Thursday, April 19, 2018

Posted by Mala at 12:00:00 AM No comments


Pagarkai/bitter gourd pitlai is a very common South Indian kuzhambu, and is often made in all households for good and religious functions.
Bitter gourds thrive in hot and humid climates and hence is found in Asian countries, and I think, westerners may not be used to its bitter taste.
Bitter gourds are very low in calories but very rich and dense with  nutrients. They are an excellent source of many Vitamins,   Iron, twice the  Calcium of Spinach and twice the Potassium of banana.
Bitter gourds treat blood disorders, kill cancer cells, lower sugar levels, boost energy levels, alleviate eye problems, clean up toxic blood and bitter gourd juice can treat gouts, treat piles, psoriasis, respiratory disorders....and on and on....
Some people call this Parikkai and my m-i-l was one of them!

Bitter gourds - 4-5, chopped in roundels
Tur dhal - 3/4 cup, pressure cooked
Peanuts - 1/4 cup, soaked over night and pressure cooked
Tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Jaggery - 2 tsps
Salt to taste

To roast in 1/2 tsp oil and grind
Solid hing - 1 piece
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsps
Channa dhal - 1 1/2 tbsps
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Pepper - 3/4 tsp
Red chillies - 5
Grated coconut - 3 tbsps

To season
Gingely or cooking oil - 2 tsps
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a handful

Recipe Cuisine: South Indian; Category: Lunch/dinner
Prep time: 10 mts; Cooking time: 25 mts

Serves 3-4

Except coconut, all the above mentioned ingredients are roasted to golden color

In that same oil, coconut is roasted nicely

Both the above things let to cool down, then ground into a fine paste

Tur dhal pressure cooked with some turmeric powder

Bitter gourd rounds and peanuts are also pressure cooked. It takes a very long time for the bitter gourds to cook in tamarind water. It is easy and faster this way. Also, I do not take out the bitter juice of the bitter gourds.

Take a pan, fill with 3 cups water, add 1 tbsp tamarind paste, jaggery and turmeric powder, then the pressure cooked bitter gourds and peanuts, and allow to boil in slow fire.

Add salt to taste , so that the bitter gourds and peanuts will take in salt.

Tamarind water reduced to half

Now add the ground paste

and the cooked tur dhal, taking care to keep the flames on the lowest. Otherwise, it might get stuck at the bottom and a burnt taste will come.

Top with some curry leaves, season the above mentioned ingredients and pour that oil on top of the curry leaves. 

Serve this tasty pitlai with any vegetable and rice of your choice. 

This post first appeared in
* You can replace peanuts with channa too.
* You can make this pitlai powder, store in refrigerator and it will be so handy.


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