Simple Indian Recipes...
Delicious and healthy dishes that can be made even by first timers.

Pavakka Thoran

 Published 2017-Mar-26   Updated 2017-Apr-09

- Submitted by Beryl

(Bitter-Melon Stir Fry, Karela ki Sabzi, Pavakkai Poriyal)

Bitter melon is a vegetable found in almost all vegetable shops and markets. It is good for those who are having diabetics. Whenever I prepare this dish, my kids wont prefer to eat this, but we adults enjoy eating this knowing its health benefits.

I personally prefer this particular recipe as this retains the bitterness of bitter melon. Bitter melon or Bitter gourd is a vegetable with a characteristic bitter taste and should be accepted as such. If you are a fan of bitter melon or if you like its bitterness you can go ahead and prepare this particular recipe. If you are not able to handle the bitterness, you can still enjoy the health benefits of this vegetable by trying other Bittermelon recipes found in this website.

Recipe for Pavakka Thoran

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4


  • Bitter melon- 3 medium size
  • Onion- 1 big
  • Green or red chilies - 3 nos.
  • Garlic cloves - 4-5
  • Ginger piece - one small piece
  • Salt - as necessary
  • Jaggery - 2 tsp
  • Water - 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
  • Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Coconut (grated) - 3/4 to 1 cup

For Tempering

  • Sunflower or other cooking oil - 2 tsp
  • Mustard - 1 tsp
  • Urid Dhal - 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 9 to 10 nos.
  • Dry chilies - 2 numbers (Optional)
  • Shallots - 5 nos


  1. First wash and cut bittermelons into small pieces. Finely chop onion, shallots, ginger, garlic and chillies into small pieces.
  2. Switch on the stove. In a kadai or pan, pour about 2 tsp of sunflower oil or any other cooking oil.
  3.  Put mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Add curry leaves, chopped shallots, cumin seeds, dry chiilies  and urid dhal.
  4.  Now you need to reduce the flame and saute for 2 minutes until the shallots become light brown. Do not put on high flame as it will turn urid dhal into black colour.
  5.  Add chopped onion and saute well till it becomes transparent. To speed up this step, add salt to onion while sauting. 
  6. Now add ginger pieces, garlic pieces, green or red chillies. 
  7.  Add chopped bittermelon pieces and mix well. Then add necessary salt, turmeric powder and red chilly powder.
  8. Add jaggery powder and tamarind paste. Mix everything using a spoon and sprinkle some water here and there. Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes. Do not pour water, instead just sprinkle.
  9.  Now the bittermelon pieces will be cooked. Take care not to overcook the vegetables, as all nutrients will be lost if overcooked. Sprinkle grated coconut and mix well. Switch off the stove.


  • Adding tamarind and jaggery reduces the bitterness of the bittermelon. If you don't mind its bitter taste, you don't have to add them.

Serving Pavakka Thoran

  • This side dish pairs up well with white rice and some curry.

More Bitter Melon Recipes

Bitter Gourd Fry Bitter Gourd Fry Bitter Gourd Theeyal Bitter Gourd Theeyal Stuffed Bitter Gourd Stuffed Bitter Gourd Bitter Gourd Pitlai Bitter Gourd Pitlai
See more...

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 Published by on and last updated on 2017-04-09.