Pavarkai Pitlai (Bitter gourd gravy)

I don't know the exact meaning of pitlai, but i can tell you if you have not tasted this before you definitely should try this. This is a variety of sambhar and it even goes good with Roti.

This sambhar is actually made in the combination of bitter gourd and peanuts (you can also use channa instead of peanuts) But peanut is used when you make a instant decision because there is no soaking / waiting time while made using peanuts. Even with channa its tastes yumm !! its just channa should be soaked at least for 8 hrs.

What other better way is there to include bitter gourd in the diet.

Preparation time: 5 mins (to grind fresh Sambhar paste) + 15 mins (to boiling peanuts)

cooking time: 20 mins

Serves : 2


For Making Sambhar Paste:

  • Oil - 1tbsp
  • mustard seeds - 1/2tsp
  • cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • channa dal - 1 tbsp
  • coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Whole black pepper - 5-6 corns
  • Red chilli - 3
  • hing - a pinch
  • Shredded coconut - 3 tbsp
  • water - 3-4 tbsp (to grind)

Other Ingredients:

  • bitter gourd -1(chopped in circular shape and deseed) 
  • peanut - 1cup (boiled)
  • diluted tamarind juice - 2 cups (squeezed from a small lemon sized tamarind)
  • Toor dal -  1/4 cup
  • salt - to taste
  • grated jaggery- 1 tsp (or to taste)
  • curry leaves - to garnish



  • Cut the bitter gourd
  • Boil the peanuts & keep it aside
  • Boil/Pressure cook - toor dal
  • keep the tamarind juice ready
  • grate the jaggery

To make the paste:

Heat oil in tadka and add all the ingredients mentioned in 'roast and grind'  except for shredded coconut to that and saute for 2 mins. Then add the shredded coconut and saute until it turns golden color. Let it cool down and then transfer it to a blender and make a fine paste

To Make Sambhar/ Curry:

In a sauce pan, add tamarind juice and to that add salt and boil bitter gourd in that. Once done to that add the freshly prepared paste and boiled peanuts and mix well. Let it cook in medium flame for 15 mins at least until you get a nice thick gravy /sambhar.

Finally add toor dal, shredded jaggery and give it a stir and again let it cook for couple more minutes.

Hot Pitlai is ready !


You can cook / boil bitter gourd and peanuts together, but then make sure bitter should not be mashed up. because both get cooked at different time.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking !!