Bitter gourd has so many nutrients and its been used in the treatment of Diabetes. We have to include this veggie as much as possible in our Diet. But the main barrier here is the bitterness of this veggie. We can reduce the bitterness of this veggie by adding masalas and tamarind water which absolutely reduces the bitterness and gives and heavenly taste to the dishes.

       In South India each state has its own Bitter gourd preparation using tamarind and masalas similar to this. In Tamil Nadu they call as Kara kuzhambu. Similar to  that in Kerala we use roasted coconut and maslas to prepare this yummy dish.

Pavakka theeyal

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Cuisine: Kerala
Serves: 4


Bitter gourd, chopped-1 big
Oil- 2 teaspoons
Tamarind- small gooseberry size

To roast and grind:
Coconut- 1 cup
pearl onion, finely chopped-5
Jeera/ cumin seeds- 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder- 1/4 teaspoon
Chilli powder- 1½ teaspoons
Coriander Powder- 1½ teaspoons

To temper:
Oil- 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds- 1/4 teaspoons
Dried red Chilli, broken- 2
Curry leaves- 1 strand

Kaipakka Theeyal


  • In a pan roast the coconut, onion, jeera  till you get the dark golen colour. Add little oil if needed. 
  • Once it browns add the turmeric, chilli powder and coriander powder and mix well with coconut and allow to leave the raw masala smell for about fifteen seconds and turn off the gas and allow to cool.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the bitter gourd and saute in oil after a minute sprinkle some salt and cook till the cut edges of the bitter gourd brown lightly.
  • Soak tamarind in water and extract the juice and add with this. Allow to cook for a minute or two till the raw taste of tamarind leaves.
  • Grind this coconut mixture inside a blender. First powder the coconut then add water and grind as a paste.
  • Now add the ground coconut paste and mix well. Add half to one cup of water to dilute the curry.
  • Bring it to boil once the curry stats to bubble, add the tempering and switch off the gas.
  • Heat oil in a pan and mustard seeds once it starts to splutter add the broken dried red chilli and curry leaves and fry for fifteen seconds and pour it over the theeyal.
  • Notes: Theeyal can be prepared with the addition of onions and tomatoes sauteed  at the beginning before adding the veggie.
  • Pepper powder, fenugreek powder can be added if you wish.  
Onam Sadya Recipes

Onam Sadya Reicpes