Among all the Bitter Gourd recipes, this Bitter Gourd Pitlai is a favorite dish for the whole family. I learnt this dish from my mother-in-law. Bitter Gourd has lot many health benefits. If you can make a tasty recipe from this vegetable, everyone will love it. It goes well with steamed rice.
Tur Dal (Pigeon Pea Lentil) – ½ cup
Bitter Gourd (Karela/Pavakai) – 2
Red Chilli Powder – ½ tsp
Sambar Powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Jaggery (Gud) – 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind – medium goose berry size (Soaked in ½ cup of water)
Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard Seed – ¾ tsp
Urad Dal – 1 tsp
Red Chilli – 2 (Broken)
Curry Leaves – from 2 twigs
Grated Coconut – 3 tbsp
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Cook the Tur Dal in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and Haldi Powder for 4 to 5 whistle till the Dal becomes soft.
Cut the Bitter Gourd into medium thick rounds slices. Add 1 tsp of Salt to it, mix well and keep aside for 15 minutes. And then rinse them well. This will reduce the bitterness of the Bitter Gourd.
Boil 3 cups of water in a vessel. Add the Bitter Gourd, Salt and Haldi Powder. Simmer it for 5 to 6 minutes till the Gourd becomes soft.
Add Jaggery, Chilli Powder and Sambar Powder. Simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes. Mash the cooked Dal and add to it.
Add Tamarind extract. Mix well. Cover the vessel with a lid and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes in low to medium flame.
Heat the Oil in a frying pan. Add Mustard Seed, Urad Dal, Curry Leaves and Red Chilli – one by one.
Add the grated Coconut and Asafoetida.
Fry them for 30 seconds in medium flame.
Add this seasoning to boiling Bitter Gourd gravy and cover the vessel immediately. Switch off the flame.
Transfer to a serving bowl after 3 or 4 minutes.
Adjust the quantity of Jaggery depending on the bitterness of the Bitter Gourd.
The Pitlai consistency should be little thicker than the usual Sambar.