Bitter Gourd Pitlai

 Pitlai is a gravy dish similar to sambhar but with more freshly ground spices, which makes it more delicious and tasty!!It takes the same amount of time to prepare the dish as any sambhar as is the case in most South Indian dishes.   Whilst the gravy is being cooked you can prepare the freshly ground spices or even make a curry to go with it in the meantime!!

Ingredients to serve 8 people

1 Cup of Bitter Gourd (sliced lengthwise and chopped into half moon shaped pieces)
¼ Cup Dried Butter Beans or Chickpeas** (Optional)
½ Cup Water (to cook the beans)
1½ Cups Cooked toor dal
Small lime size Tamarind
1 Cup Hot water to soak the tamarind
3 Cups Luke warm water
1 Tsp. Sambhar powder
2 ½ Tsp. Salt

For the Masala

1 Tbs. Coriander Seeds
1 Tsp. Channa dal or Yellow Split Peas
1 Tsp. Urad dal
3 Red Chillies
1 Tbs. Freshly Grated or desiccated coconut
¼ Cup Water
¼ Tsp. Turmeric Powder

For Seasoning

2 Tbs. Oil
1 Tsp. Mustard Seeds
1 Tsp. Fenugreek Seeds
1-2 Small Red Chilli
Sprig Curry Leaves

Bitter Gourd Pitlai Recipe

Bitter Gourd Pitlai

Preparation of Pitlai

Add half a cup of water to the handful of butter beans. 
Cook the toor dal and the beans separately in a pressure cooker
Mash the cooked toor dal and keep aside
Soak the tamarind in the cup of hot water separately for 10 minutes
Heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan and add the coriander seeds, channa dal, urad dal, red chillies, and asafoetida
Fry it till the ‘dals’ turn golden brown
Add the grated coconut and fry for a minute
Grind this into a soft solid or semi solid mixture by adding the quarter cup of water and keep aside

In a pan, add the chopped bitter gourd pieces
Extract the tamarind juice. in a large dish
Add the salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida and sambhar powder
Cook the gravy for 7-8 minutes
Add the cooked beans or chickpeas, mashed toor dal and mix it thoroughly
Let it cook on slow fire for about 5 minutes.
Add the ground mixture and cook for a minute or two.


Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds
When the mustard seeds crackle, add the fenugreek seeds and red chilli
When the fenugreek seeds turn golden brown pour it into the gravy
Garnish it with the curry leaves.

Note: Eggplant, Brocolli, White Pumpkin are some of the vegetables that can be prepared in a similar manner

If you use chickpeas, it has to be soaked for a couple of hours before cooking it in the pressure cooker.