Friday, February 4, 2011

Pavakkai Vengayam Vadhakkal/Bitter Gourd Onion Stir Fry..

Bitter Gourd or 'Pavakkai' as it is known in Tamil  is very low in calorie and dense in nutrients.
It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3, C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and has high dietary fiber.  It is rich in iron, contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana.
The bitterness of the vegetable is perfectly offsett by its goodness, finding it a place in the platter.
There are many dishes which can be made using this vegetable and this is a simple stir fry recipe which is sure to seduce your taste buds!!


Bitter Gourd- 3 to 4 medium sized

Onions- 1 large

Curry leaves - a sprig

Oil- 2 Tbsp

Mustard seeds- 2 Tsp

Urad dhall- 1 Tbsp

Hing/Asafoetida- a pinch

Turmeric- a pinch

Red chilly powder- 1 Tsp

Curry Powder- 1 Tbsp

Powdered Jaggery- 1 Tbsp

Salt to taste

Ingredients for curry powder:

To dry roast and coarsely grind:

Kadalai paruppu/channa dhall-1 Tbsp

Ulutham paruppu/urad dhall-1 Tbsp

Thovaram paruppu/thoor dhall-1 Tbsp

Dry Red chillies (bedege/kashmiri mirchi)-6 nos.

Dhaniya/coriander seeds-1 Tbsp

Katti Peringayam/hing- a small piece

Grated dry coconut/kopparai-4 Tbsp

Black Pepper/melagu-1 Tsp

Cumin seeds/Jeeragam-1 Tsp

Cinnamon-1 inch piece


1.Wash the bitter gourd well and cut it into small pieces removing the seeds and chop the onions finely.

2.Heat oil in a pan and let the mustard seeds splutter, then add urad dhall, hing, curry leaves and the onions.

3.Add half the quantity of salt and let the onions sweat and saute it till turns transparent.

4.Add the bitter gourd and the remaining salt and turmeric and let it cook for about five to six minutes.

5.Once the bitter gourd is half cooked, add the red chilly powder, curry powder and jaggery and stir fry for about 20 minutes till the veggies shrink and get cooked fully.

6.This curry is best when mixed with hot steamed rice and a dollop of ghee on it or hot phulkas!!

Note: The curry is sweet as well as bitter in nature and that is what compliments its taste.
To reduce the bitter taste, alternately you can sprinkle some diluted tamarind water on the veggie when it is cooking.
You can use any curry powder or thengai podi (coconut powder) or even idli milagai podi (gun powder) for the stir fry as it also helps in roasting the curry.

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