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


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 curry Pavakkai gojju

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


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.



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