Paavakkai Puli Curry/Bitter gourd in tamarind sauce

Puli curry or puli kottu is a traditional South Indian delicacy which is served as an accompaniment or can be mixed with white rice.Vegetables such as okra,bitter gourd,brinjal and yellow pumkin are used to make the puli curry.
It can be made with freshly ground masala or sambhar powder and today I made this one with sambhar powder,bitter gourd and black chick peas.Now to the recipe..............


Bittergourd/pakarkkai2nos.(long variety)
Sambhar powder2tsp
Shallots/chinna vengayam10nos.
Tomato1no.(medium size)
Tamarindgooseberry size
Black chick peas/karuppu kondai kadalai3/4cup(cooked)
Saltto taste
Mustard seeds/kadugu1tsp
Curry leaves/karivepillai1sprig


              Slice the bitter gourd and shallots thinly,chop the tomato and soak the tamarind in a cup of water.Grind the coconut and sambhar powder to a fine paste,set it aside
Heat a pan with oil,throw in the mustard seeds and curry leaves,saute the shallots to transparent with a pinch of salt.Now add in the sliced bitter gourd and fry it till it changes the color,add the tomato and cook it.
At this stage add the ground paste,tamarind water,salt and cook it in a medium flame till the raw smell goes off.
Finally add the cooked chickpeas and allow o boil it for a minute.Garnish it with coriander leaves.
 Serve it with steamed rice with a dash of ghee.


  • Instead of cooked chick peas,peanuts can also be used.
  • The consistency can be adjusted according to personal preference and becomes thick on cooling.
  • For the fresh spice powder,dry roast 1tbs of coriander seeds,3 red chillies,2tsp of channa dhal and grind it with grated coconut. 
  • Sliced garlic can also be used along with shallots.


tempting curry.. always like the bitterness of this veggie.. making me hungry now :)

Finger licking good, such an inviting dish you made Nalini. Will try it.

This is to my taste..I am bookmarking it..yummy...can't wait to make it and eat it :)

Nalina, I liked this curry. It is somewhat similar to the Theeyal that southern Kerala cooks make. I have never tried the combination with the ingredients but these sound perfect with rice.
I liked your photos and I feel that the Pavakkai curry would stand on its own without the vegetable in the background. :-)

Paavakkai puli curry looks delicious...I never tried sambar powder with bitter gourd..

Lovely curry, nice used of ingredients, the tamarind helps to nullify the bitter taste of the gourd. great clicks too.

I got introduced to this dish only after marriage and I simply love it...We make it pretty much the same way except for the addition of coconut and we add jaggery too

Delicious tangy curry, Pictures are inviting me to grab the whole bowl..

We prepare this puli curry very often at home in the same way except kadai/chickpea. Adding chickpea is totally new to me. never added before. will try it next time when i prepare.

I liked the method you prepared seeing the photo one can say how delicious it has tasted..Looks so delicious..

this is my fav too...sounds too delicious n looks very inviting!!

Pavakkai was never my fav but since my marriage I have a new found love for this one. Thanks to my husband. Will try this & report :) Also, following you now

Pavakkai pulicurry look delicious...

Never tried adding chickpeas along with bittergourd, fingerlikcing kuzhambu definitely..


I love this pavakka curry. My mom prepares it when ever I am in Kerala. Seeing this photo I feel nostalgic. At home we prepares pavakka pulicurry in a different way. Please take a look at our preparation also and let me know your comments.
I love the way you presented the step wise photos.

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