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

Pavakkai Paruppu Kootu (Bitter Gourd with Lentils)

 Published 2017-Mar-15   Updated 2017-Mar-19

- Submitted by Beryl

(Bitter Gourd Dal, Bitter Melon Dal, Karela Daal)

Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd or bitter squash is a nutritious vegetable good for diabetic patients. There are many varieties differing in shape, size and color. This is a native vegetable of India and is used in a wide variety of preparations. 

The vegetable is known for its strong bitter taste. In most preparations, it is combined with other ingredients like yogurt, tamarind, coconut etc. to mask its bitterness. In today's recipe, bitter melon is cooked along with lentils.

My kids do not eat this because of its bitter taste, so I tried this recipe and my kids enjoyed it. The added jaggery and dhal reduced the bitterness of bitter melon making it as our favorite bitter melon recipe.

Recipe for Pavakkai Paruppu Kootu

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4


  • Bitter melon or Bitter gourd -  4 to 5 numbers
  • Toor Dhal (or Moong Dal) - 1 cup
  • Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp
  • Tamarind Juice - 3/4 cup
  • Jaggery powder - 2 to 3 tsp
  • Coconut - 1 cup (grated)
  • Onion- 1 (chopped) 
  • Tomatoes - 2 (chopped)
  • Coriander leaves - one handful
  • Salt - as necessary

For Tempering

  • Sunflower Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Channa dal - 1 tsp
  • Urid dal - 1 tsp
  • Green chilies - 3 numbers
  • Dry red chilies - 4 numbers
  • Curry Leaves - 10 leaves
  • Asafoetida (or Hing) - 1 tsp


  1. First clean and remove the inner parts (including seeds) of bitter melon. Cut the bitter melon into round shaped pieces and keep it aside.  
  2. Now in a pan, put some sunflower oil and put those bitter melon pieces and sprinkle some salt over it and fry them till its golden colour. 
  3. Remove bitter melon from oil and keep it aside.
  4. In a pressure cooker, put dal (moong dhal or toor dhal), pinch of salt, turmeric powder and cook until the dhal is cooked. Switch it off after 5-6 whistles. 
  5. Heat another pan and add sunflower oil. When the oil gets heated, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, channa dhal, urid dhal,  dry red chillies, green chillies and curry leaves. Add some asafoetida powder also. 
  6. Now add turmeric powder, chopped onion, salt and saute it well. The onions have to become transparent.
  7. Add red chilli powder and chopped tomatoes. Mix well.
  8. Now add tamarind juice and allow to cook for about 3 minutes.
  9. Add some jaggery powder into it and then add the fried bitter melon.
  10. Add the already cooked dal and grated coconut. Mix everything well and allow it to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves and switch off the stove.

Serving Pavakkai Paruppu Kootu

  • This makes a great side dish with white rice or chapatti. 


  • If you soak the dal before cooking, you may need to reduce the cooking time (number of whistles in the pressure cooker) accordingly. 

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 2017-03-19.