Pavakkai Kuzhambu | Bitter Gourd Kulambu Recipe


 A delicious south Indian kuzhambu made using bitter gourd/pavakkai. It is also known as Karela in Hindi and Bitter gourd or Bitter melon in English. As going by the name though it does taste bitter, when cooked the right way you can easily broke the bitterness and gain its benefits.  Bitter gourd has many health benefits and is considered to be good for diabetic patients. Many do not like bitter gourd because of its bitter taste but if cooked properly, it will be very delicious. It should be thinly sliced as we are going to cook separately first and then mix with other spices. If the seeds are tender, you can use it otherwise discard the seeds. It is best pair with hot rice and papads. You can store in the refrigerator for long time and outside it stays good for three days.

Watch Bitter Gourd Kulambu in Tamil

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Pavakkai Kuzhambu | Bitter Gourd Kulambu Recipe

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 35 mins
Servings: 5
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


To prepare masala paste

To prepare Bitter gourd curry

To Temper


  1. Take thin roundels bitter gourd without seeds in pan and add 4 cups of water.

  2. Add turmeric powder mix well and allow to cook in medium flame until fully cooked.

  3. To prepare masala, to dry roast, Heat the pan add coriander seeds chana dal sauté them until turn little golden brown colour.

  4. Add black pepper, and red chillies sauté for a minute

  5. Add grated coconut toss them until it gets dried and aromatic.

  6. Allow to cool down and transfer in to mixie jar.

  7. Firstly, grind them in to coarse powder. Then add little water and make in to fine paste.

  8. Take tamarind extract from big lemon sized tamarind pulp. Add this in to bitter gourd cooking pan.

  9. Add sambar powder and rock salt cook until raw smell goes off.

  10. To this add handful of soaked and cooked white chana and allow to boil for 2 minutes.

  11. Add sautéed and ground masala paste with ¼ cup water.

  12. Add cooked and mashed toor dal.

  13. Add 3 cups of water and allow to boil for another 5 minutes.

  14. Add little jaggery powder.

  15. To seasoning add items listed under “To Temper” section. allow to splutters and put in to bitter gourd curry.

  16. Delicious and healthy bitter gourd curry is now ready for serving.


  • Wash and cut bitter gourd into thin roundels. It should be thinly sliced. If the seeds are tender, you can use it otherwise discard the seeds.
  • I recommend using sesame oil, gives a nice flavor to the curry
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Gomathi Ramesh

Food Blogger

Hi there! I am Gomathi Ramesh, a full-time food blogger, mother of 2 beautiful daughters and a lovely wife. I come from a family of fantastic cooks and I’m here to share generations of recipes that are homey, fresh, healthy, family-friendly, authentic, and adventurous. Most importantly, our recipes taste great and you can trust that they actually work.

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