Paavakka (Bitter gourd) Theeyal {Recipe}

Theeyal, is a common dish in Kerala, and can be made with almost all vegetables and even prawns or dried fish.10313549_515963005175762_8885708911116025345_n

The technique involved is roasting coconut, shallots, coriander and red chilies and grinding the mix to a fine paste. The chosen vegetable is sautéed in coconut oil and cooked in the ground gravy.

Pavakka (bitter gourd) theeyal is a favorite curry in most families, mainly due to the superb balance of all the flavors. The deep colour and taste of this dish is absolutely fabulous.


Bitter gourd / Pavakka – 2 medium, cut into crescents
Shallots (kochulli) – a handful halved
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Dried Red Chilly 4 nos
Whole Coriander 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek – 1/4 tsp
Green chilies – 4 Sliced
Curry leaves
Tamarind – lemon-sized
Salt – To taste
Coconut oil

For tadka/tempering:
Coconut oil – 1.5 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Shallots- few sliced
Few curry leaves
Dry red chilies

Method :
Add little oil, Fry the grated coconut and some sliced shallots in a pan till they turn golden brown.Stir continuously, at low heat.Then add the dried red chillis, coriander seeds and fenugreek, stir for few more minutes. Take care not to burn the mix. Set aside to cool. Grind to a very fine paste adding little water and keep aside

Soak tamarind in lukewarm water and extract the juice, and keep aside.
In another pan heat little oil, shallots, green chilies, few curry leaves and sauté for few minutes, add the turmeric powder, sauté for few seconds, add in the pavakka, sauté well until the pavakka pieces are half cooked.

Add the ground mix, and little water, just enough to cover the mixture, mix well , cover and cook. After 5 minutes add tamarind extract and salt. Cook in low flame till the gravy thickens.

Top with a tadka…this is a very delicious dish…do try it.

The same dish can be prepared with brinjal, drumsticks and snake gourd also

– Courtesy Sumod Tom

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