Parika Pitla (Bittergourd & Lentil Curry)

As a child, I disliked bittergourd intensely. As, I suspect, most children do. No matter how much parents explain the health benefits of the vegetable, it never moves kids. In my case, I overcame my childhood aversion for this vegetable. If fact, I really feel deprived if a week passes without bittergourd on my dining table. There are several recipes using this gourd, but my personal favourite is pitla. It has a subtle taste and the bitterness is not apparent at all.

100 gms pigeon peas (tur dal, thuvaram parupu)
1 small ball of tamarind
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida
250 gms bittergourd, chopped fine
Salt to taste
For The Masala
1/4 coconut, grated
1 tbsp split black gram (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1 tbsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1 tsp black pepper corns (kali mirch, kurumilagu)
4-5 dried red chillies
For The Seasoning
1/4 coconut, grated
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1 sprig curry leaves
Wash and pressure cook the pigeon peas with a pinch of turmeric powder, about 5 whistles
Let steam release naturally, open lid and mash the peas
Set aside
Extract tamarind juice
Add salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida
Bring to a rolling boil
Add the chopped bittergourd pieces to this tamarind juice
Meanwhile, roast all the items under ‘masala’ except coconut
Grind the roasted items and coconut to a fine paste (no water needed)
Add to the tamarind juice
Add the cooked pigeon peas
Boil till all ingredients are well blended
Remove from flame and set aside
Heat a small wok
Add mustard seeds
When they start to splutter, add curry leaves and grated coconut
Continue to roast till the coconut is golden brown
Add to the cooked curry
Serve hot with red or brown rice


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Shubha says:

    All time favourite! Disproves the general belief outside south that southies have only one gravy dish, sambar 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mistimaan says:

    Looks tasty 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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