Pavakkai Pitlai / Bittergourd Pitlai
Pavakkai Pitlai is a South Indian kuzhambu variety made using Bittergourd, Dal, Chickpeas and mildly spicy coconut gravy.
- 2 Bittergourd Medium
- 1/3 cup Toor Dal
- 1/4 cup Brown Chana
- Salt as needed
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- Tamarind small gooseberry sized
- Jaggery a pinch
For the masala paste
- 1 tsp Oil
- 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 2 tsp Chana Dal
- 5 Red Chillies
- 1/4 cup Grated Coconut
- 5 Fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- Asafoetida a pinch
- Curry Leaves Handful
- 3 tbsp Coriander Leaves finely chopped
Soak brown chana overnight and pressure cook for 3 whistles or until soft. It should not be mushy.
Pressure cook toor dal for 4 whistles or until done. Mash and keep aside.
Cut bittergourd into rounds and discard the seeds. Pressure cook for 3 whistles and keep aside.
Soak tamarind in 2 cups of warm water and extract the juice. Discard the tamarind pulp.
In a pan, add a tsp of oil. Once hot, add coriander seeds, chana dal, red chillies. Fry on medium flame till golden brown. Finally, add grated coconut and fenugreek seeds. Saute for a minute and switch off.
Once it cools down to room temperature, grind the above ingredients to a smooth paste adding little water.
To make the pitlai
In a pan, add a tsp of sesame oil. Once hot, add mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Saute for 30 seconds.
Add tamarind water, turmeric powder, little salt. Add the bittergourd and cooked chana. Let it boil along with tamarind water till the raw smell of tamarind leaves.
Add cooked toor dal and masala paste. Add water if needed.
Let it all cook together until pitlai reaches desired consistency. It should be thick. It takes around 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, taste and add adjust salt. Add a pinch of jaggery to balance the taste.
Once everything comes together and reaches the desired consistency, garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
The consistency should be slightly thick.
I usually soak toor dal for 30 mins in warm water and then pressure cook. This helps in cooking faster and also helps in getting a mushy dal. I have also read it helps in better digestion of dal.