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Bitter Gourd Pitlai

Course: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Vaishali Honawar


  • 4-5 bitter gourds , deseeded, then chopped into a medium-small dice
  • 1 lemon-size ball of tamarind , soaked in about a cup of water. After the tamarind softens, crush it in your fingers to extract all the juices from it. Discard the solids.
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2/3 cup of tuvar dal (yellow lentils) and 1/3 cup of bengal gram (chana dal) cooked until tender
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • For the masala:
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 1 tsp black gram (udad dal)
  • 2-3 red chilies , broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk


  • Roast the first four ingredients for the masala until reddish. Grind into a smooth paste with the coconut milk.
  • Boil the pieces of bitter gourd with half the tamarind water, adding more water if necessary, until the vegetables are tender. Drain and reserve.
  • Heat the remaining tamarind water in a saucepan.
  • Add the ground masala and let it simmer for a couple of minutes
  • Add the cooked mixture of bengal gram and tuvar dal and the drained bitter gourd.
  • Add salt to taste and simmer about 10 minutes
  • Heat oil in a separate saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds sputter, add to the cooked Pitlai.
  • Serve hot with rice.