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Blogging Marathon# 61: Week 2/ Day 1

Theme: Meal Ideas

Dish: Bittergourd Pitlai

My theme for this week’s Blogging marathon is probably one of my favorite. It is ‘Meal Ideas‘, Valli wants us to showcase a complete meal even if that means sharing just one recipe. Coming up with a plan for a meal is quite an exercise for the brain which is why most of us try to delegate the task to the family by asking, ‘what do you want to eat today?’ I am one of those people who will ask this question and then reject almost everything that is being requested, only on very rare occasions a suggestion is actually cooked. But I don’t fail to ask the question 😉

Coming from south India, most of our meals revolve around rice, so for the next 3 days, I’m going to share some interesting meal ideas with rice as one of the component.

For today I have a simple south Indian thali meal (clockwise in the above picture) with rice, bittergourd pitlai, cabbage poriyalswiss chard dal, pickle, yogurt, chips and ghee.

The recipe for this pitlai is from Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan. This is a spicy, tangy, slightly sweet and absolutely delicious dish. I loved how all the different flavors complement each other. Adding toor dal to bittergourd is something very new to me and it gives the required protein to the dish. It tastes awesome after a few hours when the flavors get a chance to mingle.
Print Recipe
Bittergourd Pitlai Yum
Bittergourd pitlay or pitlai is a spicy, tangy, slightly sweet and absolutely delicious side dish made with bittergourd, coconut (fresh grated and coconut milk), tamarind and jaggery.
Bittergourd Pitlai
Course side dish
Cuisine tamil
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Toor dal
  • 2 ~ 3 Medium Bittergourd, finely chopped
  • 2 ~ 3 tbsps Tamarind pulp
  • 1 Tomato Medium , chopped
  • 2 tsps Sambar powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp jaggery Powdered
  • 1 tbsp Oil, divided
For the Spice Paste:
  • 6 chilies Dry Red
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Chana dal (Bengal gram dal)
  • 1 tsp Urad dal (Black gram dal)
  • 2 tbsps Coconut Grated
Other Ingredients:
  • ½ tsp Asafoetida / Hing
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 8 ~ 10 Curry leaves
  • To taste Salt
  • 2 tsps Ghee
  • 6 Cashews , halved
  • ¼ cup Coconut Milk
Course side dish
Cuisine tamil
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Toor dal
  • 2 ~ 3 Medium Bittergourd, finely chopped
  • 2 ~ 3 tbsps Tamarind pulp
  • 1 Tomato Medium , chopped
  • 2 tsps Sambar powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp jaggery Powdered
  • 1 tbsp Oil, divided
For the Spice Paste:
  • 6 chilies Dry Red
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Chana dal (Bengal gram dal)
  • 1 tsp Urad dal (Black gram dal)
  • 2 tbsps Coconut Grated
Other Ingredients:
  • ½ tsp Asafoetida / Hing
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 8 ~ 10 Curry leaves
  • To taste Salt
  • 2 tsps Ghee
  • 6 Cashews , halved
  • ¼ cup Coconut Milk
Bittergourd Pitlai
Instructions
  1. Pressure cook toor dal until soft and mushy. Set aside.
  2. Make Spice paste: Heat 2tsp oil in a pan, add dry red chilies, coriander seeds, chana dal, urad dal and hing. Cook till the spices are fragrant and lightly change their color. Grind into a smooth paste along with grated coconut. Set aside.
  3. Fry the cashew nuts in 2tsp ghee and set aside for garnish.
  4. If desired, par boil the bittergourd until tender along with some yogurt or tamarind paste. This step is not required, but if you want to expedite the cooking process do this otherwise just proceed with the recipe.
  5. In a pan, combine bittergourd along with tamarind paste, 1cup of water, sambar powder, turmeric, salt and jaggery. Simmer on a low heat till the vegetable is tender.
  6. Add the tomato and the ground spice paste and simmer for couple more minutes. Add the cooked dal and simmer till well blended.
  7. In a small pan, add 1tsp oil and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add to the pitlay.
  8. Stir in the coconut milk and turn off the pitlay. Garnish with fried cashews. Serve hot with rice.
    Stir in the coconut milk and turn off the pitlay. Garnish with fried cashews. Serve hot with rice.
Recipe Notes

Lets check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked today for BM# 61.

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12 thoughts on “Pavakkai Pitlai (Bittergourd Coconut Curry)”

  1. This pittlai looks delicious….my mom makes it all the time. And I also ask my family what they want and proceed to reject every suggestion!

  2. I guess every at plays the ‘what’s for dinner’ quiz. Whatever be the answer, its ‘chefs choice’ tha will be served finally! But I am sure your choices are good, so keep on it everyday :-)Lovely clicks as always!

  3. Your thali looks so inviting and I love the mood that sets in..I recently had made this pitlai and enjoyed it so much, even though I don’t eat karela..

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