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1 March, 2015

Bittergourd in spicy, tangy gravy (Pavakkai gojju)- Meatless Monday

Comments : 19 Posted in : Main course, Meatless Mondays, side dish on by : apsara Tags: , , , ,


Bitter gourd is one of those vegetables that I have a love-hate relationship with. I always disliked it in childhood, but as I learn to cook it in interesting ways, I’ve begun to love it. I have started cooking it more for its immense health benefit (lowering blood sugar) and the folates and phyto-nutrients it contains.

“Gojju” is a typical gravy dish from the state of Karnataka and I first got to taste this in my mother-in-law’s place. This is an adapted “gojju” recipe; I cannot say it is the authentic version, but I love the combination of flavors in it- spicy, tangy and a hint of sweetness! Taking this to Meatless Mondays, the global movement to skip meat, one day of the week.




For those of you wondering what a bitter gourd is, this is what the green vegetable looks like, when cut lengthwise and de-seeded:


Check my other bitter gourd recipes:

Bitter gourd chips

Pavakkai Pitlai


bitter gourd- 2 medium

tamarind- a piece about the size of a ping-pong ball

grated jaggery- 2 tsp.

turmeric powder- a pinch

for masala:

chana dal/split yellow lentil- 1 tbsp.

coriander seeds- 1 tbsp.

red chilly- 1 big

sesame seeds- 2 tsp.

cumin seeds- 2 tsp.

shredded coconut- 2 tbsp.

for tempering:

oil- 1 tbsp.

mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp.

asafoetida- a pinch

curry leaves


1. Dry roast ingredients for the masala (except for cumin, coconut), cool, and grind in a small spice grinder along with cumin and coconut.

2. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract its juice by crushing with fingers.

2. Wash, de-seed bitter gourds and chop into small pieces.

3. In a pan, heat oil. Add asafoetida and mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add curry leaves and bitter gourd.




4. Add salt, turmeric powder and some water. Close with a lid and cook till the gourd is tender.


5. Add tamarind extract, ground masala, grated jaggery and let it come to a boil. Simmer for 10 more minutes till gravy thickens.


6. Serve warm with rice.




19 thoughts on : Bittergourd in spicy, tangy gravy (Pavakkai gojju)- Meatless Monday

  • March 1, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Great recipe. One of my favorite veggie is bitter gourd. Love it in pitlai 🙂

    • March 2, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      thanku, Srividhya. 🙂

  • March 2, 2015 at 12:57 am

    I usually add coconut jeera and black sesame seeds for gojju.. Your version have some additional flavour will try soon:-)

    • March 2, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      My version is similar; I have just avoided using sambar powder and made it from scratch with the other usual spices. 🙂

    • March 2, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      me too! My husband and I have started to love bitter gourd and crave for this dish. 🙂

  • March 2, 2015 at 3:15 am

    Great going, Apsara! Keep it up.

    • March 2, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      thanks, Chitra.

  • March 2, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I have never tried gojju, on my list Apsara!!! 🙂

    • March 2, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      Let me know when you do try it, Malar. 🙂

  • March 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    love gojju in any form! bitter gourd has been one of my fav veggies :)) loving the idea of making everything from scratch. addition of sesame seeds in new – must try soon 🙂

    • apsara
      March 10, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      I thought the Karnataka- style gojju used sesame seeds. You would know, right? Maybe that is not true!

  • March 11, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Hey, came across your blog for the first time! We make this sabzi with addition of jaggery, tamarind and coconut too, but addition of sesame seeds is new! Great

    • apsara
      March 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Gauri. The sesame seeds do add a new dimension to this lovely dish.

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