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Pavakka Porriyal | Bitter Gourd Recipes | Pavakkai Pan Fry

Pavakka/ Bitter Gourd/ Karela is one veggie that was once hated by me. Pavakkai and me were big enemies, I would run the other direction if I knew that amma had made pavakka at home. Just few months before marriage one fine day I was so hungry and wanted to munch something I saw some chips in a cover and since I was too hungry I did not care what it was and went ahead munching it, to my surprise it was this forbidden veg and I actually liked it. You can guess what happened I changed my mind from not eating this veg I started to have only  pavakka chips and only that form nothing else.

Marriage does brings tons of change in habits and food is one major change for me. Married to someone who loves pavakkai I escaped from cooking it at home for over 1.5 yrs. Few weeks back the other half and me were grocery shopping and he picked 4 of this bitter veg and I had no excuses this time had to cook something with it. There's one other reason for me to take it as a challenge, my husband used to always say that his mom made the best pavakka kuzhambu... Do we women need any other challenge than this??? My first attempt was the Pavakka Puli Kuzhambu, I got this recipe from a friend Saranya who has started her own blog Sarani's Kitchen. It was seriously a great recipe and my second attempt with this veg is here. 

All that I am saying is if someone like me can start loving this veg so will you... try it and you will love it !!! This is a less oily version compared to the deep fried one. Everyone knows the health benefits of this veg and deep frying them is not going to make it healthy so try this recipe and relish it. Linking this recipe to South Indian cooking series hosted by Divya Prakash


Pavakai/ Bitter Gourd - 2, thinly sliced quartered

Onion - 1 medium, finely chopped
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corriander powder - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 spring
Green chilli - 3 chopped
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
Amchoor powder(Dry mango)- a generous pinch (optional)
Oil - 1 tbsp


  • Slice and soak the pavakkai in water with 1 tsp salt. Set aside for 5 minutes
  • In a wide non stick pan heat oil, add the curry leaves, green chilli, onion and saute well for 2 minutes. 
  • Squeeze excess water and add the pavakka to the pan. Stir well add the spices and salt and mix well. Cook for 7-8 minutes until crisp, add the sugar,  and continue mixing

Serve hot with sambar/rasam and rice or you can have it like the way I do with hot cup of coffee :-)

Cooks Wisdom

- Soaking pavakka in salty water removes the bitterness to 50% 
- Adding sugar also helps to balance the bitterness, jaggery can also be used
- Some put salt and turmeric and mix the pavakka and later squeeze the them to remove bitterness
- Adding amchoor powder is optional, it was my own idea to give some additional flavor


  1. Nice fry..nice combo for curd rice

  2. Bitter gourd is one of my favorite this one.

  3. Bitter gourd is my favorite this one.

  4. wow.. nice pavakai fry..

  5. Lipsmacking good. Adding amchur powder with bittergourd is new to me. A sure try recipe dear.

  6. Pavakka fry is one of my fav...perfect with rice and mango chutney..

  7. I love karelas prepared in any which way..
    Poriyal looks so inviting.

  8. healthy and delicious poriyal :)

  9. Sempre bello conoscere nuovi piatti!!!
    Un abbraccio e a presto!!!!!

  10. super recipe...feel like to grab that spoon full:

  11. Love the amchur powder touch here, one of my favourite veggie eventhough i hated it to the core when i was young, loving this pan fried ones.

  12. i love this veggie like anything priya.. i like to add potato with it.. nice preparation :)

  13. never used Amchur powder for this Priya. a good substitute to tamarind. healthy dish.

  14. Love the fav poriyal...

  15. Spicy and crispy,love this veggie..yummy

  16. bitter gourd fry looks so spicy n yumm...loved the addition of amchur powder!
    lovely presentation!

  17. My hubby loves pavakkai and he would love this poriyal for sure

  18. simple and healthy stir fry...

  19. Yum yum.. Bitter gourd is one of my fav.. Loved the recipe..

  20. Pavakka porriyal looks yummy...With the spices there I am sure the bitterness would be very less..

  21. My enemy this veg even now. I somehow have it keeping the health benefits.

    Love the recipe!!

  22. pavakka poriyal looks delicious :), of course not everybody would say so, but I love pavakka, yummy with curd rice.., lovely clicks as well

  23. Am very happy to see that you are trying different bitter gourd dishes:) its new version for me def going to try this dear...

  24. Simple and delicious bitter gourd fry. Love the addition of amchur.
    Thanks for linking it to the event, Priya.. :)

  25. I love bitter gourds. This looks yummy and simple to make. Lovely pics!

  26. tried it came out really well ..thumsup!!


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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