So tempting...Mouthwatering clicks!!!

  8. Priya I love bitter gourd in any form. I make pavakka pitali, this puli kuzhambu looks yumm.

  9. Awesome dear..Congrats for expanding ur horizon:)ur clicks are so lovely dear....

  10. gravy looks yummy and delicious :).really healthy

  11. i have never tried this gourd in a gravy.looks awesome dear.

  12. love, love the pics; looks yum and pavakkai is my fav vegetable so this one has my attention :)

  13. Beautiful clicks and I am sure this must be a nice tangy dish.

  14. Lovely tangy dish with my favorite karela.

  15. Love bitter gourd and have book marked this recipe. Lovely.

  16. Super tempting fingerlicking tamarind curry. Just love anything with bittergourd


Thank you for visiting, I hope you enjoyed my recipes :-) In case you have tried any of the recipes featured here, do let me know in the comment section. For any other queries email me - cooklikepriya(at)

Priya Ranjit

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