Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu Recipe

Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu – A spicy and tangy curry with a mild bitter taste, cooked in gingelly oil and simmered in a tamarind based curry. 

pavakkai puli kuzhambu recipe

We try new recipes, enjoy the new taste and days later we forget about it. But only a few dishes become a part of our regular menu. This Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu has made it to that list of mine. I got this recipe from Solai Achi’s Blog. Whenever I want to try authentic chettinad recipes, I refer to the recipes of Mrs.Revathi Shanmugam, one of my favourites and Solai Achi, another expert whose recipes speak a lot about her experience.

Still I remember the day when this recipe was published on her blog. As I love bitter gourd in any form, I was so excited to see a new bitter gourd recipe and tried it immediately. The curry was tangy, spicy with a mild bitter taste. We loved it to the core. I made very little changes to the recipe to suit my taste. If you like bitter gourd, you will not regret your decision to try this out. Ladle this delicious pavakkai puli kuzhambu on steamed rice and enjoy!

recibites_iconAccording to the English Royal Dining Etiquette, one should stop eating as soon as the Queen finishes her meal.

Check out these recipes.

Mixed Vegetable Dal
Pagarkaai Pitlai | Bitter Gourd Pitlai
Arachuvitta Sambar
Easy Mor Kuzhambhu

Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambhu
Pineapple Rasam

Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu Recipe:

Cuisine : Indian – Tamilnadu
Category : Curries for rice
Makes : 2-3 servings

Preparation Time : 10 min (excluding the soaking time for tamarind)
Cooking Time : 25 min

Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu – ReciCode 

Heat gingelly oil & season with mustard, fenugreek, fennel seeds → Add onions, tomatoes, garlic & saute till light brown → Add asafoetida, bitter gourd, curry leaves & saute till cooked → Mix tamarind extract, water, coriander powder, sambar powder, turmeric powder, salt and add → Let it cook over medium flame till it becomes thick & the oil separates → Add a small piece of jaggery → Mix well & serve with steamed rice.

1 cup : 240 ml


  • 1 medium size Bitter Gourd
  • 10 Small Onions, sliced (Here I have used 1 big Onion)
  • 1 medium size Tomato, chopped
  • 5 big cloves Garlic, cut lengthwise
  • A small gooseberry size Tamarind
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 2 tsp Sambar Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Asafoetida
  • A sprig of Curry Leaves
  • A small piece of Jaggery (optional)
  • Salt as required

  For Seasoning:

  • 1/2 tsp Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek
  • 2 tbsp Gingelly Oil

How to make Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu?

1. Soak the tamarind in water and extract the juice. Wash and remove the ends of the bitter gourd. Cut into rounds. If the seeds are tender, you can use it. Otherwise remove the seeds.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add the ingredients required for seasoning. Add the onion, tomato and garlic. Saute with a pinch of salt till the onions become light brown and the skin of the tomatoes starts shrinking. Add the asafoetida and saute for few seconds.

3. Add the bitter gourd and curry leaves. Saute for 4-5 min or till they are sauteed very well. (Here I fried just till they are cooked, as I love bitter gourd like this. It tastes good if sauteed well).

4. Mix 3 cups of water with the tamarind extract. Add coriander powder, sambar powder, turmeric powder and salt.

5. Pour this mixture into the pan. Check the salt and spices. Add salt/sambar powder/tamarind extract if required to balance the taste, at this stage.

6. Let the curry boil over medium flame till it becomes thick and the oil separates. Add a small piece of jaggery and mix well. A finger-licking pavakkai puli kuzhambu is ready to be served with steaming hot rice.


  • Sauteeing the vegetables well in oil imparts a good flavor.
  • Use gingelly oil to get the aunthentic flavor.
  • Adding jaggery is optional. The mild sweetness of jaggery balances all the other flavors and improves the taste of the curry.
  • Curry tastes excellent only if cooked till the oil separates.

Happy Cooking!


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