Pavatkai Kulambu

Today’s recipe is my mother’s delicious ‘pavatkai’ (bitter gourd) recipe. My grandmother used to first soak the chopped bitter gourd in fresh coconut water before cooking it to remove its bitterness. My mother prefers retaining a certain amount of the bitterness so she doesn’t use coconut water. Bitter gourd Pavatkai Kulambu Time taken: 30 – 40 mins Serves 4 Pavatkai curry Ingredients:

  • Bitter gourd/ pavatkai – 1 cup, chopped
  • Tamarind extract – 1 cup, thin consistency
  • Onion – ½ chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Coconut milk or non-fat milk – ¼ cup
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Cook the chopped bitter gourd in water, in a pan, for about 5 to 10 mins on medium heat.
  2. Add the tamarind extract, curry powder, curry leaves, chopped onion and salt to taste to the pan.
  3. Let the ingredients combine and simmer on low heat for about 15 to 20 mins. If the bitter gourd is not tender enough as the liquid starts drying up, add ½ cup of water.
  4. Add ¼ cup of coconut milk or non-fat milk and a tsp of sugar. Mix well and let the curry simmer for another 5 to 10 mins on low heat.
  5. Remove from heat and serve with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.


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